Dubai What to Pack

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Best Rated What to Pack in Dubai

  • JessH's Profile Photo

    "Desert Survival" Packing List

    by JessH Updated Apr 19, 2009

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    Luggage and bags: Whether you're planning a day-trip or overnight stay in the desert, there are certain things you need to take with you. Here's what we take with us every time. Many of these things are available in supermarkets, at petrol stations or at Dubai's DIY store ACE Hardware:

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Desert for a DAY-TRIP:
    > Water! Plenty of H2O for you & also for your car in case it overheats.
    > First Aid Kit: bandages, disinfectant spray, burn cream, etc.
    > BBQ with coals & lighter fluid.
    > Sports/Electrolyte Drinks: by sweating your body doesn't only loose water but also vital salts & minerals. Gatorade, Isostar or similar will help combat any nausea or sun stroke.
    > Multiple fully-charged mobile phones with good coverage.
    > Cooler box: for drinks & to keep BBQ foods (meat, etc.) cool & fresh.
    > Sun lotion (you won't need repellent as there aren't many mosquitoes)
    > Toilet roll/wet wipes: dig a small hole, do your business and cover it up with sand to avoid certain "odours" wafting through your campsite.
    > Any kind of hat (baseball cap, etc.) & sunglasses.
    > Tow ropes: Make sure at least 2 persons have a set each.
    > Balloon-air-jack for the sand (punctures are common & any normal jack will, of course, sink!)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: OVERNIGHT Camping Trip:
    If you're staying for the night, take additionally:
    > Mats/Blankets for sitting on.
    > Fire wood! there is no wood in the desert, so if you want a camp fire...
    > Lights! Torches, storm candles, anything that will help you find your way in the dark.
    > A change of clothes (in case of spillage, stinkeage, etc… haha!)
    > A pair of good walking shoes (you may not get far in flip-flops)
    > Sleeping bags & a sturdy tent: it can get very windy in the desert & in the winter months night-time temperatures drop down to 5-10 degrees Celsius.
    > Batteries & a radio: we all know what happens if you leave your car-radio on all night...
    > A canister of petrol (just in case...)

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: And finally...
    > Rubbish Bags: PLEASE take your rubbish home with you so you don't affect local wildlife & so the next person can also enjoy the beauty of the desert. Also, hundreds of camels & gazelles starve to death every year after nibbling on plastic bags left in the desert, that then solidify in their stomachs and cause a slow, miserable death.

    Miscellaneous: > If you are planning a serious off-roading trip, then you might want to consider investing in a GPS sytem for your car. Over the past few years most major roads and even well-known desert tracks & common meeting points have been mapped for GPS.

    BBQ & My beloved Jeep in the desert near Hatta
    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Road Trip
    • Desert

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    Dubai essentials & What to wear

    by JessH Updated May 21, 2012

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    Luggage and bags: An insulated "freezer-bag" for keeping your food & drinks cool is always useful when going into the desert or to a public beach. (these bags can be purchased at most supermarkets in the freezer section)

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dubai is very liberal, but it's still a Muslim city: Keep this 1 Golden Rule in mind:

    M E N should not wear shorts unless they are at the beach. Long, light trousers and t-shirts/shirts with collar are appropriate for malls, museums, souks, etc.

    W O M E N, it's obviously more complicated:
    When dining/partying at clubs & Western restaurants: Pretty much anything goes.
    In malls & "Western" areas: knee-length skirts & tops that cover the shoulders (and stomach) & are not too deep-cut are fine.
    When visiting souks, mosques or the museum: it's best to wear long skirts or trousers & loose tops to cover down to the elbows as not to offend anyone & not to attract any unwanted attention.

    Golden Rule No. 2: Ladies, if you show too much skin, everyone will think you're a prostitute.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: B.Y.O. Sun Lotion! Sun lotion is only used by tourists and Western expatriates in the UAE (Arabs & Asians generally bleach their skin to become whiter, whilst we spend hours trying to tan... crazy world) Therefore, sun lotion is relatively expensive in Dubai and I suggest bringing your own from home.

    Also, it can be quite windy at Dubai beaches, which dries-out the skin; dry skin is the main reason we get sunburn. For that reason, sun tanning OILS actually prevent sunburn better than high-factor white, sticky lotions. (I recommend Hawaiian Tropic tanning oils)

    Photo Equipment: Don't take your brand-new, expensive, digital camera-gear to the beach or desert with you unless you have a seal-tight carrying case/bag for it... the sand gets everywhere and can really mess-up your equipment ;-)
    photo equipment, that is!!!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: A good pair of sunglasses is a must (also for children!) as well as a wide-rimmed hat. Sunglasses can also help to keep the sand out of your eyes... it get's quite windy.

    TIP for Women: Instead of going back to the hotel & changing every few hours, to be on the safe side: wear long skirts or light trousers & tops that cover the shoulders. I *always* carry a light cardigan or shawl / pashmina with me to cover my shoulders if I should decide to visit a more "conservative" area... it's also useful to keep warm, as the air-conditioning in malls & restaurants can be freezing cold!

    Miscellaneous: Electricity: 220V, 50Hz .
    Plugs/Socket: 3 rectangular pins (exactly the same as in the UK)


    --> UPDATE August 2009: Dubai's shopping malls have now introduced flyers & posters requesting shoppers to dress appropriately. FULL STORY:

    Warning Sign at Mall of the Emirates, Dubai The dilemma of Wear respectful clothing in Dubai, UAE
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Rinjani's Profile Photo

    Summer and Winter Packing List

    by Rinjani Updated Dec 6, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: Summer and Winter

    It depends, if you come to Dubai for shopping, bring extra suitcase. Or you can also buy it here in Dubai. If you don't fancy shopping, light luggage is allright.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Summer

    Comfortable clothes and shoes.
    A good quality of sun glasses
    Bottle water (always carry in your bag to avoid dehydration)
    Sunscreen above 30 SPF is recommended
    Beach kits (sarongs, swimwear, sandals,etc)
    Smart casual dress if you plan to go for fine dining.


    A good quality of sun Glasses
    Jacket or sweater
    Comfortable clothes and shoes
    Smart casual clothes (if you plan to fine dining)
    Beach kits (sarongs, swimwear, etc)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen
    After sun lotion

    Photo Equipment: Digital camera
    Film is easy to find here, and once you develop the film here, usually the shop will give you another film roll for free. Good bargain, isn't it :)

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Winter

    It's recommended to bring hiking shoes or any outdoor equipment. Winter is the best time for doing outdoor activity in Dubai.


    Well....beach equipment and comfortable shoes are good enough. Summer is not really good time for any outdoor activities beside going to the beach.


    It's always usefull, especially when you come around Dubai Summer Surprise or Dubai Shopping festival.

    Credit Card will be useful for shopping
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Fans are a must!

    by preguntas Written Jul 23, 2007

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    Luggage and bags: Carrying a decent tote is always worthwhile when visiting souks or malls, to avoid having so many bags. The Carrefours shopping bag for 2DH is a cheap souvenir and useful, too. Pack an extra, collapsible suitcase for purchases!

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We were there in summer: needed more sandals, more capris (as a woman I was just uncomfortable wearing shorts, tho' others did) and more packable coverups for malls with AC on full blast! I had only taken 1/1 pair of each. Covering up is not required except for mosque, but even short sleeves and capris got some stares...

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Keep some toilet paper in your tote if you are going to "heritage" sites or shops off the beaten track, as it may not be provided.

    Photo Equipment: Batteries were plentiful tho' expensive.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Must wear sandals on beach or risk burning bottoms of feet (summer!) Portable battery-powered fans (Walgreens, Brookstone, Sharper Image, etc.) were invaluable for desert dining and day to day, as were cheap folding Chinese fans. Max SPF sunscreen a must. Hang-gliding and boating available.

    Miscellaneous: Floppy hat was useful. Wet washcloth in small plastic bag was comforting. As a Western woman with light hair, I immediately realized I would not fit in! Stares but no comments, and it seemed most who worked in shops, hotels, restaurants, etc., were not from Dubai. Can ski at Ski Dubai (gear for rent) Lots of spas. Zoo a major disappointment. Some history/museums. No art museums, no theatre.

    Related to:
    • Luxury Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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  • Quero's Profile Photo

    It gets cold at night in the desert

    by Quero Written Nov 15, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you are travelling to Dubai in winter, take a light jacket or sweater for evenings, especially if you may eat outdoors (e.g. at the Yacht Club or the Aviation Club).

    Also, once the sun sets in the desert, it can get downright teeth-chattering nippy.

    An hour till sunset

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  • Cynthia_marie's Profile Photo

    Sunscreen A Must

    by Cynthia_marie Written Feb 21, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: I brought one large suitcase which was a mistake. I flew Swiss Air and the weight restriction was 20 kgs; mine weighed in at 36 kgs. I paid 100 Euros to get the suitcase on as Excess Baggage. Bring 2 smaller ones; especially if you plan on buying souvenirs.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good walking shoes are a must especially in the malls. City Centre Mall has over 300 stores. A light sweater for the evenings is perfect.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Shorts; short sleeve shirts; everyone there wears anything and everything.

    Dubai Beach
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Spa and Resort

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  • wacked's Profile Photo

    It's all here

    by wacked Updated Apr 6, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: Cool clothes and please check out the temperature before you pack, it can get rediculously hot over here so beware.

    You can buy anything you forget here no worries, but ALWAYS wear suncream. Don't be stupid, I see far too many tourists walking around glowing like a red light bulbs and it just looks stupid and niaeve, we are in a hot country!
    No mini skirts, no revealing tops.
    Check religiouse festival times.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Trainers and sandles are groovy. Pack one pair of black shoes as the restaurants wont allow trainers.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There are pharmacies every where. Buy it here and save yourself the hassel of packing it and some money.

    Photo Equipment: Camera's are a must, take it nearly every where with you, you will always see the most random things that you will want to shoot.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Shorts t-***rs, the norm. But ladies pls no g-string bikini's unless you want a night in a cell and deffinatly no topless stuff. We are in the Middle East. But feel free to wear normal shorts t-shirts etc, on the beach. Everywhere else try and cover yourself unless you want to be stared at. You'll get the feel after you've been out a few times and you'll know what you feel comfortable wearing and what you don't.

    travelling Arabic style
    Related to:
    • Backpacking

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  • Erkmen's Profile Photo

    Sweat shirt or something warm

    by Erkmen Written May 5, 2003

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dubai is hot all the year round.. In summer time temperature reaches more than 40 degrees.. However you spent many times inside covered areas and the air conditons are so cold that you will need a sweat shirt while you are in a shopping center.. Dont forget to put one or two in your luggage

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  • DesertRat's Profile Photo

    Clothing & Electricity Considerations

    by DesertRat Updated Jan 20, 2003

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you’re coming at any time between mid-March and mid-October, pack the lightest, coolest items you have in your wardrobe. Bring cottons, linens, or tropical weight wools. Rid your bag of all synthetics because they are simply too hot, and they don’t breathe. Colors are important, too: the lighter the better.

    As I mentioned in my dress advisory in the Warnings category, shorts are not the kind of thing one should wear. However, I have a partial answer to this problem: I often wear “convertible” trousers, which allow me to zip the lower legs on and off. This allows me to drive in shorts while appearing properly clothed when I get out of the car. These are highly recommended.

    If you’re in the region on business, jackets and ties are often required. Again, let the climate be your guide, and opt for linen, which not only looks good, but is suitably cool.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Virtually anything imaginable is availabe in Dubai, though it would be advisable to bring your supply of prescription drugs along.

    Photo Equipment: Make sure you have some small packets of silica gel strewn around inside your gadget bag to counteract the horrific humidity that occurs during the summer.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Women would be best served by packing a one-piece swim suit. Bikinis are out except on private beaches.

    Miscellaneous: Electricity considerations
    If you’re coming from Continental Europe, Australia/New Zealand, or North America, remember that the voltage here is 240 and that they use the large, three-pole UK-style plugs. Most large hotels will have at least one outlet that permits the use of the smaller European or N. American plugs, but 120 volt power supply is still somewhat unusual. If your hair-dryer, shaver, or whatever uses the lower voltage, don’t plug it in without a transformer! If you do, it fries. That said, Dubai is one of the best places around to buy replacements…

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  • bzh's Profile Photo

    Sun block, sunglasses and jumper

    by bzh Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Luggage and bags: You usual suitcase.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Comfortable, light shoes.
    Light trousers and long sleeved shirts.
    A light suit, light colour.
    A jumper to put inside: coming from the 50 celsius outside into an air-conditioned building is a very good way to catch a cold.
    Sunglasses are essential.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Have the usual stuff in case you catch a cold, thanks to the air-conditioning.
    Some strong sun block.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel

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  • bzh's Profile Photo

    Beware of the sun

    by bzh Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Luggage and bags: A small light bag in which you can carry a bottle of water. You will need it even if you don't go to the desert.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Light clothes. Prefer long sleeved shirts and long light trousers to avoid painful sunburns and to respect the local Muslim customs.
    Have a jumper to put inside, in air-conditioned buildings.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sun block is necessary.
    Standard medicine in case you catch a cold thanks to the air-conditioning.

    Photo Equipment: UV filters for all lenses. The light can be extremely strong and your pictures can suffer from it.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The usual beach gear if you are going in winter. If going in summer, don't bother, it will be too hot to even think of lying on the beach or on the poolside.

    Photo overexposed because of strong light
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel

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  • Leave space in your suitcase for all your shopping

    by helen2001 Updated Jan 12, 2005

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    Luggage and bags: You can buy everything you need and will probably want in Dubai. So if you know that you cannot resist the shopping leave some space in your case or buy another in Dubai.

    Miscellaneous: If you are staying at one of the beach resort hotels you will not need to bring your own beach towels. Always supplied for you

    The voltage in Dubai is 220v and in most hotels you will find the same 3pin sockets that we have in the uk. So you can bring your own hairdryer etc without need for the convertor sockets.

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  • zuyao's Profile Photo

    Things to bring...

    by zuyao Written Apr 11, 2007

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear something light but bring a jacket in winter (December – February). A pair of sunglasses and a cap would also be good as the sun can be very strong. Bring a pair of nice walking shoes – you’ll need them to explore the shopping districts of Deira and the heritage areas along the creek.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring lots of water anytime. In winter, you’ll need it because the dry weather will take its toll on you. In the summer – need I say more? Bring along some lip balm as lips tend to crack because of the dry weather. Bring some skin moisturizer too (but you won’t need this much in the summer months!)

    Photo Equipment: Bring a camera and snap it all the way. However avoid using it during a sandstorm or a dusty day, because sand may get trapped in the lense!

    Miscellaneous: Bring lots of the local currency – cost of living is high. Taxi and food are expensive and you’ll need them a lot when you are here!

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  • manja13's Profile Photo

    Winter + Summertime

    by manja13 Updated Apr 3, 2005

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    Luggage and bags: Whatever you feel most comfortable with.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Winter
    Please bring a sweater or jacket. It gets very cold in the evening. Sometimes even during the day.

    Loose clothing. Very hot during Summer. If you wanna avoid stares, esp. the ladies, do wear 'proper' clothing. Try not to show off your belly button that kinda stuff. Eyes will look at you from top to bottom!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Remember your Suntan lotion if you wanna bake down at Jumeirah Beach!!!

    Related to:
    • School Holidays

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  • Packing List for Dubai

    by najamrulz Updated Apr 11, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: Trolley bags and backpacks are recommened.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Suggested items are cotton clothes, shorts, jumpers, good walking shoes, sandals, sneakers and umbrellas. Formal clothes and black shoes are recommended for business meetings. Formal dress is also required for entry at many night clubs.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring sunscreen, deodorants and medicines with you or otherwise you may directly buy them in Dubai.

    Photo Equipment: Digital cameras, still cameras, camera films and movie cameras are a must.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Shorts, t-shirts and sandals are suggested for beach activities.

    Miscellaneous: Good quality sun glasses are a must.

    Cotton T-shirts
    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

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