Know before you go – an American woman’s guide to Dubai

You may have heard some tourist horror stores from Dubai, but realistically you need to respect the culture just like any other foreign country you’d visit. Many people imagine that travel within Dubai is much more difficult than it is. Some key facts: you won’t be constantly harassed, you are not always in danger, and it is safe to travel alone.

After living in the Middle East for 8 months, here are some tips for my fellow American women travelers planning a trip to Dubai:

Consume alcohol responsibly – but seriously, you could get arrested for being beligerent in public. You can only drink in 5 star hotels, since those are the only places with alcohol permits.

Dress modestly – you don’t need to wear a burka(veil that covers entire face and body, you will see Arab women wearing this) by any means, but don’t strut your stuff in a crop top and high waisted shorts. More modest=less unwanted attention and more comfort.

From the airport you can take a “pink taxi” which is a women only taxi system, driven by women drivers. Otherwise, I always felt safe in Ubers (which are a majority all white Lexus’). Tip: always sit in the backseat.

Don’t bring attention to yourself (being obnoxious) or overly unfriendly – this could cause the wrong message to men. Overall, be aware of your surroundings just like you would anywhere else.

Best time to visit is end October-March. The weather is bearable and nice to be outside in. This is the peak time to visit, but if you’re looking to go in the summer be prepared for triple digit temperatures and high humidity.

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