1. Adapter / Converter
Make sure to bring along an adapter and a converter when visiting Dubai for recharging devices which require electricity (phone charger, laptops, hair styling tools etc). The adapter refers to the shape of the plug, whereas the converter refers to the voltage of the current.
The wall sockets in most Dubai hotels are usually European style 2 pin wall sockets. So if you're from Europe, you're all set.
Everyone else will need to bring along an adapter. If you forget to do so, don't fret! Hotels here usually carry a supply of extras for guests to either borrow or rent.
Converters: if your device has a different voltage than Dubai’s which is 220/240V - 50Hz, then you’ll definitely need a good converter or if you have a dual-voltage device, make sure to flip the voltage switch. This is crucial if you want to avoid a potentially explosive mistake.
2. Extension Cord
Many hotels in Dubai (and around the world) have few and inconveniently located electrical outlets far away from the beds. Guests who may wish to plug in their laptops or phones from the comfort of their beds, will only be able to do so with an extension cord! So although this may take up some luggage real estate, investing in an extension cord will allow you to charge multiple devices comfortably. Also, by using your adapter to plug your extension cord into the wall, you can charge or utilize all of your devices simultaneously.
3. Local SIM - Etisalat Visitor Line
Using your mobile phone internationally to make roaming calls and/or use data can be incredibly expensive. Many travelers visiting Dubai may be surprised to discover that free WIFI is not easily available in hotels, malls and restaurants. I’ve also witnessed many travelers paying extortionate fees to call their banks back home and solve other crises. My recommendation would be to buy an Etisalat Visitor Line upon arrival to Dubai. The ‘talk, text & surf’ package offers 40 local/int’l minutes, 40 local/int’l SMS and 700MB mobile data for just AED 100 (approx. USD 27). Subscribers also receive one free Careem taxi ride anywhere in the UAE worth AED 100 so you can cruise the Dubai streets for free (just the one-way!). Better yet, Etisalat has outlets as soon as you arrive in Dubai Airports so you can be online pretty much as soon as you land. For more info, please visit their website here.
4. Portable External Battery Charger
Many tourists to Dubai stay for an average of 4 days and often find their schedules to be jampacked with fantastic activities from tours (ehm) to safaris and waterparks. So it’s inevitable that phone batteries will run low, particularly after snapping so many pictures around the city. Also, the city sights are well spread out, so it may be difficult to return to your hotel just for a recharge. I would definitely recommend carrying around a light portable charger to aid with some extra juice to see you through the rest of the day. This is particularly important for guests who have scheduled activities and may hear from the service providers regarding any updates.
5. Taxi App - Careem
If you're visiting Dubai, download Careem from your phone app store, to ensure hassle-free rides throughout the city. The online app will allow you to make bookings for immediate pick-ups or pre-scheduled bookings. Ordering the private chauffeur driven car is a breeze, and provides an estimated fare with real-time information on the driver and car assigned. Better yet, they're offering you a 20% discount off of your first 3 rides*, by entering promo code 'wanderwithcareem' when you book. So get Careem-ing! Find out more here.
6. GorillaPod Tripod
As a visitor to Dubai, you’re very likely to be pulling out your smart phone or photography gear often to shoot the city’s incredible sights and skylines. So in order to capture those moments without having to ask passer-bys for help, I’d highly recommend packing a GorillaPod tripod. The flexible tripod easily attaches your device to objects so you can shoot from previously unimaginable angles, and is also easily portable. Also, some sights such as the Burj Khalifa only allow tripods in small sizes so the GorillaPod certainly qualifies and can be easily carried in your bag.
7. Hair Styling Tools
I think many will agree that hotel blow dryers are not very effective, particularly for those who have long or thick hair. While carrying a dryer or curling iron might sound like a nuisance and add unnecessary luggage weight, it is definitely worthwhile for those who wish to style their hair. To ensure your hair styling tools will work in Dubai, I’d recommend only dual-voltage devices, which may have a switch to flip first, and an adapter that accommodates our wall plugs. An alternative would be to invest in travel-size tools that you can grab from the Dubai airport on arrival or one of the supermarket chains such as Carrefour.
Hi! I'm Nada. A Dubai bred expat & founder of Wander With, a tour guide company in Dubai. I want to show you just why, I and many others who live here, love this city.