[All content and prices updated September 2013]

Why you should add UAE to your Indie/RTW trip

  • The UAE is a fascinating place to visit, especially on a short stopover if you can add it in for little or no additional cost, but it isn't exactly the kind of place that subscribes to the tenets of the Indie Travel Manifesto.
  • An unlikely combination of influences, the United Arab Emirates boasts one of the highest standards of living in the world, but is heavily influenced by nomadic, bedouin culture.
  • As a result you have many traveler's dream destination: an exotic destination where you can enjoy the novelty of traditions in that area, while still escaping to western hotels and customs whenever you need to.
  • Many travelers explore the culture of the nomadic desert wanderer. Expeditions through the desert provide new experiences and a chance to learn about the ways that nomads have survived in such a harsh environment for so long.
  • Head out to the desert of Abu Dhabi and take a camel ride and camp under a sky with more stars than you can imagine.
  • The great thing about UAE, though, is that next to this rough, sandy landscape, huge, modern cities sit along the coast of the Persian Gulf, offering as much modern luxury and amenities as you can find anywhere in the world.
  • Though there are plenty of shopping malls and western shopping opportunities, you can still find souqs to bargain for your souvenirs.

Transportation

Dubai is one of the major travel hubs in the region and one of the area's busiest airports. Finding a flight to the United Arab Emirates should not be a problem.

Officially, the UAE does not allow travelers with stamps from Israel to enter the country. In practice, the country has one of the more lax approaches to this rule in the Middle East.

Accommodation

If you're looking for opulent and unnecessarily lavish accommodations, the UAE is the place to find them. The Burj Al-Arab is one of the finest, aspiring to a whole new category of luxury by billing itself as a "seven star hotel." In reality, there are plenty of luxurious four and five star, maybe even six star hotels, that offer comparable facilities at a much more reasonable price.

For the budget traveler, there are hostels in Dubai and the capital, Abu Dhabi, as well as most of the major cities on the coast.