With its bold and unique architecture, numerous mega malls, spectacular skylines, and overall flair, Dubai has ranked among the top 10 most visited cities in the world in 2014, according to Forbes magazine. If you’re planning on discerning the truth from the clichés about this famed city by going on an excursion there yourself, here are some helpful points and tips to remember for a safe and enjoyable travel in Dubai.
Before you begin your travel in Dubai, check your visa. Since citizens from some countries are allowed to enter the UAE by purchasing a tourist visa upon arrival while others must have a visa on hand upon arrival, check with your country’s embassy to make sure you have all the necessary documents before leaving home.
Upon arrival in Dubai, keep in mind that it is a Muslim emirate. How does this translate to your clothing choices? Stay on the conservative side when it comes to your clothes. Steer clear from trouble by wearing bikinis, swimsuits, revealing tops, and shorts only in beach resorts. Women are also advised to avoid wearing short skirts, or anything else that falls above the knee.
Overt public displays of affection are also considered offensive in the UAE. Adultery, homosexuality, and non-marital “physical activity” could lead to imprisonment and deportation, so it’s best to avoid similar displays of these as well.
For those with trigger-happy fingers when it comes to taking pictures, keep those fingers in check. Never take photos of people, especially Muslim women, without asking for their permission first. And do not take pictures of telecommunications equipment, government buildings, docks, airports, military and industrial installations and the like.
When the need for local currency arises during your travel in Dubai, avoid the risk of getting short-changed and even getting into a dangerous situation by using proper money exchangers. Have your money exchanged in a bank, ATM, hotel, or mall. Avoid the streets.
And when it comes to alcohol and drugs, just like anywhere else, the trafficking and consumption of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited, as is drinking and driving. If there is a need to take prescription drugs with you, double check with your embassy to see if they are permitted. For good measure, carry a note from your doctor. And if the need for alcohol becomes overpowering, keep in mind that it can only be purchased at a few duty-free stores and in restaurants and bars. Public drunkenness is prohibited, so drink moderately and privately.
Now, if your travel in Dubai involves getting behind the wheel yourself, you’ll need an international driver’s license. You’ll eventually need a permanent Dubai driver’s license should you decide to prolong your stay by taking up residence there. In the event of a car accident, just stay put and wait for the police to get to you.
Lastly, buy health insurance. Public hospitals will deal with emergencies free of charge, but just to make sure all eventualities will be covered, take out medical insurance. Treatment from private hospitals and clinics can be rather costly, and these expenses, coupled with the cost of going home, can add up quickly.
Make the most out of your travel in Dubai by staying safe, respecting local laws and customs, and taking extra precaution when making transactions and dealing with people. Doing so could pave the way for your next visit, or maybe even for one that would last indefinitely.