Divas, after we finish our trip to Paris, we’ll be ready for another exotic locale. How about Dubai! When traveling to another country with norms unlike our own, it’s important to know the culture so that we can avoid behaving in a way that can be perceived not so favorably.
Each country has its own etiquette, quirks and norms. Dubai, the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the seven emirates that make up the country, is a mecca for shopping and sightseeing. But before we book that ticket, we need to get to grips with some local customs to ensure that a trip is smooth and positive! Here’s what you need to know.
Tipping. Tipping is a huge point of contention between one country and another. In some places, tipping is expected as long as the service you have received is up to standard. In others, it is merely a bonus for staff members or an extra token of appreciation. Dubai is renowned for its high levels of service in most industries, so you probably are going to want to tip the staff who serve you. However, there are no set rules on tipping in the country, and it is by no means compulsory. Most restaurants include a service charge, but a ten to fifteen percent additional tip is common. Taxis are generally cheap, so leaving the change for the driver is also commonplace.
Drinking. UAE laws and licensing in regards to alcohol sales and consumption tend to be a little more strict than most countries. Drinking in public is illegal and could lead to an arrest, as well as any acts of drunkenness in public. Alcohol is served in licensed venues, but you will not be able to purchase it from an off-license without a special pass. You should also be particularly careful with your drinking during the month of Ramadan when different rules and customs prevail.
Excursions. Generally speaking, it’s best to book excursions through an agency who will be able to take the organization into their own hands and consequently life responsibility away from you and off your shoulders. Making use of group bookings in Dubai means that someone who has plenty of experience and knowledge of the local area and customs can ensure that everything runs smoothly on your days out. They will be able to advise you on where to go at what time, how to dress if you’re visiting religious places, and what you can and cannot do in any given area.
Hands and Feet. In Dubai, it is customary to accept food and drink with your right hand. This is also the hand that you will be expected to eat with. It is also advised that you avoid showing the soles of your feet and should not point your foot at anyone – this is because feet are generally considered dirty.
There are, of course, other customs and norms. But these are some of the most important to take into consideration throughout your stay. Study them, commit them to memory and then go get your ticket to explore this gorgeous, luxurious destination.