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Travel tips for Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Discover the top travel tips for Dubai and Abu Dhabi from our experts. 

Travel to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE has become increasingly popular over the last few years. And why not? After all, the UAE is an exciting, unique country with something for everyone. However, if you are planning to visit the UAE, it is important to be aware of some key details, customs, and social mores. Here is some useful information and important travel tips for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to help ensure your trip is as seamless and comfortable as possible.

Travel Tips for Dubai and Abu Dhabi

– Despite the ultra-modernity of places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the UAE is quite conservative, so when you’re out in public, it’s important to dress modestly to show respect for local customs.

– The UAE has stricter alcohol laws than you may be used to, and while drinking is perfectly acceptable within licensed bars or hotels, drinking alcohol or appearing drunk in public places is expressly forbidden. In more conservative cities such as Sharjah, drinking alcohol anywhere is illegal.

– Public displays of affection are deeply frowned upon, and in some areas, outright illegal, though holding hands is perfectly acceptable and even commonplace.

– If you want to do a lot of shopping in the UAE (and you should since Dubai and Abu Dhabi are havens for shoppers), you might find it useful to carry cash. Although bank cards such as Amex, VISA and Mastercard are accepted widely, smaller shops or stalls in souks (markets) tend to accept cash only.

– Tipping in the UAE isn’t always expected, but it is extremely common and something you should plan for. Often restaurants and bars will include a tip in your bill, but if not (as you may find mentioned on the menu) a tip of 10-15% is customary.

– Taxis in the UAE are notoriously cheap and, because of this, a tip tends to be expected. In these situations, Emirates and visitors tend to round the fare up to the nearest note. If you wish to be more specific, you should aim to tip between 5-10 Dirham.

Currency in the UAE

The main currency of the UAE is the irham (often shortened to Dh or AED). In some places, you may find that US Dollars, Pounds, or Euros are accepted as well. At the moment one dollar equates to around 3.67 Dirhams. While Amex, VISA and Mastercard are accepted widely, smaller shops in the markets tend to accept cash only so it’s always a good idea to carry some with you. 

Language in the UAE

The official language of the UAE is Arabic. However, since countless people from around the world call UAE home, you’re likely to hear many different languages spoken everywhere. English is commonly spoken everywhere, especially in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Visa Information

Access to the UAE is simple, and citizens from many countries can enter without a Visa. However, there are limitations on the maximum amount of time a person can spend in the UAE depending on their nationality. For example, citizens of the following countries: Germany, France, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden or Austria can stay in the UAE for a maximum of 90 days with a tourist visa. However, this is not renewable.

Residents of countries like the United States, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, or Russia can stay for 30 days upon obtaining a visa. Like with the countries listed above, you can obtain a visa while in the UAE, and there is a ten-day grace period for you to apply. If you are a citizen of one these countries and wish to stay longer, then an extension for an additional thirty days can be requested.

Refer to the travel advisory for the most up to date information. 

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