After spending 12 days in both Abu Dhabi & Dubai and making some of these mistakes myself, here are 5 common mistakes travellers make when visiting the UAE.
Visiting during the summer
I was terribly unprepared for the weather that I experienced in the UAE. I went on a family trip to the UAE at the peak of summer in July, when temperatures were highest. I spent the majority of the trip in Abu Dhabi which is hotter and more humid than Dubai. During the day, temperatures can get up to 50 degrees Celsius which is why desert safaris are done early in the morning or late in the afternoon when temperatures are lower.
However, the summer it is the off-peak season so there are fewer tourists and prices are lower. If you are travelling on a budget, this may be the best time for you to travel.
Peak season in the UAE is from mid-December to February the weather is great but it is crowded and expensive. So, pick what is most important to you.
Exploring only 1 emirate
The mistake most people make when travelling to the UAE is only visiting Dubai. The UAE is more than Dubai, there 7 emirates to be explored each one with unique landscapes that offer different experiences from hiking to camping.
When I travelled to the UAE, I made sure to see at least 2 emirates and I was able to explore Abu Dhabi extensively and a bit of Dubai. Despite being close, both emirates are very different. Dubai is more commercialised and tourist-oriented while Abu Dhabi is classy, wealthy and less crowded.
Not packing any modest clothing
The UAE is a Muslim country and although as tourists we are permitted to dress how we like; it is respectful to take note of their customs and not wear revealing clothing when in public spaces like malls and tourist sites. Also, certain tourist sites like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque have dress codes for men and women so ensure you do your research beforehand.
Taking Ubers Everywhere
The first thing you need to do when you land in the UAE is download Careem, a ride shares app. It is much more affordable than Uber and private transportation. Another great alternative to Uber is the local taxi which you often find outside malls and tourist sites. You can also hire the taxis for the day and agree on a price and because of this, they are a bit more convenient than Careem.
Not booking activities in advance
Most activities (paid and free) in the UAE need to be pre-booked, you can’t always get tickets at the location. So, make sure you have a card to pay online or get the concierge at your hotel to book on your behalf and reimburse them in cash. Always do your research beforehand, it will save you a lot of stress.
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