Dubai is the perfect airline stopover for going to all kinds of wonderful places. It’s a great destination in itself, but it’s also a fantastic pitstop on route to Asia, or even Australasia. Have you ever considered taking that 4-hour layover, and stretching it out, turning it into a full-on mini holiday? A stopover in Dubai is the perfect opportunity to discover this amazing place, resting your head at a comfortable hotel and adjusting to the time zone, before you hop on another plane and head off to your final destination.
But first things first. Before we get stuck into the reasons you should take a long layover in Dubai, let’s look at a few of the logistics.
Can I leave the airport during a layover in Dubai?
The short answer is yes, but there are a few catches, and it will all depend on how long you have between flights.
For example, if you’ve just got a few hours between flights, then it’s definitely not worth leaving the airport. There are plenty of things to do in Dubai airport to keep you entertained.
On the other hand, if you have an extended period of, say, more than seven hours to play with, or if you’ve decided to make the most of your stopover in Dubai and stay for a night, or even a few nights, then leaving the airport is absolutely fine, as long as you have the right visa.
If you’re just transiting through Dubai airport, you don’t need a visa. But, travellers from the majority of countries will need one to leave the airport. Find out about your visa requirements using the Emirates tool.
If you’re booking with Emirates or Etihad, which you may well be if stopping off in Dubai, you can get your hands on a visa through the airline.
Whatever you decide on, just make sure you’ve done your research in advance to make your journey as smooth as possible.
If you’d rather have things organised for you than go it alone, you can even book a tailor-made Dubai layover tour in advance.
Now, let’s turn our attention to all the reasons why you should purposefully book yourself a layover in Dubai, and add an extra mini holiday on to the beginning or the end of the main event. Start planning what to do in Dubai on your layover now.
1. Flights via Dubai: the perfect stopover location, wherever you’re going
Jetlag can be a killer, but a cleverly planned break in one of the best stopover cities can be your salvation. Bear in mind that Dubai is only 4 hours behind Australasia and East Asia, 4 hours ahead of Europe, and 8 hours adrift of the United States. That means you can start adapting whilst you’re still en route.
On top of that, flights with a stopover in Dubai are usually fairly reasonable, especially if you’re flying with Emirates. This is their hub, so you’ll avoid premiums for multi-day layovers.
2. Stopover in Dubai, and you might just be in town for a big event
There’s always something interesting going on in Dubai, but 2020 is going to be a very big year here, so if you’re making travel plans for next year, then you’ll definitely want to bear this in mind.
Expo 2020 will run from October 2020 to April 2021, and 133 countries have confirmed their participation. If the sneak-peeks we’ve been getting are anything to go by, it’s going to be sensational.
Other than the Expo, over the balmy winter months there are all kinds of big festivals here, from film, to literature to jazz.
3. What to see in Dubai if you’re on the quest for history
If it’s a dose of history or culture you want on your layover, Dubai has plenty of that. You can still find traditional souks where you can haggle over textiles and spices. Head to the Dubai Museum to understand how this city developed into the futuristic place it is today.
4. Dubai airport to the Burj Khalifa: see the world’s tallest building
Use your stopover in Dubai to tick the world’s tallest building off your to-see list. The Burj Khalifa is an incredible 828m high and is an awe-inspiring sight, and it’s only a 15-minute taxi ride away from the airport, or half an hour on public transport.
5. Shopaholics spending 1 day in Dubai can enjoy the ultimate retail therapy
The Dubai Mall is the second largest in the world, a fact which is bound to get any fashionistas raring to pay it a visit. If shopping sounds like the perfect way for you to relax between flights, look no further.
6. Activities around Dubai: discover the desert
Wherever you’ve come from or are heading to, the deserts of Dubai are almost certainly going to be an incredible contrast.
If you book a flight with a long stopover in Dubai, why not spend one of your nights in Dubai out amongst the sand dunes, discovering what life was once like for the inhabitants of this harshly beautiful area, with a dash of luxury thrown in.
7. Where to stay on a Dubai stopover
The key to making the very most of your stopover in Dubai is to book yourself into one of the best hotels in Dubai, whether it’s just for a night or you fancy getting comfortable and staying for a few days.
Not sure where to start your hotel search? If it’s the best stopover hotel in Dubai you’re looking for, the brand-new Occidental Al Jaddaf is just 10 minutes from the airport, but it’s also perfect for easily accessing all the most famous sights, like the Burj Khalifa, and is extremely convenient for the Dubai Mall, too.
Soak away the jet lag in the heated swimming pool, relax in the sauna and Turkish Bath and help your body adjust to its new environment with a workout in the fitness studio.
8. Relax and enjoy your long layover in Dubai
As you can see, there is no shortage of things to explore in Dubai on a layover, whatever your tastes or your final destination. So, plan a few days to relax in your hotel, acclimatise to the new time zone and discover your surroundings, and then let the adventure continue.