Middle East

10 Tips for Safe Travel in Dubai

Located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the city of Dubai is a stunning blend of nature and technology. Situated on the Arabian Gulf, visitors can enjoy the sandy beaches, head out towards the desert, or simply explore the city that is quickly becoming one of the most prominent in the world.

As an Arab country with a relatively long history, the city of Dubai is not without its flaws. Crime levels are average when compared to other cities, but political and civil unrest throughout the UAE can leave some visitors questioning whether or not their travel plans are a good idea. Traveling to Dubai isn’t difficult, nor is it dangerous especially if you take the time to plan for a safe trip.

10. Purchase Health Insurance

Most health insurance companies won’t pay your expenses when traveling out of country. Check with your own carrier before you leave to make sure you have coverage. If not, purchase some travel insurance. While in Dubai, it is generally easy to get medications from pharmacies, but if you end up hospitalized the costs of treatments or getting you back to your own country can add up very quickly.

9. Check Your Visa

Will you need to have a visa on hand before visiting Dubai? Citizens from some countries are allowed to enter the United Arab Emirates by purchasing a tourist visa upon arrival. Others must have a visa in hand at the time of arrival. Check with your country’s embassy before you embark on an international journey to ensure you have the right documents in hand.

8. Driving in Dubai

There are plenty of public transportation options available in Dubai, but if you plan on driving you will need an international driver’s license. If you plan on taking up residence in Dubai, you’ll eventually need to get a permanent Dubai driver’s license. Don’t panic if you are in an automobile accident. Simply remain with your vehicle, without moving it from the place where the accident occurred, and wait for the police.

7. Think before You Click

Never take a photograph with a person not in your travelling party in it without asking for permission first. Unless you are in a tourist area where photography is expressly permitted, avoid taking pictures of government buildings, airports, docks, military installations, and other locations of similar nature. Never, ever, take a picture of a Muslim woman without permission.

6. Avoid Public Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol itself is not banned in Dubai, but can only be purchased at a few Duty Free Shops on your way into the country. No one person may have more than four bottles on hand at any time. As a tourist, you will not be able to purchase alcohol in a local liquor store as Dubai residents must have an alcohol license. You can purchase drinks in restaurants and bars, but be careful. Public drunkenness is strictly prohibited, as is drinking and driving.

5. Avoid Drugs & Check Your Prescriptions

It should go without saying, but the consumption of illegal drugs and trafficking drugs is strictly prohibited as well. If you are caught with illegal drugs, you’ll spend quite a bit of time in jail likely much longer than you anticipated your trip would be.

Make sure you double check with your embassy to make sure your prescription drugs are allowed in the country. Some are regulated and need approval and, in some cases, you may need to carry a note from your physician.

4. Electricity Adapters

Electrical sockets for 3-pinned plugs of 13 amps each are the standard throughout the UAE. It is, however, a good idea to purchase an electrical adapter just in case you run into a problem.

3. Avoid Public Displays of Affection

Public displays of affection are considered offensive in the United Arab Emirates, as are displays of homosexuality. Because Dubai falls under Sharia Law, some travel sites even go as far as recommending unwed couples arrange to have separate hotel rooms.

2. Use Proper Money Exchanges

Never, ever have your money exchanged for the local currency on the street. Always have your own currency exchanged to the UAE Dirham in a bank, at a hotel, or at a mall ATM. Exchanging money on the street may open you up to a dangerous situation and you may not get the right amount in return.

1. Dress Modestly

Because Dubai is in a Muslim country, clothing should be modest in order to respect local customs. Women can wear bikinis and bathing suits while on beaches, but should not wear them in public (even on the way to the beach or back to her Dubai hotel). Men should never walk around without a shirt. Revealing clothing, like short skirts or spaghetti strap tops, are not considered appropriate in any forum.

The city of Dubai is an exciting place, and you’re bound to remember every moment spent there. Take some time to learn about the culture and traditions of those living in the city, and you’ll blend in well. Enjoy your stay!

17 Comments for "10 Tips for Safe Travel in Dubai"

Kevin says on May 26th, 2010 at 2:20 pm:

I just don’t see the draw of Dubai. I am not saying I would avoid it, but I was wondering if others could enlighten me on how Dubai is one of “the places to go” these days.

Tom Martin says on September 11th, 2011 at 5:03 pm:

Dubai sounds like a destination that has way too many limitations for what it offers. In addition, the whole explanation of how the culture and people are have already made me feel insecure and I haven’t even planned my trip!

calgary traveller says on September 21st, 2011 at 5:28 am:

Spent eight days last February (2011) in Dubai with my wife. We did not feel the need to do anything different than at any other travel destination in Europe; Be respectful of the local people, their customs and way of life and religion. Dress normally with no shorts (which are not common in Europe anyhow) in public places. The above rules do not sound onerous to any normal average traveler. Remember, it is their country after all and you are given the temporary priveledge to be there. We felt extremely safe and people were very respectful. Don’t act like earlier American tourists; loud and expecting everybody to serve you. Then everything is wonderful. Highly recommendable destination next few months when n. America is approaching another winter.

coverguy says on October 1st, 2011 at 11:22 am:

Dubai is the best tourists place I’ve ever visited.It’s a safe and modern place.Nor america or europe offers the same quality of life for tourists.Do not worry for religious limitations.Dubai is not a place for religious extremism.It’s a very balanced place.Just use your common sense and enjoy your stay in Dubai.For your information,I am not a muslim.

Kennedy says on August 17th, 2012 at 11:56 pm:

As a gay Jew, I think I’m better off traveling to France again for next vacation. Reading this article made me laugh; UAE is totally safe! No need to worry about anything…except for taking vacation photos, wearing pants in 100 degree heat, not being able to hold hands or kiss in public,…the list goes on… PASS!

joeblow says on September 14th, 2012 at 3:34 pm:

this place sounds like it blows of moral police

Here now says on April 3rd, 2013 at 10:07 am:

I am in Dubai as we speak. The Dubai destinations I have been to are simply amazing. I am wearing shorts on a daily basis with the other 95% of the people. There are a few restaurants that require long pants, but you get that in the states as well. I have been treated with the utmost respect as have my family members. I would say Dubai is very safe and it is a great destination if you are looking for something new. The weather is gorgeous, the people are nice, and the sights are wonderful. I would highly advise people to give it a try. Well worth it!

Erica says on April 14th, 2013 at 7:17 pm:

I’m actually going to Dubai this week for a modeling career. It does sound exciting. It has the world’s tallest building, the world’s biggest mall, the world’s biggest fountain, world’s fastest rollocoaster, worlds biggest meal dish their architecture is so detailed and beautiful. I’ve never been there but excited to go :)

khalifa says on May 14th, 2013 at 12:51 pm:

i was in Dubai in January. I think its a beautiful place. I witnessed the light and fire show and visited NAIF the open market. I really love it.

Layda says on January 1st, 2014 at 1:28 pm:

Dubai seems like a wonderful place to visit, I’m adding it to my husband and I bucket list!

Thom says on January 5th, 2014 at 6:42 pm:

What’s the weather like in Dubai in January?? Also, any travel and/or packing tips for a first-timer??

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