18 things you should know before going to Dubai

When I first thought of Dubai I thought heat, culture and expense. You hear rumours about what it’s like but until you experience it for yourself you can never be so sure. That’s why I jumped at the chance to go and stay with a mate for the week who’s been living out there since we graduated uni two years ago. I can honestly say now it’s been my favourite holiday ever, Dubai is like seriously ridiculous, but here’s a few things I would’ve liked a heads up about.

1. Free drinks on the plane

This maybe common knowledge as everyone I know seemed to know this bar me but yes free bevs on Emirates flights. They only come round with the trolley twice though so you have to actually get off your ass to make the most of it but it’s so worth it to get you through an 8 hour flight, even if it is at 9am.

2. The airport is rather large so stick with your group

As one of the world’s busiest international airports you wouldn’t expect anything less. However, when we arrived we unknowingly ended up joining the queue for a security check for a flight to Beijing. After refusing to take out my pin curls because they thought my clips were triggering the scanner so I was taken into the searching room, my mate getting her full bag swabbed and actually making it through security, we realised the huge error we’d made and had to be escorted to the train, yes a train to take us to luggage. We weren’t the only ones that made this mistake either. Maybe the eight hours worth of drinks had something to do with it but I’m not one to point fingers.

3. Taxi drivers don’t know where they’re going

Not that you do either but be prepared to be asked. It might be best to try and map out your journey beforehand because everywhere starts to look the same.

4. Drivers are fearless

I believe we call it tailgating. Two chevrons apart doesn’t exist nor do indicators. Well they do but I don’t think anyone knows how to use them. Right of way is ultimately determined by who has the biggest car. My mate explained they have to drive like this because drivers assume any gap no matter how small is an invitation into your lane. As the use of indicators is non-existent, it’s basically a game of chicken on the road. Oh and their seven lane roads will have you on edge.

5. ‘Yalla habibi’

It basically means hurry up my love. You’ll become fluent in Yalla Habibi.

6. It’s not as strict as you’d think

We bombarded my mate with questions before we went like: do we need to cover up all the time, can you drink on the beach, will we get arrested for necking in public, you know the usual questions. 9/10 times we were being dramatic apparently. As long as you didn’t cross the indecent exposure line you’re fine. In ‘Old Dubai’ you need to be a little more careful and respectful.

7. It really is 80% expats

The actual number of emiratis in Dubai is very small and it’s ridiculous how many scousers you meet. It’s like we’re drawn to each other.

8. Everyone either works for Emirates, in real estate or finance

We got asked several times a day if we were cabin crew so we started to say yes in the end. Cabin crew stick together.

9. The nightlife is good 7 days a week

Fancy going on a 7 day bender? No problem. Seriously it’s like no one has a job to go to. Obviously it’s full of tourists as well but we were meeting expats in beach clubs in the middle of the day like wtf. It’s common to spend all day in a beach club, whip home for a quick change and a snack then head out to a club. The only thing I would say they’re missing is an after hours area with most places shutting around 3am. They may have a state of the art outdoor club but they don’t have a Gbar.

10. Tuesday is ladies night = Girls drink for free

About time we had a recurring weekly day dedicated to us. Tuesday is the new Saturday over there and the majority of clubs abide by this rule so just check before you head out. Check out Dubai Night or The Entertainer which also has an app.

11. It not as expensive as people think, for girls anyway

I thought it was going to cost me a fortune but it turns out ladies night isn’t just a Tuesday. It’s not uncommon for a stranger to come up to you and ask where you’re going tonight. When I said people hang out at the beach club all day a lot of them are club promoters and dj’s who need recruits (fabulous females) to fill their tables with which they also fill with free ale. Bonus! Don’t get me wrong, when you actually have to pay for things it’s quite expensive. Sorry lads you’ll need to get your wallets or man bags out.

12. Brunch is a small fortune but so worth it

On Friday’s we brunch! Free flowing ale and food for a couple of hours is the best way to start your day and you can do it dressed up to the nines. We ended up ditching the Atlantis brunch which is rather classy with gorgeous for the CandyPants Halloween special which we heard was wild but the food not so much. But then again, a liquid breakfast was more our style.

13. Dubai is as hot as you’d expect

Dubai is one the hottest holiday destinations in the world with June-October temperatures reaching 40 degrees+. Even in October towards the end of the season the average temperature was 35, not ideal when your brunch is outdoors and you have a curly blow and full contour.

14. But freezing indoors

Be prepared to go from one extreme to the other. Unless you’re going to a beach club or somewhere outdoor, the chances are you’re going from an airconed building to an airconed car into another airconed building.

15. Order a ‘local still water’

If you’re dining out and fancy some H2O, make sure you ask for a local still water otherwise they’ll give you one of their most expensive bottles which is three times the price. Unless you’re a water with loads of money then you won’t care about having say, the Morrison’s own version instead of the Smart Water.

16. Book in advance

If you’re looking to do some tourist activities like the Burj Khalifa and the water park, which I’d highly recommend by the way, then definitely plan ahead. We went to the Atlantis water park which I’d advise people to book online and bring your own towels to save money as it’s rather expensive.

17. Crime is basically non-existent

With the city having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, you won’t think twice about leaving your belongings and on the beach and going for a dip in the sea. Not like in ibiza when we were mugged and outrun by a child. A CHILD!

18. You’ll never look at Liverpool or any other city the same again

Buildings will seem small, colours will look dull, day drinking in beer gardens won’t come close to the sunny, free-flowing alcohol filled beach clubs. Don’t get me wrong I love Liverpool, but post-Dubai you’ll stop being amazed by pretty much everything.

Natalie is the Commissioning Editor and a Features Writer for The Daily Struggle. She’s also a full time digital marketer, soon to be travel blogger as she prepares to set off around South East Asia and Australia.

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