Planning a vacation in Dubai

Recently we spent a one week of vacation in Dubai. After months of meticulous planning and execution everything was pulled off very nicely. Hence I thought may be its a good idea to pen down my research and experiences in a series of posts. This should serve the readers to start with a basis and build respective itineraries.

This is the first part of the series which is about planning a vacation and travel to Dubai.

Dubai is one of the greatest modern cities. It is a happening place and everyone should find something of interest and chill out. Especially if you are coming from a region where the Sun is not a frequent visitor, this is the place to be.

First question that one should ask is, when is the right time of the year to visit Dubai? Before I write something about it, please bear in mind that Dubai is hot & humid (primarily due to proximity of desert and sea).  However months between November – February are cool enough to bear the scorching Sun. Many may find December as a good time as well but keep in mind typically it is one of the busiest times to visit owing to Dubai festival.

Having said that unless you have plans to roam on streets, weather isn’t really a big challenge. During our vacation we always found ourselves in air-conditioned areas. Right from the hotel, to buses, taxis or a metro (yes even metro stations and bus stops) are air-conditioned. The overhead bridges too have air-conditioning system. Isn’t that amazing!!

The second thing to decide is which airline should one choose? Dubai airport is one of the largest hubs as it finds itself strategically located in the middle of east-west, north-south air traffic – hence many airlines fly to Dubai. Of course one should look of cheaper options but I found Emirates, the national carrier to Dubai, good enough with great service, superb food, sufficient leg space and not to forget awesome entertainment system.

Very important, before you fly to Dubai, you must also check out for the Visa requirements. Visitors from certain countries are allowed Visa on arrival where as for others pre-arranged Visa is necessary. Check for more details here, here and here. Also there is an exception for Indian citizens in possession of a valid US visa (green card or student visa) can apply for 14-day visa on arrival at the airport.

If you book a ticket via Emirates and you need a pre-arranged Visa, airline helps you to get one. No need to visit the consulate. The application process very seamless. The window for the same opens couple of months before and one can go via “Manage your booking” on Emirates website for the application process. As mentioned the link for visa appears couple of months before travel. You are redirected to VFS website (partner who manages Visa process), which also pulls out necessary information and helps you create an account. Later on you need to upload certain documents (like scanned copies of passport, photo, visa if living in a country other than mentioned in passport etc.) and fill in the requisite details. Pay the amount via Credit/Debit Card and that’s it you’re ready to go 😊.

Last but not the least,  the question that every one would like to know about is how many days should one spend in Dubai.

Well it depends! How much can you afford, what would you like do, how many days do you have etc.

When I started to plan for Dubai, I thought a 2 day stop over should be alright! Later on as I started to talk to people and also do my research, I realized that may be I should spend a couple more. After few days, 4 days seemed to be insufficient as well and I raised the bar by 2 more. Hence be clear and ask yourself the questions mentioned above.

Long story short, 2 days are definitely not enough, to explore the city you need at least 4-5 days. Further if you want to explore the nearby places and/or cities like Sharjah, Abu Dhabi add 2-4 days to that.

So this was some information to start with and should give you enough food for thought.

That’s it for today, but more on Places to Visit and Where to Stay follows in the next part of the series.

Until then – Stay tuned…!!

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