Six things you need to know before traveling to the UAE

If you’re planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates for business purposes or you’re just visiting to soak up the sights and culture, there are a few things you need to know first.

Here are six essential tips for first-time travelers to keep in mind when visiting the UAE.

1) Travel insurance is mandatory

When entering the UAE, travel insurance is mandatory. Before COVID-19, people could apply for a Dubai tourist visa without travel insurance, but the laws changed after the pandemic. Now, you’ll need at least $100,000 in emergency medical coverage and at least $50,000 in medical evacuation.

The amount of medical coverage needed varies from area to area, so call Petra Insurance Brokers to check the requirements before planning your trip.

2) The dress code is not as conservative as people think

Even though malls and other public spaces in Dubai have their conservative dress code displayed at their entrances, many don’t follow it. Men are often seen in shorts and t-shirts, and women even wear short dresses – but dressing modestly is recommended.

However, other emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are more conservative – especially when it comes to holy places like mosques. In places of worship, you must cover your arms, legs, and shoulders completely out of respect.

If you’re in your hotel, dining out, or at the beach in Dubai, feel free to wear whatever you want. 

3)Public displays of affection are a no-no

You should never engage in public displays of affection – even if it’s with your partner. Kissing, holding hands, and cuddling are considered very disrespectful. 

While some areas are more relaxed about it than others, you should always be respectful and culturally aware about public displays of affection… after all, you are a guest in someone else’s country.

4) Alcohol is available in some places

In the UAE, alcohol is not widely available. In most places only hotels are allowed to serve alcohol… but in emirates such as Sharjah, you won’t find it at all. You will find stores that have licenses to sell alcohol in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, however, you may be required to get a permit to buy it.

Stocking up on cheap, duty-free alcohol at the airport might be a better option.

5) You don’t have to worry about safety

The UAE is generally very safe for tourists, and Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. Dubai has a vibrant nightlife – every area is connected via the metro and taxis are available throughout the night. 

Although it’s always a good idea to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings while traveling abroad, crime is not something you should worry too much about in the UAE.

6) It’s cheaper to visit during summer

In the summer months, it is a lot cheaper to travel to the UAE due to the extremely hot weather. In September, the temperature soars to 45 degrees Celsius. If you can bear the heat, though, you can get great deals and stay in world-class hotels for a fraction of the “in-season” price.

If you can’t take the heat, the best time to visit the UAE is between October and April.