Is Dubai Safe For Solo Female Traveler? (Mixed Feelings)

Dubai is one of the most populated and exciting cities in the United Arab Emirates. The skyscrapers, cuisine, and culture are quite enticing to any foreign traveler. So, is it safe to travel to Dubai as a woman?

It is mostly safe to travel to Dubai as a woman, but you must observe Sharia law to avoid penalties. Sharia law is undeniably much harsher towards women than men, and you cannot wear any revealing clothes when you visit Dubai. Dubai is also largely unsafe for members of the LGBTQ community, and it’s important to pack lightly to avoid theft and robbery.

Public displays of affection are illegal in Dubai, and they have strict laws regarding alcohol consumption. Luckily, Dubai is one of the safest places to walk alone at night because of the relatively low violent crime rate. Follow along as we explore how to stay safe when you travel to Dubai as a woman.

Safety Tips to Travel to Dubai as a Woman

Familiarize Yourself With Sharia Law

Before you travel to Dubai as a woman, it’s important to understand Sharia law. Sharia law is a traditional set of Islamic rules and regulations that are prominent in the United Arab Emirates, and that includes Dubai. Such laws have been the subject of many controversies due to how harsh they are, particularly towards women.

Women face the brunt of Sharia law much more than men, and you can even be punished for how you dress as a woman in Dubai. For example, you cannot wear any revealing clothes that would expose your arms, chest, or shoulders. This is quite different from Western culture, but you must adhere to Sharia law when you travel to Dubai as a woman to avoid consequences.

Luckily, Sharia law has become slightly less strict in Dubai over the last several years. Unmarried couples couldn’t even live together or share a hotel room in Dubai until 2020. While they still have many conservative guidelines, Dubai seems to be slowly becoming more progressive. Sharia law is still prominent in Dubai, but it’s less conservative than it was before.

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Carefully Pack Clothing

As previously mentioned, Sharia law has a lot to do with what you are allowed to wear as a woman in Dubai. While this is quite behind the times and often considered oppressive, you must, unfortunately, pack clothes that meet Sharia law standards when you travel to Dubai as a woman.

For example, it’s common for travelers to walk around in bathing suits in Florida or Los Angeles when they aren’t at the beach. However, that is generally considered distasteful in Dubai. Save your swimsuit for the beach when you travel to Dubai to avoid any trouble.

Luckily, you are free to wear any type of swimsuit you’d like at the beach in Dubai if it isn’t transparent. You can wear a one-piece swimsuit or bikini at the hotel pool or beach, but wearing one in public may violate Sharia law depending on its size and design.

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Travel Lightly

It may be tempting to leave the hotel with a backpack and purse or personal bag to carry as much as possible. Sadly, that can make you a target for pickpockets and thieves whether you travel to Dubai or New York City. Pack a small bag or compact backpack when you travel to Dubai as a woman and keep it close throughout the day so you can keep track of your belongings.

Theft and robbery are the two most prevalent crimes in Dubai. Leave some of your cash or credit and debit cards back in your hotel safe when you leave for the day in case you get pick-pocketed or robbed. That way, you will have some backup money until your bank or credit card provider can reimburse you.

Research the Area

Have you already picked out the hotel you plan to stay at? Research the area around the hotel for crime statistics, restaurants, bars, and stores. It’s also important to make sure you find a hotel with access to public transportation and taxi cabs so you can safely get around Dubai when you travel alone.

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Monitor Your Bank Statement

Whether you travel to Dubai or San Francisco, it’s always important to monitor your bank statement. Unless you visit a reputable and established business, there are many scammers in any major city that look to scam tourists. That’s not just a problem in Dubai by any means, and it can happen anywhere you travel.

Check your bank and credit card statements to make sure you haven’t been overcharged. Contact your bank or credit card provider if duplicate charges appear on your account.

Drink Responsibly

Much like the United States, the United Arab Emirates does not tolerate irresponsible alcohol consumption. Because of that, you must drink responsibly and obey the local laws in Dubai. The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 years old.

Only purchase alcohol from licensed vendors and bars. Never consume alcohol in public places, such as streets and sidewalks when you travel to Dubai. Alcohol consumption is less widespread in the United Arab Emirates than it is in the United States because of Sharia law. Avoid getting too inebriated in public so you don’t get into trouble.

Avoid PDA

Even if you meet someone in Dubai that you have great chemistry with you must avoid PDA. Public displays of affection go against Sharia law. Whether it be holding hands, hugging, or kissing, you can face time in jail if you engage in PDA when you travel to Dubai regardless of your gender.

Invest in Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential for foreign travel, especially when you plan a long trip. It covers everything from canceled flights and lost luggage to theft and robbery when traveling. This comes in handy when you travel to Dubai alone without any experience in the United Arab Emirates.

The average traveler who gets insurance pays 5% to 7% of the value of their trip on travel insurance. You can expect to spend at least $456 on travel insurance if you book a trip to Dubai worth $10,000. However, you will thank yourself if your baggage gets lost or if you get robbed or pickpocketed.

Consider Another Option

Sadly, Dubai has yet to embrace the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is currently still illegal in Dubai, and while that is absurd, it’s worth avoiding the United Arab Emirates if you are a part of that community. You can face prison time in Dubai for homosexual activity because there are essentially no LGBTQ+ rights in the region.

Consider another destination that has progressive, modern laws you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Countless foreign destinations embrace the community, so there’s no reason to visit a place that punishes people for who they are if you don’t want to restrict yourself.

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Keep an Eye on the Road

When you travel to Dubai, you will likely have to walk between destinations in many cases. Because of that, it’s important to keep an eye on the road. Make sure to observe traffic laws and crosswalks so you don’t get hurt. If anything, simply pay attention to how local pedestrians walk and mimic their behavior. It will take you no time to get used to it!

Watch Your Drinks

Dubai may seem quite conservative, and it is, but the city has a vibrant nightlife. It’s quite fun to visit bars and clubs in foreign cities while traveling. However, you must watch your drinks just like you would in the United States or any other country.

The United Arab Emirates punishes people for spiking drinks, but it’s best to be careful so it never happens. Always keep your drink in your hand and watch the bartender while they prepare it to make sure nothing suspicious occurs.

Is It Safe for a Woman to Walk Alone at Night in Dubai?

It is relatively safe for a woman to walk alone at night in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates was even ranked the safest country in the world to walk alone at night, and Norway was a close second. While it may be the safest country to walk alone at night, you must still stay aware and avoid isolated areas.

Never walk alone in remote areas without a police presence. Ideally, you should leave bars and restaurants before it gets too late to ensure you can walk with a group of people. Call a taxi service if you don’t want to walk through empty streets at night to avoid danger.

So, Is It Safe to Travel to Dubai as a Woman?

It is safe to travel to Dubai as a woman, but you must be aware of the local laws and culture. You must observe Sharia law to make sure you don’t wear any clothes or say anything profane in public that could get you into trouble. Drink responsibly, research the area near your hotel, and purchase travel insurance when you travel alone to Dubai as a woman.

2 thoughts on “Is Dubai Safe For Solo Female Traveler? (Mixed Feelings)”

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