Skyline Dubai

Dubai is like no other metropolis in the world. Full of life, energy and surprises, it is sure to provide any expat with a wild ride.

While relocating involves some logistical phases such as packing and moving your belongings, sorting visas and documents, and shipping your belongings, there are also knowledge phases that must occur.

Moving to another country also means starting over again, with little or no local knowledge.

To help you prepare, here are eight tips for a fruitful expat life in Dubai.

1. Thoroughly plan your relocation.

No matter where you are moving from, relocating to another country is a challenging experience for everyone involved. For this reason, thoroughly planning the move is crucial.

Before leaving your home country, you will need first to sort out your belongings and decide what you are taking with you. While considering what to do with your belongings, keep the duration of your stay in Dubai in mind. For example, if you will not be there for long, it might be cheaper to rent furniture.

On the other hand, while you are getting settled, you may want to look into using the most innovative mobile storage solutions in Dubai.

Only you know what is right for your specific circumstances, but take the time to have a plan of action in place. Although it will seem like a daunting and overwhelming experience, things can proceed (relatively) smoothly with a little preparation.

2.  Be sensitive to Islamic culture.

You are moving to an Islamic country, and the presence of Islam will be all around you. Therefore, it is essential that you remain sensitive to the beliefs and culture of the city, country and region you are relocating to.

Over time, you will become used to hearing the call to prayer five times a day. When praying, Muslims face Mecca and often pray by the side of the road. While it may be different from your own culture, never stare, and avoid walking in front of anyone who is in prayer.

Another important aspect of being sensitive to Islamic culture is by dressing modestly. For both genders, loose, modest clothing is highly suggested. While women are not required to don a veil or conceal their shoulders, they should keep in mind regional sensitivities while choosing what to wear, especially if visiting crowded public places.

3. Respect local traditions, customs and laws.

In order to have the best expat experience possible, you need to learn about and respect the local ways of doing things.

For example, you may get into trouble if you do anything more than give a public kiss on the cheek or make a rude hand gesture or shout foul language. If, as a man, an Emirati woman offers her hand to you, you may shake it; however, don’t offer your hand to her.

While pork is served in many restaurants and supermarkets, it is problematic to cook it in a public place.

Additionally, homosexuality is illegal in Dubai.

While they may not always make sense to you, breaking even the simplest of laws can often lead to being arrested and potentially deported.

Keep in mind that there is also a zero-tolerance policy for recreational drugs. And in Dubai, even various medications that you may be allowed to purchase at home are illegal.  

4. Change your calendar! Weekends are Friday and Saturday.

In contrast to many countries in the world, in the United Arab Emirates, the working week starts on Sunday and weekends are on Friday and Saturday. Friday is a holy day in Islam, and so people are not supposed to work on this day.

As a new expat, this can seem strange at first, but you will quickly adapt!

5. Understand the tax-free environment.

One of the draws for expats to Dubai is the fact that the UAE is a mostly tax-free country. Yes, you read that correctly. In the UAE, the government does not collect any income tax. So, the salary you are quoted will be the same number that goes into your bank account.

However, they do collect some revenue, in the form of yearly car registration, parking charges and other smaller means. Additionally, some businesses, such as restaurants and bars in hotels, will charge tax.

6. Prepare yourself for the traffic.

If you are moving from a city with fantastic public transport, then you may not be entirely prepared for the traffic in Dubai.

While there are always plans for expansion, the Dubai Metro does not currently have access to all areas of the city. So, almost everyone drives, making rush hour a nightmare.

Prepare yourself to find new, innovative strategies for avoiding rush hour!

7. Also, prime yourself for the heat.

You have heard about Dubai’s heat, but you won’t really know what it is like until you arrive in the city. It is hot – far hotter than you can imagine.

In the summer, it can feel as though you are living in an oven. But luckily, there is air conditioning everywhere (including the bus stops).

8. Realize that the construction never stops.

The city of Dubai is continually expanding and developing. While this is marvellous because it means there is an abundance of new exciting attractions, as well as boundary-pushing buildings, it also determines that it the city is continuously under construction.

You will undoubtedly get used to seeing cranes all over the place and posters proclaiming the construction of the latest “biggest (something) in the world.”

On certain days, you will find it to be nothing more than inconvenient, while other days you will count your lucky stars that you are living in such a dynamic city.

Final Notes

Anyone who has spent time in Dubai will agree that it is one of the most vibrant cities on the planet. It has fantastic nightlife, stunning beaches, incredible activities for the whole family, more shopping than you will know what to do with, and some of the most innovative cuisine around (just to name a few attractions).

As an expat in Dubai, you will have a chance to dive deep into the culture, to get to know the city more intimately than most, and to create lifelong memories in a locale that is one of the most influential in the world. What’s more, you get to have the mind-expanding experience of living, working, playing and staying in a different culture.

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AUTHOR BIO

Chris Humphrey is the General Manager of Easytruck Moving & Storage. In 2013, the company combined their expertise in professional moving services & storage to create an entirely new approach to the business – and mobile storage was born! Easytruck now operates over 30,000sqft of air-conditioned facilities in three convenient locations in Dubai and is the only Mobile Storage operator in the UAE.

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