Did you know that Dubai is one of the top 5 most visited cities in the world – up there with London and Paris? It’s easy to see why as it offers plenty for visitors to see and do.
As a travel destination that values modern living, luxury and wealth with roots still deeply tied to conservative Middle Eastern ways, knowing what to pack for Dubai can seem a bit challenging and uncertain.
After you’ve gone through all this helpful material, tackling your Dubai packing essentials will be a breeze. Get ready to experience some world-class shopping, unforgettable desert camel rides and upscale beach lounging – and be prepared to fork over some money!
Ok then, let’s get to it!
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The Ultimate Dubai Packing List
Nomatic Travel Bag
- Capacity > 30L
- Price > $299
Nomatic Navigator Carry On
- Capacity > 37L
- Price > $400
GoPro Hero 11
- Resolution > 5k
- Price > $400
Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
- Price > $600
Insurance From World Nomads
- Price > Click For a Quote
Welcome to our Dubai survival guide – where you can lay your doubts to rest! Read on to find your top 22-needs packing list, tips on what to wear in Dubai that is fashionable and culturally accepted, a close look at Dubai’s seasonal weather conditions and how to pack for them.
You’ll also find packing recommendations specifically for women and men, and tips for what not to pack for Dubai.
Best Backpack For Dubai: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for Dubai, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking travel the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for Dubai checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
Best Suitcase For Dubai: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok, in fact carrying a backpack in Dubai will only increase your chances of being hassled at the airport. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
Packing Cubes For Dubai – Wandrd Packing Cubes
In case you have never used them, packing cubes are little compression cubes that allow you to neatly pack clothes in in order to help facilitate better packing. They allow you to pack more stuff, and to keep it all better organised.
For the longest time, I thought that packing cubes were a superfluous indulgence, but boy was I wrong. Now I never travel without a few.
These ones from WANDRD are great quality and excellent value for money. Get them on your Iceland packing list now!
Best Sim For Dubai – HolaFly eSim
The good news about Dubai is that there is extensive 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food delivery apps. The bad news is that your native SIM card will most probably not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can simply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the relevant package, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.
Best Camera For Dubai: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities. But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black. Honestly, the road trips you will take on Iceland are epic and you will want an action camera in order to capture every last kilometre.
It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode).Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
Packing For Dubai Checklist: Personal Gear
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when packing for Dubai. Firstly, it is HOT all year round. Secondly, it is a conservative Arab country and so you need to dress “modestly” – legs and shoulders should be covered for both men and women. Therefore, deciding what to wear in Dubai can be a bit of a headache if all you own are shorts and vests!
So, bring some light, “modest” clothes and try to dress at least a bit smartly. Other than that, these items are great additions for things to bring to Dubai.
Good Shoes – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
Visitors to Dubai have a tendency to underestimate the amount of walking that is part of the day to day Dubai experience. Shuffling between sites and bars, checking out the tall buildings, and exploring the deserts outside of the city all make the miles on your feet add up.
I admit that most shoes that are also good for hiking are not the most attractive pieces of footwear. But they are some of the most comfortable and deliver good ankle support for a long day of walking about town. I mean, your body is already going to be suffering enough from all those shawarmas!
Plus, the dunes outside of Dubai offer excellent day trip opportunities, so packing a pair of hiking shoes gives you the option (and eliminates excuses) to go head for the hills when the city becomes too much.
Dubai is indeed a very conservative city and you really do not want to be walking around in your swimwear However, there are plenty of hotel pools, jacuzzi’s and insta worthy sports where bathing is permitted. You will be the disappointed guy or girl in the corner if you forget to pack swimwear while everyone else is in the water. Or you might get drunk, lose your inhibitions, and jump in naked with the risk of getting arrested and flogged. Best to be aware of how to stay out of jail.
Don’t get arrested for being naked. Instead, just pack whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable in the pool.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Keeping a journal is one of the best things to do when traveling. The Drifter Leather Journal by Kodiak is our favorite, it works great for digital nomads and organized backpackers and can be used as planner or a dream diary – whatever you want!
Keep on track with your goals, travels and save those precious memories, especially the ones you do not want to share online. This one is bound in beautiful leather so it looks beautiful and will withstand life on the road.
They’re built tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and trademarked Adventure-proof Frame Material. You can also customize them with your choice of lens and frame colors to reflect your own style.
Suncream: Thinksport Safe SPF 50+
By now, all of us are as pasty as the driven snow from sheltering in place for the last six months. Am I right? This means we are even more vulnerable than usual to the sun’s fierce rays. Packing sunscreen for Dubai may seem like a no brainer, but you would be amazed how many sun-burned cocktail-toting people you see wandering around.
Thinksport Safe SPF 50+ sunscreen gives folks strong sun protection in a non-oily formula that’s free of gluten, paraben, phthalates and biologically harmful chemicals.
Another backpacker/traveler favorite for staying organized is a hanging toiletry bag. It’s extremely helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available. A well-organized bag is worth having whether you’re tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.
Historically, I have been the guy who has my stuff all over the bathroom, so getting one of these things really changed the toiletry game for me.
This one by Nomatic is possibly the best toiletry bag on the market. It is made from water resistant, wipe cleanable material that guarantees longevity and it offers excellent organisational capabilities. It is also comes with a hang-up-hook so you can hang it over the shower head or your hostel bed.
As you should know by now, the sun in Dubai is strong and you will undoubtedly be spending a lot of time outside. Having a hat on your Dubai packing list is a good way to ensure your face is protected from the sun throughout the day.
Patagonia makes great hats. I have probably bought three or four of these over the last five years. Simple. Practical. Comfortable. That is what you are after.
The days exploring Singapore tend to be long so it is a good idea to take a day pack out in the morning with you. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
Whilst Dubai is not particularly dangerous at all, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted. As such, we think its definitely worth stashing your cash in a super money belt.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong. Oh, and hit the button below to pick up this high spec, durable belt from REI.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. Whilst we don’t recommend drinking tap water in Dubai, there are plenty of fountains and coolers to fill up from or you can buy a big 5l litre bottle and fill your flask from it.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your Dubai trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For Dubai
On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a trip to Dubai:
- 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer/late spring)
- A few pairs of socks
- (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
- Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town.
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town.
- Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
- Portable power bank for charging your phone on the go
- Phone charger
- Amazon Kindle for reading by the pool
- Copy of your passport just in case
- Cash (not too much, there are ATM machines everywhere
- Packable Towel
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Dubai
There it is, fellow travelers! Your thorough Dubai survival guide packed with a top-22 needs packing list, a detailed look at what to wear in Dubai, specifics on seasonal weather conditions and how to pack accordingly, and what NOT to pack for Dubai to save yourself some trouble!
Now that that’s all settled, you can tackle your Dubai travel preparations confidently and stress-free. Remember – just pack smart to stay safe, comfortable and culturally respectful.
So, get to it! Your next adventure in the glorious land of Dubai is calling your name!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!