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.

A city where you can visit the desert, hit the beach and ski on the same trip.

1. Burj Khalifa

Dubai is known for ostentatious lifestyle include setting records for the worlds largest and tallest records. Burj Khalif is the worlds tallest building in the world, standing at 2,722 feet. To get to the top, you take the worlds fastest elevator. Access is from the Dubai Mall, and you visit the 134 floor for about $60, or 160th floor for about $100. Tip: Grab a drink at At.mosphere, an upscale restaurant on the 122nd floor. There is no admission and you can grab a drink.



2. Dubai Mall

A shopping paradise where you can find LITERALLY every store you could ever imagine. Check out a show at the Dancing Fountains. They run every 30 minutes and best of all – it’s free! Tip: grab a bite to eat or a drink at a restaurant overlooking the fountain and Burj Khalifa. I love Mango Tree, incredible thai food with a terrace with front row views.


3. Souk Al Bahar

Across from the Dubai Fountain and the Dubai mall. It’s an arabic style shopping mall with antique, carpet and other miscellaneous stores. I got my henna done in one of the stores for about $60.

4. Indoor Skiing at Ski Dubai

The word’s first indoor ski resort which is over 240,000 square feet inside the Mall of Emirates. There are 5 slopes with varying difficulty and its kept at a brisk 30 degrees. If you didn’t pack your ski gear, there are rentals of snow boots, jackets, pants and helmets are available. Snow passes start at $70.


5. Zip Line through Downtown Dubai 

An adventurous way to catch breathtaking views of Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai. Buy you tickets ($165) in the Dubai Mall at the ticket counter, next to Social House.



6. Dubai Miracle Garden

Experience Dubai in full bloom at the world’s largest flower garden. Tip: Go during the coolest part of the day, I went in the middle of the day and it was very hot. There are also cafes and places to get water, juice and ice-cream. Admission is $8, and it’s about 15 minutes from Downtown Dubai.



7. Desert Safari

I highly recommend Platinum Heritage Tours to experience the depths of the Dubai Desert. There are plenty of companies who offer tours throughout the desert, but I’ve heard some horror stories on unprofessionalism and an overall low quality experience. Platinum Heritage Tours is extremely professional with the best local experience, it’s priced a bit higher than other companies, but trust me, it’s worth it.. Plenty of packages and services to choose from, from Camel Safari to Hot Air Balloons.



8. Rooftop Bars

Drinks and a view, look no further. Head to Level 43 Sky Lounge, Uptown Bar, Story or Rooftop Dubai.



9. Dubai Marina

A man-made canal city which is built along a 2 mile stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline. If you’re sick of shopping – hire a Byky bicycle from the automated stations and explore the entire perimeter of the Marina in a fraction of the time it would take you by foot.

10. Soak up the sun at Kite Beach

A beach with a vista of the Burj A la Rab (the world’s only 7-star hotel). Whether you agree or not, it is Dubai’s most photographed and iconic buildings. You can get the best picture of it on the beach. Tip: Grab a drink at the hotel opposite of Jumeirah Beach hotel and sit on the terrace for an A+ photo opp. Grab a bite to eat at La Ola Beach Restaurant or Operation Falafel.


11. Party + sunbathe at a Beach Club 

Unlike any place you’ve ever experienced – Dive deeper into Dubai at Zero Gravity, Fairmont Palm or Westin Mina Siyah.


(Fairmont Palm)


(Barasti – Westin Mina Siyah)

12. Friday Brunch

Fridays are the start of the weekend in the Middle East. Brunching is expats favorite activity. Most brunches are buffets which are opulent affairs, with unlimited bubbly/liquor and tasty food. All of these brunches are in hotels or 5 star restaurants, the only places to legally hold liquor licenses. Some of the best in the city are at: China Grill, Bubbalicious and Nobu. For a budget option, head to the Hive at Warehouse in Le Meridien Dubai.



 To the Wynwood to the walls – here are 6 must-visit spots during your day in Miami’s Art District.

1. Panther Coffee

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2. The Salty Doughnut

13754696_10209946136267147_5664675039670583053_n3. Wynwyood Walls 





4. Outside of the walls




5. Coyo Taco



6. Wynwood Brewery


Here are the beaches in Thailand I highly recommend visiting, from my beachy heart to yours:


1. Ko Phi Phi Island

Only accessible by long boat from Ko Phi Phi, these views are worth a stop on your beach expedition.



2. Railay Beach

Railay (a.k.a. Rai Leh) is a small peninsula between the cities of Krabi and Ao Nang. It is accessible only by boat due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access.



3. Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach is on the island of Koh Tao. This beautiful beach spot is known for scuba diving. Ko Tao is less developed than neighboring islands Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan, meaning the beaches are authentically and naturally beautiful. And Sairee Beach hands down has the best sunsets in the world. If you’re looking for an amazing diving school, check out Big Blue Diving.


Sairee Beach

4. Koh Nangyuan

This beach connects 3 islands together – the only place like it in the world.



5. Maya Bay

Maya bay became a must go beach stop after The Beach (starring the young and dreamy Leonardo DiCaprio) was filmed there. Tip: Go on Maya Bay Sleepaboard to spend the unforgettable night on the island.