Preparing and Packing for Dubai


dubai getaway

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The Palace Downtown Address Hotel

It’s less than 2 weeks until I fly off to Dubai thanks to Dubai Tourism with 21 other Nuffnang Bloggerati bloggers and I’m getting more excited every day.  We have just been given some details of a few of the activities that we are doing, and where we will be staying, while in Dubai. So it has got me thinking about what to pack for each element of my adventure.

Now, I’ve been doing some research on the dress code for Dubai. As with a large Muslim population, being covered up from shoulders to knees is expected and is also respectful of the culture, which is not much different from visiting the Vatican in Italy.  And the weather is hot, but not stinking hot, ranging from 26C – 33C in December, which is lovely for a summer adventure.

I’m going to be staying at The Palace Downtown Hotel, which looks amazing. I mean, check out this pool!  I’m definitely taking my swimsuit and a maxi dress for some poolside glam!

Poolside Glam


The hotel is located next to the souk markets close to The Dubai Mall, Downtown.  My research also shows that wearing a maxi dress or long pants to the souk markets is a good idea, though it’s fine to wear a knee length dress or skirt inside the shopping malls.  One tip to remember is that everything inside is air conditioned heavily, so I will need to take a wrap or cardigan to wear inside.  And as spaghetti straps don’t cover the shoulders, I’ll make sure that I take my shrug cardigans to cover them up.

Shopping in Dubai

Of course, there will be shopping at The Dubai Mall.  Now, when shopping I like to look stylish, but my outfit also has to be completely functional and appropriate, so I am comfortable. I also want the ease of being able to get in and out of my clothes in a change room without what I’m wearing becoming a burden, which can so quickly kill a shopping trip. I like to always wear a two piece outfit, rather than a dress (even though that may be easier to take off), because when you’re trying on a top, if you aren’t wearing some sort of bottom (pant/skirt) then it’s harder to assess what you have on, or you have to try and find a bottom to try on with it.

Necklace that you can put your fitbit in


The Dubai Mall is not just a regular shopping mall, I’ll also be going to the underwater zoo and aquarium. It sounds like there will be lots of walking, which means that, of course, my shoes must be comfortable.  As one of my clients told me the other day (who lived in Dubai for a couple of years), The Dubai Mall isn’t just a place to shop, it’s also a place to do other activities, meet up for meals and see the stunning views when you travel the high speed elevator to the top of the Burj Khalifa to the 360-degree viewing deck on Level 124 of the world’s tallest tower.


Then there are the Dubai Fountains, which can shoot jets of water as high as a 50-storey building. Performances of the fountains are set to music and perform multiple times per day (these are no ordinary fountains!).  They do daytime and night time shows, and I know I’m going to want to see both.

Desert Safari


One of our outdoor activities I’m really excited about is a Sundowner Desert Safari which will require practical clothing (for the camel riding and all that sand), but then we get a lovely dinner under the stars as well.  I’m going to be wearing some really light, long, cotton trousers with a tee.


Plus we’ll be eating all sorts of delicious local food, from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to fabulous restaurants in our amazing hotels.  So I need some clothes that I can dress up or down to suit the occasion.  Of course, I’ll be bringing some accessories to help me do this, as they can easily take an outfit from day to night.

Evenings in Dubai

So you can see I’ve started planning my packing and I can’t wait to share with you my adventures in Dubai!

Give me your tips for what to wear in Dubai and where I should go!

dubai getaway

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  • Hi Imogen, we spent one day in Dubai a few years back, it was really something to see! I am not a great fan of huge buildings (of which there are plenty in Dubai) and found the dancing fountains the most entrancing They even seem to dance in a belly dancing style. Have a great time.

  • Dear Imogene,

    The research has proven SO true. Your wardrobe choices are going to be respectful as well as good for our current weather. Was just at 30 today but gets really comfortable at night, even a little breezy/chilly in desert locations at times. The wrap/cardy plan will be good for all of those over air-conditioned places that are too common here.
    Your trip sounds like good fun and The Palace downtown is a great spot to be in the middle of it all. Check out their cozy little wine bar that juts out into the fountain area if you get time.


  • Hi Imogen, your packing ideas look lovely and very appropriate. I particularly love your shrugs and would like to know where you got them if possible!

    We travelled to Sri Lanka in July this year and these are my top travel tips for a hot, potentially rainy, and religious country.

    Pashmina(for wearing on the plane and in air-conditioning if you don’t have shrugs)
    Sweat towel microfibre Kathmandu – tiny face towel in a bag if it will be rainy.
    Waterproof sandals – Keen or Teva – you can wear them all day for sightseeing and they can get wet
    Blow-up lumbar support for my sway back for on the plane.
    Hedgren travel handbag
    And my best tip – plastic zip packing bags with mesh on one side – as we were moving hotels I put all my tops in one, blouses in another, etc and just had to throw them from the case to the drawers and vice versa when we were packing up. Brilliant.

    Hope you have a good time. Xx

  • Hi Imogen,

    Your choices look really nice and it is up to you how much you want to conform with Muslim guidelines for modest attire. However conforming means not only covering neck-to-knee with clothes which do not show the outline of the body but also covering all of the arm. For example a loose caftan top with long sleeves which is knee length would be conforming and wearing skinny pants with this would be fine. Of course hair should also be covered.
    In Dubai nobody is going to bother too much with what foreigners wear but you do tend to feel more comfortable in looser, covered up clothing outside a hotel area and you get more respect from the people you interact with.
    Best buy: great jewellery.
    Bon voyage.

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