Planning Your First Trip to Dubai

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Over the last couple of decades, Dubai has transformed itself from a sleepy fishing village to an ultra-glamorous metropolis. It strikes the perfect balance between rich ancient history and cosmopolitan lifestyle. Whether it is opulent skyscrapers or pristine beaches, exciting theme parks, or vast deserts, Dubai boasts of endless attractions, each more unique than the other. If you are planning your maiden trip to this splendid city, listed below are some tips that will surely come in handy.

Visa processing

There are many countries such as UK, USA, GCC countries, and the likes, who get visa on arrival in Dubai. If your country falls into one of those categories, then you need not apply for a visa. However, if you are a citizen of a country that requires a visa to Dubai, then you can book a Dubai visa well in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles. 

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Best time to visit

Dubai is hot almost throughout the year. However, the winter months between November and March are pleasant. But they are also the peak tourist season so most of the places are crowded. If you want to travel during these months, it is better to make your hotel bookings and flight bookings well in advance to get the best deals. The summer months from June to August are the hottest and best to avoid travel during these months.

Accommodation

Dubai has no dearth of luxurious hotels. But they can burn a hole in your pocket too. There are many budget hotels in the older areas of Dubai such as Deira and Bur Dubai. Some options that you can consider are the Crystal Plaza Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Fortune Karama Hotel, Ramada Chelsea, Rove City Center, Savoy Park Hotel Apartments, Novotel, and Ibis. Air BnBs have gained immense popularity in recent years and comfortable and clean rooms are available at great prices. Ensure that you book your hotels in advance for the best prices.

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Social etiquette

Like any other city, Dubai also has some rules and regulations that you must follow. It is better to dress modestly in Dubai, especially in public places. Women should cover their heads with a scarf while entering the mosque. Indulging in PDA is a strict no-no. Traffic rules are extremely strict so ensure you follow them to avoid harsh punishments. Make sure that you remove your footwear while entering mosques or someone’s house. 

Transportation

Dubai has a world-class public transport system. The Dubai Metro is well- connected to most of the popular attractions. It is also the cheapest mode of transport in Dubai. If you are planning to travel by Metro, you should book your accommodations close to a Metro station. Ridesharing apps such as Uber and Careem are another affordable option to travel. Taxis are economical in Dubai compared to many other countries. Buses are another great option to commute from one place to another. You can buy an NOL Silver card that costs AED 25 and is pre-loaded with some balance. It is more reasonable than a single NOL Red ticket and can be used for Metro, Hop-on Hop-off buses, water taxis, and trams.

Food and Alcohol

Dubai boasts of many Michelin start and world-class restaurants. They serve amazing global cuisine and are a class apart. But if you are looking for budget options many eateries in old Dubai serve mouthwatering food at great prices. Arabian, Indian, and Lebanese cuisine are very popular here. If you don’t want to splurge on food, it is better to avoid international food chains and eat at local restaurants. You cannot drink in public in Dubai. However, you can have alcohol at licensed nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. 

Sightseeing

There are incredible attractions in Dubai but some of the unmissable ones are Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Mall, Desert Safari Dubai, Dhow Cruise, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Ski Dubai, Dubai Creek, and Souks, and Al Bastakiya Quarters. You can book some of these attractions online in advance to get the best deals. They become quite expensive at the last minute. Dubai is home to many beaches and theme parks too and you can plan your itinerary based on your interests. You can even plan a day trip to Abu Dhabi if time permits. 

Conclusion

Dubai is one of the ideal destinations for a family holiday. It is an expensive city, but the key is to make a budget and stick to it. Dubai is well-known for shopping too and you can surely set aside some amount to indulge in some retail therapy. If you plan your holiday well in advance, you can ensure that it goes smoothly, and you return with fantastic memories.