Travel tips: United Arab Emirates

Heading away from home? We’ve gathered some tips to make sure your trip is the smoothest it can be.

About United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE; Arabic: الإمارات العربية المتحدة‎ al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabīyyah al-Muttaḥidah), sometimes simply called the Emirates (Arabic: الإمارات‎ al-ʾImārāt), is a country in Western Asia at the northeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south and west, as well as sharing maritime borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the north. The sovereign constitutional monarchy is a federation of seven emirates consisting of Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. 

Using your debit and credit card

Do I need cash in United Arab Emirates, or can I use my card everywhere?

ATMs are widely available. Cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants. Apple Pay is accepted almost everywhere!

What currency do they use here?

The currency here is Dirham. The symbol is Dhs or AED.

Which ATM’s can I use for free?

Free withdrawals at these ATMs.

  • Union National Bank

If I want cash, how much should I take out of an ATM?

AED 150 should be enough for a few days, since you can use your card for nearly everything.

Should I choose local currency or Euros when paying?

If you’re asked to choose between local currency and Euros, always choose local currency.

Staying connected

Can I roam, or should I get a local SIM?

Most EU mobile plans will charge you for roaming in UAE.

Wifi is readily available in the UAE, especially in coffee shops.

If you want to get a local SIM card, you can learn about your options here.

Useful things to know

How does tipping work?

Tipping is down to personal preference. Not compulsory at all.

How much does a 0.5L beer cost?

€ 10,00

How much does an average meal cost?

€ 6,00

What’s the emergency number?


What type of plug do they use?

This one! It’s the standard British plug.

What side of the road do they drive on?

They drive on the right side of the road here.

How do I navigate my way around?

Google and Apple Maps both work well here.

Otherwise, we recommend Rome2Rio as the best way to find out how to get anywhere. It even tells you the cost of each option.

Any other good tips?

There is life beyond the skyscrapers! Visit between November and March for a cooler experience. Temperatures can hit +50 degrees!

If you’ve been to United Arab Emirates share your experience! The following would be really useful for others to know:

  • Which ATMs are free to use? 
  • What card should I use and where?
  • Any other info you think may be useful.

Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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