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Dubai travel guide: get ready in style


Dubai is like no other place on earth. It’s a city full of bright lights, incredible sights and exotic delights. To make sure you get the most out of your time in this unique destination, we’ve prepared this get-ready guide, to give you everything you need to know to have an unforgettable Dubai adventure.

What do I need to prepare right now?

Very little!

Visitors from the UK don’t need an advance visa to enter the United Arab Emirates. When you arrive at Dubai International Airport, a free 30-day visa will be available from the immigration desk.* You can keep up to date with any changes in policy here.

Many hotels in Dubai offer free transfers from the airport for guests. If yours doesn’t, you’ll have no trouble catching a cab from the official Dubai Taxi Corporation stand outside arrivals. There’s no need to book in advance, just join the queue and have the name of your hotel ready. Taxis run at different rates based on the time of day, but in general you can expect your fare to be between the equivalent of £7 and £15.

What do I need to do when I arrive?

Dubai is well-connected by public transport. The air-conditioned metro service and buses on both land and water can all be used with a pre-paid Nol card.

You can buy a card from any public transport stop, major bank, or large supermarket around the city. The cheapest card costs only two dirham (roughly equivalent to 35p). You’ll need to top up the fare for each ride before you travel with this card. It may be more convenient to invest in a 20 dirham Silver Card, which can be topped up in advance for quicker travel.

Be careful when handling local currency, as the largest denomination notes look quite similar to smaller ones. However, you shouldn’t need to carry a great deal of cash out with you; a selection of 20, 50, and 100 dirham notes should see you through each day.

What else do I need to know?

It’s important to be aware of local customs and laws when visiting Dubai, which are strictly enforced throughout the city.

If you are travelling with your partner, be sure to avoid kissing or holding hands in public, as these are criminal offences. It is also against the law for unmarried men and women to share a hotel room (except for blood relatives), so keep this in mind when making your booking.

A Dubai beach

Always wear conservative clothing, and avoid any revealing outfits outside of private resorts or swimming areas.

Drinking alcohol is only permitted in designated hotel bars or clubs, and it is an offence to be intoxicated in public. So if you’re in the party mood, make sure you take a taxi back to your hotel from the bar or club you’ve been in, rather than walking.

When out seeing the sights, always ask permission before taking a picture of anybody else. When you talk to locals, never use your left hand to make a gesture, open a door, or offer something; the left hand is traditionally used for personal hygiene in Muslim societies, and therefore should not be used to touch other people, communal objects, or food.

Helpful links

There are lots of useful online travel tools and apps to make your time Dubai even more enjoyable. Some that will come in handy during your visit are:

  • AccuWeather – for up-to-date local weather forecasts, wherever you find yourself.
  • Currency Calculator – for staying on top of exchange rates.
  • Dubai Road & Transport Authority – the official city public transport app.
  • Airbnb – stay like a local, with these private apartments in handy locations.
  • TripAdvisor – reviews of local restaurants and business, written by visitors like you.
  • Google Maps – never get lost again!
  • Instagram and Twitter – check #Dubai on these these social networks for regular updates and snapshots.
  • Time Out Dubai – all the best shows, concerts, and restaurants in the city.

One very useful Twitter account to follow during your holiday is @DubaiTourism, for all the hottest things to do.

Don’t forget...

To make sure everything is really taken care of before your holiday, book your Heathrow airport parking with us.

With our Meet & Greet parking service all you have to do is drop your car off with us and we’ll do the hard work of parking for you. You can get on with enjoying your trip while we’ll look after your car, and have your keys ready for you when you get back from your far eastern adventure.

Now you’re really Good To Go.

(Official government advice for British citizens visiting the United Arab Emirates is available here.)

*Information valid as of April 2017.

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