Every culture has different sets of values. As tourists, it is your responsibility to respect local customs, traditions, and ways of life. If you are traveling to Dubai solo or with others, there are a few things you should know about the place, its culture, and people. Knowing these basic things can help you avoid many uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations.
Note: Dubai ranks high in terms of safety for women and all tourists in general. It is one of the safest places on earth for women. In fact, one international survey has declared the UAE as the best place for women’s personal safety.
Here are things every woman should know before traveling to Dubai.
1. Bikinis are okay but only at beaches
As you would know, the UAE is an Islamic country and religion plays a huge role in their everyday life. For both men and women, covering up is an important issue. However, travelers can wear whatever they want on beaches and in private spaces. When in public, do not wear bikinis or other revealing clothes. If you are traveling from your hotel to a beach, consider getting a covering and take it off once you are at the beach.
2. Do not display affection in public
In the US and Europe, it is very common for people to display affection publicly. Be it kissing or hugging, few people would bat an eye. In Dubai, things are different. There is no restriction for men and women traveling together, but showing affection in public places is a strict no-no. The same rule applies to homosexual and heterosexual couples.
3. Do not drink alcohol in public
Since alcohol is forbidden in Islam, there is a strict ban on alcohol sales and consumption in Dubai. You will only find alcohol with licensed vendors. When you want to have a drink, get into a bar or club, but do not have it in public. Doing so is not only disrespectful but also illegal.
4. Cover your head when entering religious places
All mosques and religious places mandate women to cover their heads when entering. If you do not have a headscarf, you would often be offered one. However, it is a good practice to carry a light scarf with you that you can use whenever the need arises.
5. Carry contraceptives
In Dubai, it is illegal to sell the morning-after pill without a doctor’s prescription. It is also mandatory for doctors to report all pregnancies. However, condoms are freely available in pharmacies. You can consider carrying morning-after pills if you feel the need to. In case you need pregnancy-related doctor consultation, consider waiting until you get back home.
6. You cannot cross-dress in Dubai
Cross-Dressing is prohibited in Dubai. If you feel that this rule suppresses your authentic self, Dubai might not be for you. However, people do not care about what you are wearing as long as it roughly follows the gender norms. Men and women alike wear long overalls that cover their entire bodies.
As you can see, traveling in Dubai as a female is not difficult at all. All you need to do is be mindful of these few things and you will be good to go. As an additional safety measure, keep the national emergency numbers on your speed dial at all times.