Advance Planning

Three months or more before Double-check visa regulations. Book tickets for high-profile sporting and entertainment events.

One month before Reserve a table at top restaurants and tickets for Burj Khalifa. Check concert venue websites for what’s on during your stay.

One week before Check average daytime temperatures and pack accordingly.

Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/dubai) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Dubai Tourism (www.visitdubai.com) Dubai's official tourism site.

Time Out Dubai (www.timeoutdubai.com) Online version of the weekly entertainment and lifestyle magazine.

FooDiva (www.foodiva.net) Great restaurant reviews by a local foodie.

Dubai Explorer (www.askexplorer.com) Geared towards residents with lots of practical info.

RTA (www.rta.ae) Public transport information and trip planning.

Top Tips

  • Take the metro when you can: it is efficient, inexpensive and very easy to navigate, with just two lines.
  • Plan your time – Dubai is spread out, so don't pack too much into a single day and instead focus on exploring one neighbourhood at a time (eg Bur Dubai or Downtown Dubai) rather than travelling back and forth.
  • Don't underestimate the heat – try to avoid being outdoors for long periods during the middle of the day.
  • If you don't like crowds, avoid malls, beaches, waterparks, theme parks and other attractions on weekends (Thursday evening to Saturday).
  • Unless you need the amenities found in fancy hotels, you'll get better value for your dirhams by staying in a hotel apartment.
  • Familiarise yourself with local laws and etiquette before you travel.

What to Take

  • A mobile phone that's compatible with a local SIM card
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Loose-fitting clothing with sleeves (short sleeves are fine)
  • Dressy outfits to get past the velvet rope
  • A light jacket to help against excessive air-con
  • Sneakers or boots for desert trips

What to Wear

Dubai is by and large a tolerant place, and locals are far too polite to point out most wardrobe faux pas. Travellers, though, should strive to respect local tradition and dress modestly in public. Women don't have to cover their hair, but shoulders and knees should not be exposed and that goes for both men and women. It's recommended for women to wear loose clothing and avoid translucent fabrics and plunging necklines. Exceptions to this rule are at bars and nightclubs, although it's a good idea to wear a shawl or light coat in the taxi on your way there and not to use public transport. Wearing national dress as a non-Muslim is considered an insult.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions
  • Alert your credit-/debit-card company about your trip to Dubai
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance
  • Study up on the etiquette of travelling in a Muslim country