Dubai Travel Destination 2017

How to make the most of your layover at Dubai airport

02 Jan 2017
Dubai International, the world’s busiest international airport, will impress you with the services and facilities on offer for its globetrotting guests. Even if your layover in Dubai isn’t long enough for you to leave the airport, you can still find plenty of things to help you relax and enjoy your time. To get you started, we’ve broken down the activities on offer based on the time you’ve available before you board your next flight.

Short stay passengers – up to six hours

Even if you’re only in transit for a short period of time, you can still enjoy your stay at the airport. Dubai is renowned for being a shoppers’ paradise, and its airport is no different. You can while away the hours looking for duty-free treats and luxury brands. You can even buy gold by the gram as you would at a Middle Eastern souk.

While free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, if you need to catch up on emails or connect with colleagues during your stopover, the best option is to head to one of the 7 VIP airport lounges available to Priority Pass Members. The Marhaba Lounge in Terminal 3, Concourse B was Highly Commended in the Best Business Facilities category in the Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards 2016. Here, you’ll find internet access and plenty of other services, including photocopying and faxing machines.

Of course, if you’re simply looking for a quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of traveling, hide yourself in the Zen Gardens in Terminal 3. Designed to create an oasis of calm within a busy airport, it’ll be sure to boost your energy – and your inner peace. 

Medium stay passengers – up to 12 hours

If you’ve got a longer stay planned, there’s even more to discover at Dubai International. Why not experience true Emirati hospitality by enjoying a leisurely meal at one of the airport’s 80-plus restaurants or cafes? Experience fine dining at Wafi Gourmet, renowned for its authentic Lebanese cuisine, or indulge in some beluga and champagne at Caviar House & Prunier.

If you’re tired of sitting down and want to get the blood flowing, there’s even a swimming pool on site. Book a session and you’ll also have access to a Jacuzzi and sauna to relax your muscles after your invigorating swim.

To truly unwind during your layover, book yourself into an airport lounge. While some are only available to passengers on specific airlines, facilities such as the Marhaba Lounge in Terminal 1 are open to all. As soon as you enter the calm of the lounge, you’ll quickly forget the stresses and strains of traveling. Lose yourself in one of the newspapers and magazines while sipping on a complimentary beverage. Or take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and use of a tablet to connect with friends or colleagues while you’re waiting to continue your journey.

Long stay passengers – more than 13 hours

If you’ve got a significant amount of time at the airport before your next flight, think about actually getting out and visiting Dubai itself. The city center’s only around 5km from the airport, so you can easily get to the heart of this vibrant metropolis.

Most nationalities need a visa to enter Dubai, and some are able to obtain one on arrival at the airport. It’s best to check with your local UAE embassy before your trip to find out the exact requirements.

Taxis are available 24/7, or if you want to travel in style you can even rent a luxury car for the day. Two metro lines lead from the airport to the city and are another convenient way to head to the center. You could start your whistle-stop tour of Dubai by visiting the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. Even if you don’t head to the top, it’s still an impressive sight from the road. To experience some real UAE shopping, walk to the nearby Dubai Mall. If you’re looking for an adventure, book a camel ride and dune bashing safari in the desert. There are a number of tour operators who can organize this for you – check at the airport information desk for more details.