When you travel solo,
The cold air whispers in your ears,
The tall buildings signal you from the rooftop,
The food you taste kisses your sweet tongue,
And the stranger besides you instantly becomes your friend.
That is what solo travel does to you; it digs deeper into you and gives you wings to fly, like a seagull over a vast sea of serendipities.
Is it safe for women to travel solo in Dubai? Yes, unreservedly. Dubai is considered among the top 10 safest countries for female solo travellers, so there is no need to hesitate before getting that Dubai visa. Having said so, there are still some precautions that need to be taken.
Here is our guide to solo travel for all the bold, beautiful and mettlesome women out there.
1. Dress aptly for the occasion. Respect their religion
UAE, in general is a little conservative with regards to the Islamic culture. Dubai is somewhat liberal in its approach. However, you’d have to keep some things in mind depending on where you travel. Swimwear is completely okay on the beach, but once you are out of it, you’d have to immediately cover yourself up. When you enter a mosque, you’d need to be completely covered, including your heard. Skimpy dressing can attract some attention on the road. However, if you are inside the mall or hotel, it should not be a problem.
2. Keep the emergency contact numbers handy
While the certainties of crimes are zero to none in Dubai, it is always good to keep the emergency numbers handy. Ideally, this tip should be followed wherever you go, not just Dubai. Here are a emergency numbers in Dubai that might come handy.
Ambulance and air rescue: 999
Fire Department: 997
Emergency services: 04 223 2323
Tourist security: 800 4888
Al Ameen (to report criminal activity or harassment): 800 4888, ext: 4444
Additionally, you must also keep the phone number of your hotel with you.
3. Download useful apps
Apps that may be useful for you while you are on-the-go. Here are my top 5 picks.
RTA App: The RTA app has a ‘Journey Planner’ that lets you plan your journey across public transport like buses, metro, marine transport and taxis.
Dubai Metro: This app helps the user to navigate better on both the Yellow and Red lines.
Skype: Now who wants free video calls?
The Dubai Mall: This might sound ridiculous, but once you’re there, I’m sure you’ll thank me.
Careem: Your on-the-go buddy to book a cab
4. Take a local SIM card
When you travel solo, safety is of paramount importance than money. A local SIM card in Dubai will cost you around AED 50 to AED 80.
5. Is the public transport in Dubai safe?
Taxis, buses and metros, all are safe for a solo female traveller any time of the day. If you know in advance that you are travelling late, then it’ll be wiser to dress accordingly. There are not many locals on the road at night, so you’d feel a little unsecured, even though it is safe. In such a situation, conservative clothing might feel reassuring.
6. Make use of free WiFi
Most of the places in Dubai offer free WiFi services. You can drop in a WhatsApp, check Google Maps, search for a place and much more with this facility. Do bear in mind that no internet calls work there, except for Skype. WhatsApp, FB Messenger and Hangout calls are all blocked.
7. Know the traffic rules
Dubai is very strict with its traffic rules - be it driving or pedestrian crossing. We Indians are used to crossing roads when cars are not running on the roads, irrespective of the signal. However, Dubai is very strict and not obeying the traffic signal is a punishable offence.
8. Don’t drink alcohol in public
Dubai is very strict about this rule. Not only can you not buy alcohol from a shop without a liquor permit, but also can you not drink in the public. Also, you wouldn’t want to get wasted when you’re all alone.
9. No PDAs
Whatsoever, no PDAs. Albeit it is more forward than other emirates, there is no tolerance for public display of affection.
10. Stay aware, stay alert
Not all those who stare have tough intentions. But staying alarmed at all situations is the best you can do to avoid trouble. Keep those emergency numbers handy and accessible so that you can make a fast and smart move.
Author : Winnie Karnik