Dubai was one of the first large international cities to completely re-open its borders to international tourism with very few restrictions from July 2020.
Since this time, it continues to have among the highest hotel occupancy rates in the world, along with one of the fastest vaccine rollouts to the adult population. With Expo 2020 still to come later in 2021, Dubai continues to prove itself not only as one of the world’s crucial transit hubs but a great city to plan a vacation in the sun.
What makes Dubai great is not only the ease of accessibility through Emirates Airline’s vast network but also its a super easy city to self-plan a vacation and navigate around with just a little English and a reasonable spending budget.
Making it easy for you to plan a trip to Dubai in 2021 and beyond, here’s what you need to know before you set off to Dubai for a safe and enjoyable vacation in the sun post-COVID:
Check that flights are open to your country
Whilst the vast majority of the Emirates flight network is up and running again, there have been some restrictions put in place to continue dealing with outbreaks of the Delta variant. You can see which countries are still unable to fly through Dubai here.
Get the right visa
Whilst many nationalities are entitled to a free Visa on Arrival in Dubai for 30 or 90 days, many still need to apply for an eVisa online. There are single entry and multiple entry visa options available for 30 or 90 days. Determine your correct visa category and apply for your travel pass online before you travel.
Be mindful of the time of year
Whilst airconditioned malls – even airconditioned bus stops – do make travel to Dubai at any time of year easier, if you’re planning on plenty of outdoor adventures in Dubai, you may want to avoid Dubai’s hottest months (generally May to October). The best time to visit Dubai is November to March when the weather is mild, and sunshine is (almost) guaranteed!
Stay in a convenient location
Whether you’re staying for a week or a month, you’ll want a fair idea of what your itinerary will involve before booking your accommodation. The great part about Dubai is its reliable Metro system which runs for the most part along the length of the Gulf coast.
Those on a budget can stay in some of the “older” areas which still offer high-quality accommodation in reputable hotel chains for a fraction of the cost of staying in some of the most desired locations, namely Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina.
If it’s a beachy holiday you want, we strongly recommend you check out JBR/Dubai Marina area. Especially travelling with kids, you can nab yourself a serviced apartment close to the beach and amazing holiday amenities.
Alternatively, if you’re not planning on being in Dubai for long and prefer the convenience of location above all else, we recommend you look around Downtown or Bur Dubai where you are closer to some of the city’s biggest attractions such as Dubai Mall, Dubai Frame and the Historic Al Fahidi Neighborhood.
Brush up on your travelers etiquette
Dubai is an immensely popular city to visit for its international vibe, but don’t forget you are still a visitor in a Muslim country.
There are dress standards expected from residents and visitors alike, and you are expected to act in a responsible manner when it comes to things like drinking, avoiding swearing, public displays of affection and respect the Islamic culture.
We thoroughly recommend brushing up on local laws before you arrive to avoid any embarrassing situations. Whilst you’re in Dubai, DO make time to learn more about the culture. Plan a visit to a Mosque or see what’s happening at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
Set yourself a sensible budget
Whilst often seen as an opulent city, you CAN travel to Dubai on a shoestring budget. Though even the most frugal of travellers can find themselves overspending when it comes to Dubai’s plentiful attractions. Set yourself a daily budget and stick to it.
Plan your splurges in advance – be it a desert tour or a trip up the Burj Khalifa – then set aside money for accommodation and meals. There are many great free and really cheap things you can do in Dubai and still have an amazing and immersive experience.
Some of the top activities in Dubai to consider in your itinerary
Take Sensible COVID precautions
Whilst Dubai has been open to tourism for over 12 months, every visitor to Dubai is responsible for helping this city – with some 3 million people calling it home – keep safe while you visit.
DO get PCR tested before you fly. DO wear your mask indoors, maintain social distancing where you can and abide by any local bylaws to keep the community and all international travellers safe.
You can find more COVID resources for Dubai here:
A visit to Dubai post covid need not be complicated. Dubai’s airline Emirates has generous booking and cancellation policies and the city which thrives off tourism is ready and waiting to receive you!