Dubai is a top-rated vacation destination for newlyweds, couples, families, or a group of friends. There is never a dull moment in the city with awe-inspiring structures, ultramodern theme parks, pristine beaches, delightful cultural spots, and extravagant shopping malls. The endless stretch of Arabian desert and mouthwatering cuisine takes the entire experience several notches up. In recent years, the city has also become a popular choice for solo travelers because of safety, strict laws, and the plethora of adventure and fun Dubai offers. If you are planning a solo trip to this incredible destination, here are some great tips that will come in handy during your stay.
Everything You Need to Know for a Solo Trip in Dubai
Do research for visa rules about your country and apply for it well in advance. Also, apart from originals, make copies of your visa and passport and always carry them with you.
Make a budget
Before starting your trip, make a budget with various expenses that you will incur on accommodation, shopping, food, sightseeing, traveling, etc. Always assign some extra amount if you exceed the expenditure or have some other miscellaneous expenses.
Travel insurance and currency
Getting good travel insurance is highly important, especially when alone in a new country. Also, try to understand what is covered in case of any medical emergency. The local currency of Dubai is dirhams (AED), and it is convenient to carry cash for small purchases. All international debit and credit cards are widely accepted in the city. If you want to exchange currency, do it in the city instead of the airport to get a better exchange rate.
Social etiquette and rules
Dubai has stringent laws which you need to follow to have a memorable stay. Remove your footwear while entering mosques, religious places, or anyone’s house. Don’t receive or give anything with your left hand. Avoid clicking pictures of locals without their permission. Refrain from Public Display of Affection (PDA) such as hugging and kissing as it is looked down upon. Dress modestly, especially while visiting places of worship.
Keep phone numbers ready.
Keep significant numbers on speed dial like your family, hotel, travel agent, hospital cops, etc., in case of any mishap or emergency.
Metro is the most convenient option and well-connected with the most famous attractions. It is also very economical, especially if you stay close to the metro station. Buy an NOL card that gives you excellent deals on getting around the city. Commuting by taxi is also another good way to get around the city, though a tad costly if you travel solo. Ride-sharing apps such as Careem and Uber are great options if you can spend slightly more on the commute. If you are a solo female traveler, you can hop into one of the pink taxis with women drivers.
Download travel apps
Several travel apps make your stay in Dubai a breeze and are beneficial while commuting, shopping, or visiting attractions. Some of the best ones are the Dubai Tourism app (which covers a list of events, attractions, local customs, traditions, etc.), RTA Dubai (which gives information about the nearest bus or metro station), Dubai Airport app (which tells you about navigation, flights, gate numbers, etc.), and Dubai Mall app (assists you in exploring this sprawling mall).
Health and safety
Research in advance about the medicines you can carry as certain substances are banned in Dubai. If you are on any medication, have a prescription from your doctor and only take the required quantity. There are harsh punishments for drug abuse in the city. Dubai is a very safe place with low crime rates and stringent laws. However, it is advisable to be alert and take care of your belongings. Keep a first aid kit handy with essential medicines, as pharmaceutical products are pricey in Dubai.
It is essential to book a comfortable solo stay while traveling to any new place. If possible, look for budget hotels or air BnBs in the downtown area as it is one of the most vibrant localities in the city. It also provides easy access to shopping destinations, restaurants, Metro stations, nightlife, and major city attractions. When you are alone, you don’t want to live in an area that closes in the evening or does not have a lot of tourists.
Food and drinks
Dubai is a paradise for food lovers. There are many trendy and fine-dining restaurants in the city; however, they are expensive. If you are looking for budget eateries, you can try areas like Karama and Bur Dubai or food chains like Dominos, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut, etc. The street food in Dubai is delicious, and you get an assortment of cuisines at reasonable prices. The legal age to drink is 21 years, and alcohol is available in bars and nightclubs.
Dubai is every shopper’s dream destination with a bevy of shopping malls, boutiques, duty-free shops, and street markets. High-end international brands will burn a hole in your pocket as they are not tax-free. Set aside some money for shopping if you want to splurge on perfumes, cosmetics, apparel, jewelry, bags, shoes, etc. You can visit the souks the traditional street markets to buy souvenirs, local products, and gift items for your loved ones. You can find plenty of budget shopping places like Dragon Mart, Ibn Batuta Mall, Wafi Mall, and Karama Centre. Dubai Outlet Mall is a heaven for bargain shoppers as it stocks the previous season’s collection from top brands such as Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdale, Givenchy, Aldo, Adidas, etc.