In the first of our new Travel Hacks series, the Nasma Luxury Stays team shares top packing tips for your next Dubai vacation or getaway.
We all have a travel checklist in our heads or scribbled down on a piece of paper, but don’t you hate arriving at your destination to find you’ve forgotten to pack an essential item?
Dubai is the kind of city where you can purchase everything you need on arrival (beauty buys and sunscreen is a good case in point) but if you’re a first time visitor unfamiliar with the climate and cultural nuances, read on…
If you’re someone who struggles in the heat when not lying on a sun lounger by the pool, a handheld fan (folding paper or the mini battery-operated version) can be a lifesaver on a hot day in a crowded market. Conversely, Dubai is known for its love of air-conditioned environments such as malls and restaurants, so throw a pashmina or light sweater/jacket into the mix (also hand for our cool winter evenings and nights in the desert).
This may be a little obvious but do pack your favourite bikini or swimwear. Dubai may be chock full of high-rise towers and you may be staying far away from one of its beaches, but the vast majority of apartment buildings and villas come with a swimming pool. And, it goes without saying that your Nasma Luxury Stays holiday homes will have pool access.
A fairly liberal destination in many respects, the UAE is still an Islamic country and it’s important to respect cultural differences when it comes to clothing. Away from the beach or pool, when visiting a mall or public attraction, shoulders should be covered, décolleté avoided and shorts/dresses extend below the knee. So, pack accordingly with an extra T-shirt or top, long skirt or trousers. A light cotton scarf is also handy to throw around you as a quick cover-up.
The city is a bit of a dichotomy when it comes to dressing up for an evening out as it’s not unusual to see designer cocktail dresses rubbing sequined shoulders with a plain white tee and jeans look. It’s always a pleasure to glam up for a nice dinner, so bring out that special occasion dress or (tieless) suit. It’s worth noting that many places don’t allow trainers, shorts or flip-flops in the evening.
We occasionally get asked if Malaria is an issue in the UAE, which its isn’t. However, during warmer weather and near large bodies of artificial water you may find mosquitoes, so it’s a good idea to pack your preferred mosquito repellent or pick up a can here. Hand sanitiser is also a practical must-have, especially if you’re an urban explorer poking around dusty corners.
If you are taking prescription medication, you need to be aware of the UAE position on controlled medicines. Doctor-prescribed medication can be brought into Dubai; however, you will need either a copy of the original prescription or a doctor’s letter. You are only permitted to bring in supply lasting a maximum of three months.
The electrical current in Dubai is 220/240 V, 50 Hz AC. British-style three-pin electrical plugs are the standard here (although a high percentage of electrical items are of the two-pin variety) so remember to bring a travel adaptor with you.
NO FLY ZONE
If you’re a drone owner eager to capture your Dubai experiences from on high, you’ll need to register for official (temporary) permission from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) before you travel and collect your temporary ID on arrival. The process can take up to 12 working days (gcaa.gov.ae) and you can also download the UAE Drone Fly Zone Map.
We know that our Nasma Luxury Stays guests are a global community of intelligent travellers but, in case you’ve ever wondered… Daisy Duke shorts, extremely short mini-skirts and crop tops in public; see-through beach sarongs off the beach; thong bikinis – period; and T-shirts with vulgar graphics or slogans are a complete no-no!