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The Dubai Travel Guide for First-Time Travelers

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Planning your first-ever trip to Dubai can feel exciting yet anxious! This popular Middle Eastern city that attracts over a million tourists annually is sure to make you feel a little overwhelmed with its exorbitant collection of attractions to check out.

However, you can make your holiday planning easier by understanding just a few key elements. This Dubai travel guide will help you with the same.

dubai travel guide

Sample a bit of everything Dubai has to offer

To get a comprehensive experience of Dubai on your first trip, you should experience Dubai’s 4 different facets. Dubai has the city vibe, the Arabian vibe,  the beach shore vibe and the desert vibe.

On your first visit, make sure you experience a glimpse of each to have a fulfilling time in Dubai. You can include iconic landmark attractions such as Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, Palm Jumeirah and Museum of the Future to witness the contemporary metropolis side of Dubai. Wander through Dubai Souk and Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood for an insight into Dubai’s former Bedouin era.

Take a full-day desert safari Dubai tour if you plan to stay longer than a few days to experience the unrivalled splendour of the Arabian desert. In contrast to the busy city life, Dubai’s Persian Gulf side offers peace and a variety of beach-shore experiences. This is where you can appreciate the city skyline of Dubai as well as enjoy some amazing watersports adventures.

Define a theme for your holiday

Dubai is a potpourri of extraordinary experiences and it can be overwhelming when browsing the list of things to do in Dubai because there are so many things to discover and do. Trying to shortlist what to see and where to go can further feel overwhelming.

So there is a simple way to ensure you pick and choose experiences easily. Ask yourself: what would be the theme of your Dubai holiday?

Are you looking for an adventure? 

Are you planning to spend quality time with your partner or spouse?

 Is this trip a holiday with your family and a way to spend more time with kids?

Are you seeking a respite from a daily routine life and want to enjoy some luxury leisure? 

Are you someone who wants to enjoy Dubai but in a budget-friendly way?

The selection of your attractions also depends on the duration of your stay in Dubai. If it is a short stay, a city tour option would be ideal rather than exploring individual attractions. 

Once you get your answer, you can base your Dubai holiday on a theme, segregate the attractions that fall into that category and choose them for your holiday.

A budget-friendly traveler can add more free Dubai attractions. A dhow cruise Dubai need not be an important feature in a Dubai budget trip, which can be substituted with an abra ride. However, if you are planning time with family or your spouse and not worried about splurging a bit, you get the option to choose from basic to luxury versions of Dhow Cruise Dubai experiences.

Customize your Dubai experience according to your interests

You can also combine two of your interests for a wholesome first-time visit to Dubai. For instance, you may be a budget traveler with a passion for pristine nature sceneries, then Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal inclusion in your Dubai trip.

You may be a budget traveler, but on a honeymoon trip with your beloved, then Al Qudra Lakes is an excellent free Dubai attraction to check out. Visiting with family, but would love to have a unique adventure experience for yourself?

Head to Palm Jumeirah where Aquaventure water park is perfect for a family fun day. Combine it with the skydiving adventure which is one of the best adrenaline-rushing adventure to check out in Dubai!

Understand The Dubai Visa

While applying for a Dubai visa, you will have to apply for the Dubai visa in UAE for which you would require a UAE sponsor i.e someone who resides in Dubai. Also, you should hold a passport with 6 months or more validity after you have arrived in Dubai for your holiday to get a valid visa.

You should be aware if as per your citizenship, you need a pre-approved Dubai visa, or if you can enter Dubai with visa-on-arrival benefits or visa-free privileges.  You should also be clear about which visa type of visa you should apply for your visit to the UAE if you are eligible for the same.

Visitors from certain countries will also need to go through additional visa verification before boarding a flight to Dubai known as ‘OK to Board’. All these aspects must be followed meticulously to have a hassle-free Dubai trip. 

Be aware of what is not allowed in Dubai

Dubai is quite strict when it comes to laws and its local residents’ convenience. Being an Islamic emirate, there are quite a few etiquettes that the city wants its visitors to follow. These are:

Attires – Although Dubai is quite lenient compared to other emirates, there are still few boundaries to follow when it comes to clothing. Casuals are allowed everywhere in Dubai except religious sites and places where a dress code is in effect. Swimwear is allowed at water parks and private beaches, but not at public beaches. Any attire having derogatory images or political or racial slogans is not allowed. If you are not sure as to what to wear, stick to long, light-material trousers or skirts and loose tops with sleeves and closed shoes. 

Rules and Laws – Dubai does not let lawbreakers get away easily. The city takes them quite seriously. There is a list of things that you should not be bringing in your luggage while arriving in the city and some of these are quite common items such as medicines that you might get as over-the-counter medication in your country. Not just the laws, you should also make sure that your behaviour does not offend the locals during your visit. Public display of affection and photographing locals are not encouraged in Dubai.  If you are visiting during Ramadan months, you should adhere to the way of life of locals during your stay. 

Check the best time to visit Dubai

When you plan your visit to Dubai, check the best time to visit Dubai. Dubai has high and low intensity sunshine throughout the year. However , October to March sees a drop in temperature and less scorching sunny days. So these months are considered pleasant months and visitors prefer coming to Dubai during these months.

November to January are peak seasons as many festivals and events take place during this time of the year including the famous Dubai Shopping Festival and New Year’s Eve.

These are also the months where seasonal attractions like Dubai Miracle Garden and Global Village open their doors to visitors. So Dubai will be crowded and pricey during these months. For budget travelers, the month of September and October are the best time to visit as it is shoulder season, less crowded and inexpensive to visit. 

With these key guidelines and details in hand, you’ll be all set for a fantastic first trip to Dubai!

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