Although Dubai is the most famous emirate in the UAE, there are 6 more for you to explore! Each emirate has its own charm, landscape and attractions. It is easy to rent a car and drive around the country by yourself! In this article, I am sharing useful tips for your UAE road trip and list my expenses. Therefore you will get an idea of how to budget your trip and what to consider when driving and booking hotels in the country. Additionally, you can find a map of the route we took at the bottom.
Renting a car in Dubai:
Renting a car in Dubai is quite affordable and there are plenty of options. Despite the standard car rental shops like Hertz or Europcar you can find a lot of places in Al Farooj. We rented our KIA for 110AED a day (25€) at a shop called Cach. We chose this place because we did not have a credit card and they were fine with taking a cash deposit for the car. In the meantime I found a reliable an cheap car rental in Business Bay called Speedy Drive. I usually rent a car for 70AED/day and pay the deposit by debit card.
In order to have a valid driver’s license in Dubai, you must be a resident of the UAE, along with a residence visa issued in Dubai. However, there is an option to transfer your driver’s license if you are from one of the GCC countries or the following: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. (Source and additional information) (Information about having an International Driving License)
Driving in the UAE:
Traffic out of Dubai direction Sharjah can be very busy and therefore it is best to leave Dubai on a Friday or before 4pm. Mind the speed limits: Never drive more than 20km/h faster than allowed. If you drive slightly faster and get caught (there are radars literally everywhere) you will be fined at least 600 AED (140€) in Dubai. Remember that the fines are high all over the UAE. For example, if the speed limit is 80km/h, you are safe to drive 99km/h. If you exceed this, you will be fined. In order to avoid getting lost you should make sure you got a navigation system in the car or on your phone.
In the UAE you will find a lot of roundabouts and RTA seems to love installing speed bumps everywhere. Be aware of that while driving and always keep your distance to other cars in front of you as they might have to slow down abruptly.
Budgeting your trip:
There are no cheap hostels, but only more or less fancy hotels and resorts available for bookings around the UAE. You have to expect prices starting from 390AED depending on the season and day of the week you arrive. We spent most of our money on hotels, car rental, F&B and, unfortunately, 2 fines.
|Car rental for 3 days:||330AED|
|Hotels:||405AED Pearl Umm al Quwain +385AED Radisson Blue Dibba + 490AED Fort Hotel Hatta = 1.280AED|
|Food&Beverage:||740AED (+500AED in Hatta, alcoholic drinks, Shisha…)|
|Boat tour Umm-al-Quwain:||200AED|
|Snorkel Tour Dibba:||340 AED (Discount: 280AED)|
|Total:||3.830 (excl. F&B in Hatta)|
Booking a hotel in Dibba:
Booking a hotel in Dibba can be a bit tricky because a part of Dibba is located in Oman! We booked the cheapest hotel (Golden Tulip Resort Dibba) and suddenly arrived at a border control station. Unable to cross the border we had to cancel the booking and took a room in Radisson Blu instead. According to the snorkelling tour staff at Radisson Blu there is nothing much at the Tulip Resort.
Camping in Dibba:
If you decide to Camp in Dibba I’d recommend you to bring some food and your own drinks. We tried to find breakfast in the morning outside the hotel, and it was impossible. All places were closed; all we could find was coffee and even that was not easy!
I dress as I want in Dubai, but for the other Emirates I was not sure if I will have to dress in a very conservative way. In the end, it hardly matters. Even when we climbed the mountain in Ras-al-Kaimah I brought a long wrap-around skirt but got rid of it quickly since it was very inconvenient and hot. Nobody cares much. Have long cloths with you though just in case. Obviously you can not wear short clothing if you want to visit a mosque.
Dubai – Umm-al-Quwain – (Ras-al-Khaimah) – Dibba – Hatta – Dubai
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