I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always been one of those people that lives with the constant feeling that she forgot something. Probably because most of the time, I did forget something. The ADD force is strong with this one! So the way I combat my terrible forgetfulness is by making lists. I always tell people: if you don’t see me write it down, it’s probably not going to get done. Well if I don’t put things in my packing list, there’s a good chance it’s not going to make it in the suitcase. It’s not a very fun feeling realizing you’re missed packing something essential when you’re halfway around the world. But no worries, I’m here to make sure that you’re trip goes smoothing without a snag and everything you need packed in you bags!
Goes without saying that as a fashion blogger, clothing will be on the top of my concerns list when it comes to packing. Not wanting to have a repeat of the belly poking incident that happened during my japan trip, I made sure to research the local customs. While I knew that the locals cut foreigners a lot of slack, and Dubai in particular is pretty progressive, I still wanted to ensure that I’m being respectful. So there really is no dress code, but as long as you have your shoulder and knees covered, you should be good to go pretty much everywhere (with some exclusion noted below). With that said here were my must haves:
- Lightweight breathable clothing: this almost goes without saying as you are travelling to the desert after all. Even during their “winter time” the temperature can be pretty balmy. So it’s important that you pack items made from breathable fabric that will keep you cool. If you’re a photo planner, you might also want to plan for items that will contrast well with the places you are going to visit (for me my focus was contrasting well with the desert).
- Jacket: This one is not as obvious as the previous one, because who would’ve thought to pack a jacket for the desert climate. But actually there can be quite a stark temperature difference between night and day in desert. Additionally, people here love to crank the A/C indoors, so you might need it even if you come in the hot summer months. Better safe than sorry.
- Swimsuit: UAE actually has tons of beautiful beaches, and chances are the hotel that you’re staying at will have a nice pool that will tempt you to take a dip. So a pair of swimsuit is not going to be something you’re going to want to forget. I also going to state the obvious that the “covering shoulder and knee rule doesn’t apply here” — go ahead and break out that two piece!
- Loose tunic and pants (optional): loose non-form fitting clothing, as well as a head cover, is a must if you’re planning on visiting a mosque (read: Sheikh Zayed Mosque). You have the option to wear whatever the mosque lends you, like what I did on the first picture above. But if you feel so inclined to wear your own, you can certainly do that.
- Evening wear (optional): This one is again optional and I certainly had no need for it as I spent my evening chilling in the hotel bathtub.
But Dubai does have a nightlife scene and fabulous restaurants to have fancy dinner at. So if that’s your cup of tea, wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack some evening dresses.
Outfit Combo Pictured: maternity t-shirt in boyfriend fit from ASOS, maternity midi skirt with box pleat from ASOS, lea faux snakeskin slip-on slides from Tobi, destiny around you earrings from Ettika (find similar here and here).
SHOES & ACCESSORIES
- Lots of scarves: there was nothing on the dress code that mentioned the need to cover your hair (unless you’re planning on visiting the mosque), but that didn’t stop me from accessorizing with scarves. So I definitely packed tons of options. One thing I did regret is only packing square scarves,
which doesn’t work so well when I was visiting Sheikh Zayed Mosque. I did wish I also brought a large long scarf.
- Bold dangly earrings: because scarves and bold earrings go so well together. Plus they also look good contrasted with the desert!
- Walking shoes: I don’t think I’ve been on any vacation yet, where this is not in the packing list, but I’m going to go ahead and state the obvious anyway. I do want to add that if you’re planning on doing any kind of desert excursion, you might want to also pack comfy enclosed shoes. And unless you’re wearing hi-tops or you’re just a particularly graceful desert walker, which I am not, be prepared for sand to get in your shoes. It’s inevitable.
Outfit Combo Pictured: maternity nursing dress with double layer in blurred spot from ASOS, maternity shirred harem pants from ASOS, slides from Old Navy (find similar here and here), baseball cap from H&M, rockstud crossbody bag from Valentino (find similar here and here), ladies’ 27mm ultra slim bracelet watch from Rotary.
- Sunscreen and after sun care: desert sun can be unforgiving. And assuming you’ll also be hanging out pool/beachside, better bring an extra bottle to be on the safe side.
- Good moisturizer and face masks for some extra TLC: that desert air can be so dry and on the day I went on my desert safari it was pretty windy. Have you ever had sandy air whip at your face? It’s not fun and made me realize why the Bedouins sometimes cover their face.
- Hair tools: I actually didn’t use mine until near the end of my vacation when I was in Dubai. I spent the beginning of my vacay mostly poolside and I styled my hair in chignons and scarves, but it was nice to have a change at the end.
BONUS: ELECTRONICS STUFF
You might already know this, but UAE has a different voltage requirement for their electronics as compared to the US. So you’re going to need to pack an adapter to use chargers and other electronics you bring with you from the US. I’ve had bad experiences with some hair tools not working for me in the past when I use a converter, but I haven’t had a problem yet with my adapter.
Looking for a great place to buy clothes to pack for you trip? Shop them at Tobi.
Looking for more UAE trip guides? Check out my other posts: