Arriving to Dubai
Coming to Dubai is easy, as there are frequent flights to there from most parts of the world. Dubai airport is organized rather well and it is easy to find one’s way there. If you like having a glass of wine, buy some alcohol in the duty free zone. It is more expensive in the city and not that easy to get. You will need an alcohol license to purchase anything, which you can get only after you get your residence card. The limit of alcohol you can bring to Dubai is higher than in many other countries and according to the Dubai Customs website, the amount of alcoholic beverages and beers should not exceed 4 liters of alcohol beverages, or 2 cartons of beer (each consisting of 24 cans, not exceeding 355 ml for each can or its equivalent).
Even though Dubai is one of the hottest places on Earth, the indoor space is very well air-conditioned. Do not be tempted by weather forecasts of high temperatures, you will end up spending lots of time indoors and it rarely goes about +20 C anywhere, including the airport. Always keep a light scarf or a jacket in your handbag for the AC emergencies.
Getting to the city from Dubai airport
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is located slightly outside the city. It has three terminals and Terminal 3 has a direct access to the metro, which would be the fastest and most convenient way to get around, especially if you are staying close to a metro station. There are two classes in the trains- silver and gold, gold being more expensive and hence comfortable. Probably would be the better choice when you have lots of luggage with you. The cards can be purchased right in the station, the minimal cost of the trip is 3 dhs for silver and 6 for gold. There is also a women only cart, which is great for solo female travelers and which is usually less crowded than the normal silver class. Gold class does not have a gender segregation.
Outside of metro working hours (it does close for the night), cab would be the next best thing to get out of Dubai airport. Do not even bother booking a cab in advance before arriving to Dubai, as there is a whole line of official taxis right outside the arrivals zone. Make sure you don’t get tempted by people trying to sell you a taxi ride inside the airport as those (they call their cars limos for some reason, although it’s a normal sedan, only with no taxi signs on it) will be more expensive. Also make sure you have some local money to pay for the cab, many cars have a card machine but it never works, so cash only. Local cash only, they won’t take other currencies. Don’t forget to get some local cash inside the airport.
Getting a SIM card
To save some time later, you can buy the local sim card for your cell phone right in the airport; you just need your passport for that. Do that when you just arrive to avoid the huge lines in the malls. (They do get huge and once I spent about an hour in the line to just get some basic info on the costs). There are two providers- Du and Etisalat, they are about the same and there is not much difference between them. Etisalat is considered to be more upscale and Du more friendly, but that’s all about their branding strategy.