While Dubai may be one of the most exciting, stimulating and upcoming places in the world, for the first time visitor it can be more than a little daunting. Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates, an area which it is fair to say was not particularly popular with the Western tourist until Dubai launched itself as the playboy city for the rich and famous. Now Dubai and it’s surrounding areas are regular jaunts for holidaymakers, but it’s always best to be prepared.
The first, and most important, travel tip for Dubai is: be aware of the heat. While most holidaymakers only go away so as to experience the sun for the duration, in Dubai, the heat is stifling. Dubai is a desert city and the heat, humidity and powerful sun should be given the full due care and consideration they deserve. After all, no one wants to spend their holiday nursing sunburn or even in hospital with heat stroke.
While bearing the heat in mind when selecting clothing, at the same time it is also worth remembering that you are visiting a Muslim country and should respect their feelings toward decency. For this reason, an essential Dubai travel tip is to only wear bikinis, swimsuits, shorts and revealing tops in beach resorts; do not wear these things as general attire when travelling around the city. Although no harm will come to you if you do, it is only polite to respect the customs and traditions of the country you are visiting.
The water in Dubai is drinkable and deemed safe, though many tourists prefer to carry a bottle of mineral water with them at all times. This, again, helps with the heat; dehydration and it’s associated effects will ruin a holiday quicker than anything else.
One of the most agonizing parts of travelling to an unfamiliar country is how the locals go about tipping, but fear not. In Dubai, tipping is not compulsory but it is common practice, particularly in the bars and restaurants. Most Dubai restaurants add service charges to the bill, usually around 10%, so check to see if it is included, and if not add it yourself.
In terms of hotel staff who help you, this is at your discretion, though do not worry that you will offend if offering a tip; it will be appreciated, so if you feel it right to offer, do so. In terms of other service personnel, staff like supermarket bag packers, windscreen washers at petrol stations and bag carriers are generally tipped.
The final travel tip when visiting Dubai is, once again, Muslim in origin. The public and religious holidays are greatly respected in Dubai and many services will halt altogether to celebrate them. The Muslim holidays are worked out on a lunar cycle, and therefore the dates change each year, which while making the task of being aware a little more difficult, does not render it impossible. Simply check before you leave to see if any Muslim festivals such as Eid or Ramadan will take place during your stay, and plan your excursions and activities with these in mind.