If you have a business trip planned to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the UAE, then you can look forward to a richly rewarding visit. The UAE has an excellent reputation for hospitality. Its national airline and hotels regularly win travel awards for their attention to detail and customer service second to none. What’s more, Dubai won “World’s Leading Business Travel Destination 2019” in the World Travel Awards.
Even with the warm welcome awaiting you in the UAE, business travel can still be stressful. There are often tight schedules to stick to, meetings straight from the airport, and lots of practicalities to organize. Here are eight tips that you can put into action before you even leave home. They’ll definitely lower your stress levels once you’re en route.
Check UAE visa and passport requirements
To avoid last-minute panic or airport drama, it pays to check whether your passport will be valid for your trip and what visa may be required.
At present, holders of passports from the USA, Canada, the EU and the UK, and Australia must have at least six months’ validity on their passports post the end of their planned stay. They will be issued a free-of-charge visa at the airport that will apply for 30 days (or 90 days for EU passport holders). Other passport holders may need to apply for a visa before arrival.
Whatever passport you hold, be sure you have accurate, up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or UAE immigration authority before you travel.
Organize travel insurance
While it’s not a legal requirement for entry to the UAE, you should definitely make sure you have valid travel insurance. Without it, you would need to pay for emergency medical treatment in the UAE which could prove very expensive. It is also wise to have insurance cover for any valuables you are traveling with and to cover expenses that might arise from cancellations.
If you already have an annual policy, check that there is sufficient coverage and that it is valid for travel to the UAE.
Book a convenient hotel
Save valuable minutes by booking a hotel that is as convenient as possible for your meetings and flights in and out of the UAE. Staying in an airport hotel often works best for business travelers on short trips. These hotels typically run shuttle buses to key city locations for guests’ convenience.
If you travel regularly for business, it can be extremely rewarding to stay loyal to one group of hotels when making your hotel booking in the UAE. A loyalty membership with one company can earn you discounted room rates, room and flight upgrades, and other privileges.
Back-up key trip information
No doubt, you’ll be carrying lots of important data on your phone or laptop: flight information, hotel booking references, and the address, and meeting times and locations, for instance.
While packing light and ditching unnecessary clutter is usually advisable for business travel, you should definitely consider printing out this information. This way, in the event of a lost phone or technical failure, you won’t panic.
Don’t forget to take a photocopy or phone picture of your passport and visa information too, just in case these are lost.
Charge all your devices
Make sure you leave home with all your devices fully charged, even if you’re not expecting to need a full charge to get you through the journey. If your flight is delayed, you can relax with the knowledge that you can stay in touch with the office or get some work done wherever you are.
There are a few items that you’ll need to keep all your devices working while in the UAE, too. These include your chargers, of course, and you may also need plug adaptors. In the UAE, three-pin British-style plugs are standard. Many business travelers also find a portable Wi-Fi device indispensable.
Download some useful travel apps
Adding a few apps to your phone for your trip can save you time and eliminate hassles. Here are a few recommendations for the type of apps to consider:
- Your airline
- Your hotel company
- Wi-Fi map
- Currency converter
- Weather forecasts
- Taxi services (Uber or Careem are popular in the UAE)
- A city or country guide (to make the most of any spare time)
All these can provide useful information at the touch of a button and potentially make your trip much smoother and more enjoyable.
Brush up on local business etiquette
While the UAE is open to business visitors from all over the globe, it is important to understand local business etiquette to avoid offense or misunderstanding. Building good relationships with your UAE colleagues or potential business partners will be mutually rewarding.
Here a few things to remember while you are in the UAE:
- Good manners and patience are particularly valued here.
- Taking the time to enjoy your host’s offerings and a friendly conversation will be thought of highly.
- Dress smartly and conservatively for business meetings, with arms and legs fully covered.
- Avoid trying to schedule meetings during prayer times or for Muslim holidays. The weekend in the UAE is Friday and Saturday.
Use VIP airport services
Employing the assistance of airport-based VIP services can save you valuable time on a busy trip. For instance, you could avail of a baggage collection service, which will pick up your luggage straight from the belt and deliver it to your hotel. This is ideal for those who need to head straight to a meeting.
Meet and greet services are designed to make your journey through the airport as smooth and as quick as possible. This includes fast-tracking through immigration and security.
If you need to freshen up after your long journey, showers are also available at Dubai airport. VIP lounges are the perfect place to relax and unwind, get work done or enjoy a conversation with traveling companions.
Following these eight simple tips will ensure your journey to and from the UAE is as stress-free as possible, which means you can focus on the business at hand. You are sure to have a pleasant, worthwhile trip.