25 Tips for Your First Solo Trip to Dubai | Solo Female Travel
Over the last few decades, Dubai has emerged as the most popular travel destination among visitors in every part of the world. The country offers tourist attractions that fit the taste and needs of every solo traveller. Not only this, Dubai is a rather interesting destination for solo female travellers as compared to other countries in the world.
However, there are certain things that you may have to keep in mind while exploring this gorgeous country. So, before you book your tickets and plan your solo trip to Dubai, here are some tips that will help make this trip a memorable one!
1. Invest in the Go Dubai Card before visiting the country
Purchasing the Go Dubai Card can turn out to be a smart investment on your Dubai trip. The card will allow you to have plenty of offers and discounts when you visit Dubai tourist attractions. It includes discounts on admission rates to Burj Khalifa, many Dubai sightseeing tours, and other activities that may burn a hole in your pocket otherwise.
2. Check out the Dubai International Airport properly
The Dubai International Airport is huge, and it may take you quite some time to get from one place to another inside the airport itself. I would recommend you do not make commitments right after arriving in Dubai. Also, just to be on the safer side, leave for the airport well early to ensure you do not miss your flight!
3. Dress appropriately
Although Dubai is not a conservative country, it does have its own set of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations have been set keeping in mind its religious majority – Islam. Here are a few things you can keep in mind regarding what to wear in Dubai.
- Swimwear and bikinis are alright as long as you are on the beaches. Once you leave the beach, you will have to cover yourself up and wear appropriate clothing on the streets.
- Clothes that show too much of your skin may attract attention on the streets. However, if you are inside malls or restaurants, such clothes can be worn.
- If you decide to visit the Dubai mosques, following the dress code is a must. You will have to wear clothes that completely cover your arms and legs. Also, you may be asked to cover your head when you enter the mosque. So I would recommend you keep a scarf handy in your bag.
4. Buy a local SIM card
For solo travellers, especially solo female travellers, safety becomes more important than money and other things. I would recommend you invest in a local SIM card. It will cost you approximately 60 AED.
Another important point to note here is buying registered local SIM cards from mobile stores or malls. The ones you get on the streets are mostly not registered and can be fake.
When I went on a solo trip to Dubai, buying a local SIM card from the malls was one of the first things I did in the country. It helped me prevent a lot of trouble that arises when one uses a SIM card of their home country in another country.
5. Download all the essential apps on your phone
Downloading apps that may prove to be helpful as you explore the country should definitely be one of the first things you do in Dubai. The following are my favourite apps that made my solo trip to Dubai so much easier.
- Dubai Metro
This app will make your journey of travelling in Dubai metro a tad easier.
This app lets you book cabs in the country without any hassle.
- The Dubai Mall
This app will help you navigate and provide everything you need to know about the Dubai Mall.
6. Keep the emergency contact numbers on speed dial
Even though the crime rates in Dubai are very low, it is always good to keep emergency contacts on speed dial. Here are a few emergency contacts that may come in handy and prove to be helpful.
- Police department – 999
- Ambulance department – 998
- Fire department – 997
- Water failure – 922
- Electricity failure – 991
- Tourist security – 800 4888
7. Know and follow the traffic rules
The United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, is very strict with its traffic rules. You can only cross the road when the signal is red.
In other countries, like India, people are used to crossing roads when there are no vehicles running on the road, whether or not the signal is red. However, Dubai does not tolerate such things, and you may end up paying a fine if you do not follow these traffic rules.
8. Choose cheaper accommodations
Since Dubai is a lavish country, the chances are you will find most accommodations to be quite expensive. Being a solo female traveller, hotels and hostels take up most of the budget. So, my recommendation would be to invest in cheaper accommodation so that you do not face a shortage of money while exploring the country.
9. Get to know the area you are staying in properly
Even though Dubai is one of the safest travel destinations for solo female travellers, it wouldn’t hurt to be aware of your surrounding areas, right? I would recommend you avoid taking pathways that are shady and dimly-lit. Also, carry pepper spray and a whistle in your bag at all times.
10. Avoid using public and unsecured WiFi
I understand how free WiFi/data-hungry this generation is. Living even a few minutes without using social media may seem like a huge task. However, I would highly recommend you avoid using public WiFi. Always use mobile data when travelling to tourist attractions. Buying a local SIM card may make this task a whole lot easier for you.
11. Make prior enquiries about your medications (if any)
If you are on any sort of medication, it would be wise to enquire about them in the United Arab Emirates. The reason behind this is many medications that may be available in your country could be banned in Dubai. You can consult with your doctor and, if possible, ask them to prescribe alternative medicines.
12. Limit alcohol to indoors and bars only
Dubai is an Islamic nation, and it closely follows the decrees dictated by this religion. The consumption of alcohol is not allowed outside of licensed bars and restaurants. Also, it may not be wise to get drunk and wasted on the streets while you are travelling alone.
Along with alcohol, a wide variety of drugs are also banned in many parts of Dubai. If you are found indulging in the consumption of drugs in public, you could also be sent to prison.
13. Learn a few of the Arabic words
Learning the basics of a foreign language is always a great idea. Although it may be impossible to master Arabic in just a few days, you can learn a few words before you reach your destination. Certain words such as sorry, thank you, and please may prove to be extremely helpful on your solo trip to the country.
Arabs are quite welcoming and friendly to the tourists who visit their country. Also, if they see you making an effort to learn their language, they will leave no stones unturned in helping you out.
14. Make a note of the Islamic events of Dubai
Most tourist attractions and events during certain times, such as Ramadan and Eid, may be limited. Also, it may affect the transportation facilities in the country, which could impact your trip. Sometimes, during the month of Ramadan, some restaurants may only open after sunset. I would recommend you plan your solo trip to the country, keeping these things in mind.
15. Carry a sufficient amount of cash with you
With technological advancements, many countries have gone digital in many aspects. However, one thing I realised after visiting Dubai was the importance of cash. This tip may come in handy in cases where your card may not work in international ATMs.
Also, in certain places such as Old Dubai, you may come across many restaurants that accept only cash. So, as you land in Dubai, get your cash exchanged for Dirhams or withdraw money from ATMs.
16. Follow all the rules and regulations when visiting mosques or other religious places
This tip goes without saying. Owing to the decree followed as per the Islamic religion, there are certain rules and regulations you should follow.
If you decide to visit mosques or other religious places in Dubai, follow every rule and regulation properly. These places are considered holy in the country, and the locals will not tolerate anyone breaking the rules.
During my solo trip to Dubai, I had made up my mind to visit a few mosques. Even though I do not wear a headscarf at all times, I carried one in my backpack. It turned out to be extremely useful in mosques.
17. Weekends in the country start on Friday
This is an extremely helpful tip for your solo trip to Dubai. Unlike the rest of the world that starts their new week on Monday, Dubai does it on Sunday itself. This makes the weekends Friday and Saturday in Dubai. This suggests you will have to make your weekend plans in Dubai accordingly.
18. Leave your comfortable walking shoes back home
Dubai is certainly not meant for people who love to walk. So, if you have a habit of walking around and exploring a certain place, Dubai is going to disappoint you. One of the main reasons behind this is the hot temperatures in the country – it makes it difficult for anyone and everyone to walk around the country on foot. Most people take cabs and buses to explore the country.
19. Tipping in Dubai
Although not a norm, tipping is practised in some parts of the country. If you book a cab, the driver would not expect any tip for you. However, supermarket baggers and luggage carriers are usually given a small tip by most locals. I would recommend you do the same thing.
20. Scratch beneath the gold for the real Dubai
The rich history and culture of the country can only be explored if you scratch beneath all the luxury and gold. I would recommend you visit Old Dubai to experience the real culture of Dubai. The traditional souks such as the Gold Souk, Textile Souk, and Spice Souk are some of the best places to know the real Dubai.
21. A tip for all the shopaholics
If you are a shopaholic and shopping is one of the main reasons for your trip to Dubai, then January and July would be the perfect months for you. In January, the country holds the Dubai Shopping Festival, and in July, the Dubai Summer Surprises. You will find everything you need in these two months at discounted rates!
22. Let the foodie in you out
While many people worry about the food in different countries, you can leave these inhibitions back at home when travelling to Dubai. Apart from the heavenly Arabic dishes, Dubai also offers other cuisines from around the world like Afghan, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, and more.
23. Malls offer more than just shops
Dubai is famous for its beautiful malls that offer plenty of international brands, however, there is much more to it. Most of the malls in Dubai have fun activities like ski slopes, shark diving, aquariums, and gaming zones!
You can shop all you want, but once you are done with that, you can head to places where you can have some fun playing games and relaxing.
24. Party the night away
Dubai offers one of the most happening and vibrant nightlife in the world. If you are a party freak, this tip will definitely make your solo trip to Dubai a cherishable one.
Along with offering top-notch clubs, bars, and restaurants, the parties go on till 3 in the night! So, if you are an early bird, I would recommend you become a night owl for one night and have one of the most magical nights of your life!
25. Camel races for the win!
I agree that camel races may sound a bit absurd, but trust me, it is Dubai’s favourite sport and might turn out to be a real treat for your eyes if you have never seen camels racing before.
A fun fact – there are no jockeys sitting on the camels, but tiny robots that are controlled by their owners who drive SUVs nearby! Quite fascinating, right?
You can learn more about the camel races here.
Phew! Quite a big list, right? But trust me, these tips for your solo trip to Dubai will save you a lot of time and effort. Now get going, book your tickets, pack your bags, and have a wonderful time in the country!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.