Dubai Travel Guide – 9 Things You Must Have Before You Travel To Dubai
Deserts and white sand beaches, minarets, skyscrapers, malls, high-end luxury hotels, night clubs and museums dot the glittering map of Dubai. One of the most progressive among the emirates, Dubai promises a good time for every kind of visitor looking for a slice of culture, history, modernity, night life, adventures (care for desert biking, anyone?) and architectural brilliance. Dubai also presents a dilemma for travelers in certain matters- how much cash should you carry in Dubai if you are a shopper? How should you dress? Driving license, medical kit, managing phone calls from Dubai? What type of documents should you have on you?
Relax. I am going to answer all that for you.
1. Carry these documents on you
One great comfort while travelling to Dubai is, there’s not much documentation to carry except your passport that is valid for minimum six months and UAE visa. You can get your Visa done through a travel agent or it can be done online too through portals like makemytrip.
According to the UAE Government’s official website, Indian nationals with a normal passport and a visit visa or a green card issued by the USA, or a UK or EU residency, valid for six months, can get a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days, which can be extended once by paying 250 dhs. The entry permit to UAE will cost 100 dhs (additional 20dhs as service fee).
2. Overseas travel insurance can come handy
Medical treatments and facilities are expensive, in case you get stuck in medical emergencies. The city also offers variety of adventure sports that you need your travel insurance to cover. Get the Digit’s International Travel Insurance that gives you a well-rounded coverage from various travel-related risks like loss of baggage, loss of passport, emergency medical treatment, accident, unforeseen cash crunch, flight cancellations or missed flights.
You probably never think about this, until it’s mandatory. However, it may just be one of the most important things you’ll need during your trip. For example, for a 7-10 days trip to UAE, it would cost you less than Rs 500 to insure yourself against all unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances that could arise during your trip. This broadly includes:
- Cover for any loss of belongings that may happen, including loss of passport.
- Coverage for Adventure Sports as long as you’re not going in for a long-term course or the like.
- Minor mishaps like flight delays, delay of check-in luggage and baggage loss too are covered as part of Digit’s travel insurance policy.
- Other unplanned situations such as trip abandonment, political unrest, legal bail and bond, etc. would be covered as well.
- If you fall sick during your trip, the travel insurance will cover all medical expenses and emergencies.
It’s always recommended to go for a reliable Travel insurance provider like Digit Insurance for a travel policy that is easy to claim and access.
3. Answering all your confusion about clothing needs in Dubai
With expats making up almost 85% of the population of Dubai, the emirate manages to strike an amazing balance between respecting its Islamic traditions and allowing modern lifestyle to thrive alongside. While everywhere else you can wear what you like-you may want to exercise restrain while visiting religious places like mosques and some of the museums where you can have your knees and shoulders covered.
Carry a light shawl since most hotels, malls and resorts are fully air conditioned due to the extreme climate in Dubai. For outdoor activities including sand biking, dune dashing, camel rides, and hiking in dunes, you can pack in some light colored cotton clothes, comfortable shoes and trainers. The locals love to dress up, so keeping up with that, throw in a few party dresses or formal clothing and shoes for fine dining at swanky Dubai hotels and night clubs.
4. How much cash should you carry?
Thankfully, Dubai is urban enough that you can get by at most tourist attractions, hotels, and malls using international debit and credit cards. Indian banks and third parties also offer multicurrency forex cards accepted by thousands of global merchant outlets. These cards can be used to withdraw cash or at points of sale. The local currency in Dubai is Dirhams (AED) and quite a lot of places in Dubai accept US dollars too. Rs.100 will fetch you 5.3 Dirhams. The currency is available with most foreign exchange dealers in India at reasonable rates.
You need cash mostly for getting around in the city, for shopping at souks or bazaars, and smaller restaurants and some emergency cash.
5. Camera, sunscreen and hat
Though electronic gadgets, especially high-end brands, are cheaper to buy from Dubai, you do not want to forget your precious DSLR at home to capture the mesmerizing desert sunsets and Dubai skylines.
If you are planning to capture pictures with your mobile phone then ensure you haveto secure your phone from any mishaps that may happen during the trip and accidently damage the mobile screen.
With the sun and dryness beating down on you, sunscreen lotion, moisturizer, water bottles, UV sun glasses and cotton hats are a must have.
Note: Tourists are not allowed to take pictures of locals and strategic locations like airports and police stations without the authority’s permission.
6. Managing calls and internet
Indian telecom companies offer reasonable roaming and data plans for those traveling to UAE. Dubai based companies like Etisalat and Du also offer call, text and data packages for tourists. Most malls, hotels and airports terminals are wifi enabled too. You can get a local Sim card.
When you want to call home from Dubai, dial 00, then the country code, followed by the number.
Always carry your doctor’s medical prescription along with you while traveling to Dubai and carry them in your hand luggage in your flight. It is important to know drugs like Homeopathic Teething products; XtraHRD; Goldreallas Original; Ginseng for Reinforcing Kidney; Platinuim Max Strength Blue pill Version; Slimming Plus Advanced; Platinum Weight Solution-Fat Loss Metabolizer; Goldreallas XXX; X-treme Beauty Slim; Shenjingpian; Old Chinese; and Lean Extreme Max b are banned in UAE. You are also not allowed to carry more than three months of medicines to Dubai.
8. What not to carry
In order to not get questioned or arrested by local cops, make sure you do not carry imported goods from boycotted countries, work or art, books or literature that disrespect Islamic tradition, home-made food, Original engravings, prints, lithographs, sculptures and statues in any material, goods of Israeli origin, hazardous substances banned under local laws.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, there’s more to Dubai than the tallest Burj Khalifa or the Dubai Mall or Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. Check in to museums like Etihad and Dubai Museum to know about the country’s rich cultural history. You can get a flavor of the growing art and cultural scene at Alserka and Dubai Opera.
You can explore the city on Hop-on Hop-off buses that run through the breadth and length of the city.
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So, starting today, I am going to share the life lessons I gathered over the years. I get so many DMs and inboxes asking me to guide them. It is not possible for anyone to guide many people individually. So, I thought, maybe I should start a series on Instagram where I can help my readers gain some lessons from my struggles, turmoil and tribulations. Let’s talk about failure today. I see parents sharing their kids’ 90 % plus marks in board exams on social media. So far so good! What’s not good is people pressurizing their kids to perform well and comparing them with their school mates. Do you know I failed in class 12th in Chemistry and had to study only chemistry for 1 year to pass the exams. I was shattered. That was the first time I felt suicidal. I used to cry under the pillow. Though my parents never pressurized me! It was the peer pressure! But then, I studied hard and passed the exams, though not with flying colors. I faced similar situations when I was doing M.B.A. I again studied hard and made it. What I am trying to say is that you should not take failure too seriously. What’s failure to you is child’s play for others. You can’t judge a fish from its ability to climb a tree. You must identify your skills. I have been writing for past 20 years in leading magazines and newspapers of India. But I thought of making it a career only when I was fired from my job (for traveling too much, eh!). They pushed me in the ocean and I didn’t know how to swim. I learned. I still am. My life is full of failures and successes. Fail. Work Hard. Fail. Work Harder. Succeed. Do not be afraid of failures! This picture was shot in my last trek in Uttarakhand. I was failing here as well. I was trekking along with super fit army men, people from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and even a Mount Everest summiter. The trek was not meant for me. I was tricked into joining it. I could have gone back mid way. But I pushed hard and made it. It wasn’t easy. “I like one thing about you. No matter how difficult you find the trek, you never lose your smile and spirit & you never give up!” said the Everester to me Use #ASoulWindow and tag @asoulwindow for feature