Was it safe?
Did you ever feel uncomfortable?
Would you recommend that I go?
What was it like being two female travelers in Dubai?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ask these questions before booking our tickets to Dubai, so asking these questions is a very common and normal thing to do. The questions wouldn’t be common and the answers wouldn’t be so mixed if it weren’t such a hot topic, so there must be a reason we and so many others ask about female travel through the United Arab Emirates.
Before I start, I do want to mention that different people HAVE experienced very different treatment from what we did. People have completely been denied access into the country simply because of their sexual orientation, and being trans is extremely frowned upon in their culture (See the YouTube video by Gigi Gorgeous). Because of this, we can only speak from personal experience and can hopefully give you some tips of things you can do as a visiting woman to gain respect from the locals.
We heard before going to Dubai that it is an extremely liberal city and that the locals don’t care about what visitors wear because they expect the passing tourists to be less conservative. And that leads into our first myth.
Dubai is in the desert. No joke. There is sand and camels and heat you would not believe. In situations we have been used to, this would warrant shorts and a tank top to be our everyday wardrobe. No, the local men won’t mention anything to you. Just out of respect, however, spare the reputation of the ex-pats who really do try and keep a good image for themselves because you will be clumped into a group with them and any disrespectful thing done causes the ex-pats to lose face.
Wear conservative clothes, please. You will be sweaty and there is no way around it. Cover your legs, shoulders, and stomach. People were right about Dubai being more liberal than other UAE cities, but clothing is one thing that should remain conservative.
Other than that, feel free to go about your travels! No, it’s not frowned upon for women to look the men in the eyes, and any other stereotypes you have heard are likely incorrect.
If anything, we felt more respect as women in Dubai than any other country we have visited. There is an unspoken respect that automatically made us feel comfortable walking around the streets no matter the hour of the night. There were many instances where we were the only women in a large group of men and never felt threatened or vulnerable.
Local men and women are very kept to themselves, but there are so many other cultures of people in Dubai who are some of the friendliest and most helpful people we have met during our travels.
Dubai is a beautiful place with equally beautiful tradition and people that it would be a shame to miss this destination out of fear.
So if you are worried about traveling to UAE as a woman, there is nothing to be worried about! Although, we had the guidance of an ex-pat who has lived in Dubai for 16 years, and we would have been lost without her help and didn’t want to keep anything we learned from those of you with the same questions as ourselves and many other women.
If you have any more questions about Dubai or about traveling as women, we are always happy to try to answer your questions below. Have beautiful travels!