As the world’s busiest airport, Dubai International (DXB) might be a sight in itself, but there’s a whole world of wonder waiting outside its doors. Whether you’re staying for a few hours or overnight, plan ahead to find out everything you need to know to make your stopover in Dubai as smooth as possible.

First off, how do I book a stopover?

Adding a break in your journey in Dubai couldn’t be simpler. If you’re flying with Emirates Airline, you can easily book a stopover in Dubai and they will take care of everything, starting with a meet and greet at the airport to 24-hour check-in, tours, excursions and more. Once you’ve purchased your flight, you’ll need to contact your local Emirates office or travel agent to make the arrangements. They will also help with visas if required.

Additionally, there are a number of local travel agents who can assist with your stopover, hassle-free. Talk to them about adding a break in your journey to Dubai and arranging your visa. To be eligible for a transit visa, travellers must have a confirmed hotel booking for the duration of their stay, as well as a confirmed flight ticket departing from Dubai, within the duration of their transit.

I’ve just arrived – can I still book?

If you’ve just arrived and want to explore Dubai before heading to your next destination, you can do that too. Travellers can apply for transit visas directly at the airport, subject to immigration approval and security clearance.

Alternatively, Emirates offers special ‘Stopovers on Arrival’ packages that are on sale exclusively at the ‘Hotels & Visas for Dubai’ desk at Dubai International. You’ll find it in the Arrivals area, prior to Passport Control/Immigration.

Do I need a visa to visit Dubai?

Visitors from most countries are allocated a 30-day visit visa on arrival to Dubai, which is free and stamped on your passport at immigration. Find out if you’re eligible by contacting your local travel agent or the nearest UAE Embassy.

For shorter stays, consider a stopover or a transit visa, which is available for most passport holders for a duration of 48 to 96 hours. Applications can be made easily through travel agents and airlines. Please contact your local travel agent for up-to-date information and to apply for visas in advance.

How can I get connected when I land in Dubai?

Whether you’re looking for places to visit or simply want to get in touch with your friends and family, you can log on to the internet with ease at Dubai International (DXB) or Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) thanks to the airport ‘WOW-Fi’ network, which is fast, free and convenient.

When on your stopover, don’t forget to request your complimentary SIM card at the immigration counter. Available to all Dubai tourists, these cards are preloaded with minutes and data, and can be easily topped up for the entire duration of your stay. 

How long does it take to get to and from the airport?

Dubai International is conveniently located in the centre of the city. Generally it takes anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes to get to most places in the city, depending on where you’re going. A trip to Downtown Dubai is usually around 15 minutes in a car, while Dubai Marina is around 30 minutes from the airport. Old Dubai is around 15 minutes in a taxi.

You can also hop onto the Dubai Metro directly from the airport. Trains run approximately every 10 minutes direct from Terminal 1 and 3, from 5am to midnight (please note timings vary on weekends). Fares start at AED2 and smart public transport cards known as Nol, can be purchased at the stations. Most metro stations are connected to the public bus network as well.

What are the quickest transport options?

Local taxis are the most convenient option for quick trips and are now fitted with free Wi-Fi, so you can check your flight times while on the go. You can also easily hire an Uber taxi or use the local car ride-hailing service, Careem, which offers competitive rates and comfortable vehicles.

Is it worth leaving the airport if I only have a few hours?

Yes, absolutely. As well as being in close proximity to Old Dubai, the city’s most historic area, the airport is only a 15-minute drive to some of the city’s top attractions, including the Burj KhalifaThe Dubai Mall and Dubai Canal, making a two-hour round trip entirely achievable (and not overly expensive).

If I’m in town overnight, where should I stay?

Located in the centre of Downtown Dubai and a stone’s throw from the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, Rove Downtown Dubai is an affordable option with a hip vibe. As well as being central, it’s a good place to explore the city on foot, with a short taxi ride taking you to the historic districts of Dubai or the upmarket gallery and restaurant precinct, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

What should I wear?

The UAE is a Muslim country and it’s advised to dress modestly and wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders, especially when visiting the malls and religious and cultural sites. Layers are a good option and lightweight fabrics are essential in summer. If you’re spending time outdoors, a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must.

What can I do with my luggage?

Those planning a short stopover can store their bags in the ‘left luggage’ facilities at Terminal 1 or 3. It costs from just AED35 (US$10) per bag for 12 hours, and can be used by both arriving and departing passengers.

What language do most people speak in Dubai?

English is the most widely-spoken language in Dubai, due to the melting pot of cultures that live here. It’s good to brush up on some basic Arabic phrases to get an appreciation of the culture, but taxi drivers, wait staff, shop assistants and customer service people most often speak English.

Source: Visit Dubai

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