Get travel cover to suit your needs ahead of your trip to the United Arab Emirates 

Dubai is located on the coastline of the UAE, and the city is known for its stunning beaches and modern architecture.

Holidaymakers can visit various shopping complexes that offer luxury items for fans of fashion, electronics and jewellery, while there are also museums, theme parks and impressive structures to explore.

Dubai’s tourism department said that the city had 15.92 million visitors during 2018, including 1.2 million travellers from the UK.

If you’re planning to visit the city, make sure that you plan ahead and get your travel insurance in place so that you are covered in case anything happens.

The UAE generally provides high quality healthcare, but without a valid travel insurance policy you could face unwanted medical bills for any treatment that you receive.

Our worldwide travel cover gives you protection during your trip, including medical expenses, cancellations and travel delays. You can also get free health information and GP access 24/7 with Babylon, while we also cover 150 sports and activities for free with every policy.

There is the option to get single trip cover if you are planning to go on just one holiday over the next year, while an annual multi trip policy could be the better option if you intend to go on more than one holiday over the one year period.

You can also choose to get family travel insurance when covers you all for the trip, while an annual family policy means that you can also travel separately and still be protected. this means that you children would still be insured if they travel with friends or other family members, while you would also be covered if you go on holiday on your own.

Do I need a visa and vaccinations for a trip to Dubai?

Travellers with a British passport require a visitor’s visa, which they can get for free on arrival in the UAE. This allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days, but for a fee you can extend the visa by another 30 days. It terminates automatically when you leave the UAE and you are issued a new one each time you arrive in the country.

You should travel with a valid passport that has at least 6 months remaining from the date of entry at the UAE.

The NHS advises that ideally you should see your GP before travelling if you have any health concerns before your trip. As with any trip you should check that you have up to date vaccines and boosters for MMR, tetanus and the flu.

Other vaccines that you might want to consider are diphtheria and hepatitis A, but you can consult your health practitioner to find out what is best for you. The Travel Health Pro website includes up-to-date health advice and recommendations from the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

Insect bites can carry various diseases in Western Asia, such as Rift Valley fever and leishmaniasis, so travellers are advised to take precautions to try to avoid insect or tick bites.

In the middle east, the respiratory syndrome coronavirus can be transmitted through contact with infected camels, and it can lead to fevers and coughs. It is advised to ensure you carry out cautious health measures, like washing hands regularly when visiting areas with camels or camel products.

Dubai river and skyscraper buildings at night

Dubai travel advice and laws to be aware of

Travellers should remember that UAE is a Muslim country, and there are several laws and regulations that are different to the UK. In some cases, breaking these laws can lead to serious penalties.

Visitors to the country can get a temporary liquor licence for a maximum of one month if they want to drink alcohol in licensed venues. You can get this from one of the two official liquor distributers, and you will need to confirm you understand the rules and regulations. If you are caught drinking or under the influence on public streets, then you could be arrested.

Swearing, rude gestures and kissing in public can also lead to you being arrested, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and in some instances, you could be deported. Visitors are also advised to dress modestly during their visit.

It is also illegal to import pork products or pornography, while there are extreme punishments for drug related offences. Drug trafficking can result in the death penalty, while possession can lead to a prison sentence.

Sex outside of marriage is also illegal, and you are not allowed to share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex who you are not married to or who you are not closely related to. This rule isn’t enforced by every hotel, so it is worth checking before booking your stay. LGBTQ+ rights are suppressed in the United Arab Emirates - same-sex marriage is not recognised and homosexuality is illegal. The UAE is generally quite tolerant and respects privacy, but public affection or behaviour that is deemed to cause offence could attract police attention, and punishments have included prison, floggings and death.

  Currency  Main languages Time Zone High Season Low Season Population
Fast Facts UAE Dirham Arabic/English GMT+4 Nov-Apr Jun-Aug Approx. 3.1 million

When it comes to driving in the country, you can normally use your UK driving licence when you use a rented car. There is a high rate of traffic accidents compared to the UK, as the World Health Organisation reports that you are more likely to be killed on the roads, with 18.1 of every 100,000 people killed in road traffic accidents compared to 3.1 in the UK.

If you are travelling as a pedestrian, you should only cross roads with pedestrian crossings, otherwise you could face prosecution.

When you are travelling around the city you will be keen to take pictures of your holiday, but you should also avoid taking photos of strangers without their permission, unless you’re in a busy tourist location. When it comes to tipping, it isn’t usually expected, and most restaurants will automatically add a service charge to you bill.

It typically takes around seven hours to fly from London to Dubai, and the time zone for Dubai is GMT +4, which means that it is four hours ahead of the UK. The currency is the dirham, which is often abbreviated to AED or Dhs.

An elevated view of The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel on the beach in Dubai

What is the weather like in Dubai?

Dubai is often busiest between December and February, as this is when tourism peaks and you are likely to experience long waiting times and bigger crowds. However, many people often avoid visiting during July and August when the country can be at its hottest, with temperatures above 40 degrees considered normal during this time of year.

It usually stays warm throughout the year and rainfall in Dubai is quite rare, but your best chance of experiencing rain is during the winter months. When it does rain in the city it can be quite heavy, but it usually doesn’t last very long.

Temperatures peak in July and August, and can reach as high as 40 degrees, while the coolest temperatures are between November and March, with temperatures still ranging from 20-25 degrees.

How to stay safe in the UAE

The UAE is generally a safe place to visit according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with many visits from British tourists being trouble-free. This includes low crime rates, with a United Nations report showing a lower homicide rate compared to the UK. Personal attacks are also rare, but they can still happen. Tourists are advised to take usual precautions as with any holiday, keeping their valuable belongings close by and only use licensed taxis and public transport.

For sexual assault cases, UAE law often requires the victim to demonstrate proof that it wasn’t consensual. If it is then found to be consensual then both parties could be prosecuted for sex outside of marriage.

When it comes to spending time on one of Dubai’s stunning beaches, you should be vigilant of rip currents. These currents can be difficult to get out of and are potentially life threatening, especially if there are no lifeguards around. You should look out for red flags along the coastline that warn of potential dangers, and you should only look to swim at approved beaches.

Terrorist attacks do happen in the UAE and threats have been made towards the Gulf region. UK Counter Terrorism Policing has provided advice for travellers who find themselves part of a terrorist incident. Tourists are advised to stay aware of potential dangers, particularly when travelling through busy public areas.

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Terms and conditions apply:

If you purchase travel insurance online you will receive a 10% discount off the price of standard cover.

What to do on holiday in Dubai

Dubai skyscrapers

Shopping is a popular reason for many people to travel to Dubai, and the city has several complexes that offer the chance to browse and buy luxury goods.

The Dubai Mall is one of the largest and busiest options, and it is the largest in the world in terms of the amount of land that it covered. As well as the many shops, there are also plenty of entertainment options, including an aquarium, an ice rink a cinema and a VR park. Shoppers also have a broad choice of restaurants and fast food places to enjoy, while plenty of hotels are situated nearby.

If you’re particularly keen to get the most out of your shopping experience, the Dubai Shopping Festival takes place each year in January, and you can often get discounts as high as 75% on various items.

If you are looking to enjoy a more traditional shopping experience, you can visit one of the souks that can be found at Dubai Creek. These retailers offer various jewellery and fabrics to suit all tastes.

One of the most well-known landmarks in Dubai is the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The sail-shaped building is a luxury hotel that is on a small island along the main coastline. It is not open to guests, but you can reserve a booking for dinner or afternoon tea if you don’t mind spending a bit more money on the experience. You can also enjoy a good view of the hotel when visiting the nearby beach.

The Burj Khalifa is another impressive structure, and it has been the tallest building in the world since construction was completed in 2009. In total it is 828m high and visitors can book tickets to go to the top of the structure to get amazing views of the city.

If you are looking to look at a tourist spot away from the large structures, the Miracle Garden provides the world’s largest floral installation, with various colourful designs to explore. The garden was first launched in 2013 and it currently has 150 million flowers that are arranged to create stunning designs and arches.

There are also plenty of museums, parks, resorts and water parks to explore. This includes various theme parks, including Legoland, Laguna Waterpark, Motiongate Dubai, and the Riverland waterside district.

Tourists can also visit the three Palm Islands – Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Deira Island. They are artificial islands that were first built in 2001, and work is still ongoing for two of them. They are designed in the shape of palm trees, and they include leisure centres and various forms of entertainment for tourists.

Interesting facts about Dubai

  • Dubai’s official language is Arabic, but English is one of the most widely spoken.
  • Gold is a popular luxury item, and there is even an ATM that dispenses gold bars.
  • An estimated 92% of people living in the UAE are believed to be under the age of 55.
  • Weekends in Dubai take place on Friday and Saturday each week, instead of Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Dubai Metro Red Line is the longest driverless metro line in the world, covering 52.1 km.
  • Camel racing is a popular sport in Dubai and in recent years they have used robot jockeys.
GET A QUOTE AND SAVE 10% NOW

Terms and conditions apply:

If you purchase travel insurance online you will receive a 10% discount off the price of standard cover.

Your Single Trip Travel Insurance comes with a number of benefits. These include:
  • Our policy can protect you from 1-365 days. Even if you only plan on having one trip, you can let your holiday last even longer.
  • Cover for up to £15 million provided for medical expenses. Including emergency medical treatment, repatriation and the services of a medical assistance company
  • Insurance may be available if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Let us know if you or any other insured parties require additional cover, and we will do our best to accommodate.
  • We provide cover for up to 150 sports and activities free of charge. Let you hair down and try your hand at some of the sports and activities which may be on offer.
  • Your baggage will be insured for up to £2500, including your valuables and delayed baggage. Should your luggage or personal belongings become delayed, lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.
  • Optional - Winter sports, ski and snowboard cover can be included. Which includes a whole lot more than just ski and snowboarding!
  • Optional - Gadget cover can be added. Add extra cover for your mobile phone, tablet or laptop with up to £1000 protection against theft, damage or loss on your trip.
  • You can be eligible for single trip insurance up to the maximum age of 85. Be free to travel the world whether you're young, or young at heart
GET A QUOTE AND SAVE 10% NOW

Terms and conditions apply:

If you purchase travel insurance online you will receive a 10% discount off the price of standard cover.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Am I covered for off piste and without a guide?

  • Why do I need a winter sports policy?

  • When should I purchase my ski policy?

  • Does my EHIC cover me for winter sports in Europe?

If you have any unanswered questions, please visit our Winter Sports FAQ’s page for more information.

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Why Columbus Direct?

  • FREE airport lounge access if your flight is delayed for more than 1 hour
  • FREE 5 days unlimited global Wi-Fi access. Including access to global SOS travel alerts
  • FREE health information and GP access 24/7 with Babylon
  • Over 150 sports and activities covered free
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  • Over 15 million customers since 1988
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