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Dubai! With its amazing weather, shopping, employment opportunities, social scene and perhaps some of the best job opportunities on the planet, living here is the dream of many…
Of course, moving to a new destination takes planning and preparation. And that’s exactly what this guide is about. Because moving to another continent – with it’s own rules, regulations and ways of doing things that are likely very different to what you’re used to can be somewhat of a challenge.
But help is at hand through our own personal experience. Not only will the resources listed below point you in the right direction for many of the essential expat needs, but you can rest assured that each of them is personally tried and tested.
These resources are at no additional cost to you and in many cases we’ve also negotiated further discounts to save you money!
Working in Dubai
Ultimate Guide to Working in Dubai
Our Guide to Working in Dubai ensures that you’re equipped with all the essential information you need to find employment. And in many cases it’s helped people find work before they even arrive in Dubai…
Covering vital topics such as work permits and visas, wages in various sectors, workplace culture, income tax guidance, job searching tactics and interview strategies specific to the Dubai culture, this really is a one stop information guide that any job seeker can’t do without.
And rest assured that all the information included in the guide is bang up to date.
When it comes to searching for job vacancies, the specialist Middle East employment website, bayt, is pretty much the best online site you’ll find.
It covers all sectors, including banking and finance, education and training, medical and healthcare, marketing and PR, sales, engineering… You get the gist. In addition, it’s simple to navigate, and offers virtual networking opportunities as well.
One of the most important areas when it comes to a successful job hunt is your CV. Getting past that first paper-sift all hinges on the quality of this vital document. Get it right, and the next stage beckons. But if your CV sucks, it matters not a jot how good you are, because if you don’t get to interview, your prospective employer won’t even know you exist.
One of the very first companies that specialised in writing CVs is The CV Centre. And today they’re still probably the best out there. They’re affordable too, with services starting from £34.95
Moving and Living in Dubai
Ultimate Guide to Living in Dubai
Our Guide to Living in Dubai is a one-stop guide that covers all the crucial information you need to know – plus all those questions you want to ask but don’t know where to ask them…
Want to know how to get a visa? We’ve got it covered… What about living in a different culture? Do I need to speak Arabic? How much will it cost to rent or purchase a property? What about medical issues? Transportation? And what about banking, taxes and insurance? We’ve detailed everything in this simple to follow guide – a guide written through personal experience.
Getting a visa tends to be something many people get in a bit of a tizz about. And, seeing as it depends on where you live, the passport you hold, the reason for travelling etc. etc. we totally understand why it can be a worry.
There are loads of visa services out there, but we have to say that Visa HQ is perhaps one of the most comprehensive, trustworthy and simple to use out there.
When it comes to flying to and from Dubai and around the Middle East and beyond, then we can’t rate Fly Dubai highly enough. With a super new fleet of Boeing aircraft, they fly to an ever-increasing amount of global destinations. You can enjoy true comfort – even in economy – with great meals and snacks, decent in-flight entertainment and even onboard Wi-Fi.
And then there’s Qatar Airways – who are honestly our most favourite airline of all time. From economy class though to the height of First Class luxury, you’re treated like a prince (or princess) from the minute you check in your bags.
When it comes to finding hotels in Dubai, we have to point you towards that old favourite – Trip Advisor. As far as we’re concerned this is the king of hotel review sites
When it comes to searching for hostels in Dubai, then we have to say that Hostel World wins hands down.
And although Dubai might not be as well off for hostels as some other countries you might be used to, the hostels here offer excellent value for money, wonderful cleanliness (something you might not find in, say, deepest darkest Thailand or the like…), and some pretty cool locations…
Travelling abroad, whether it’s for an extended period of time or just a shorter break, necessitates taking out travel insurance. And there’s so many companies out there, how on earth can you know whose hype lives up to reality?
Well, from personal experience, we have to say that, Travel Guard is well worth checking out, and offers 3 different levels of insurance.
AIG Travel Guard
Our other top choice would be the independent travel specialist, World Nomads. They offer truly flexible insurance policies depending on your needs.
For anyone who might have somewhat out of the ordinary insurance needs, then these guys are definitely worth checking out. You can purchase online.
When it comes to car rental in Dubai, all of the usual suspects are available to choose from. We’ve used many of them, and in our opinion Sixt Car Rental offer a great choice of cars and an easy to book, comprehensive service. They also offer a 25% discount on car hire booked at least 25 days in advance
Sixt Car Rental
Thrifty also offer a good choice of vehicles – from economy through to luxury – at competitive prices. They also have good inclusive mileage and insurance. Remember, it’s going to be hot (whatever time of the year), so don’t even think of booking a car without air conditioning…
OMG! You’ve only gone and done it… You’re moving to Dubai! Perhaps one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking times of your life.
Wherever in the world you might be coming from, we’ve found that Move Souq offer not only a competitive price to move your possessions, but a service you can trust.
Now – this is a really important piece of information. Because it’s truly possible to lose out on a whole load of cash if you don’t use the right money transfer service. (Heads up! Your bank is certainly NOT the right service to use…).
Transfer Wise guarantee to beat your bank’s rates – and make it really easy to transfer money whenever you need to.
Tor FX also guarantees to beat your banks rate, as well as having no hidden fees. In addition, they’re authorised by the FCA to carry out such currency transactions.
They’ve been offering this service for years, and once you’re set up it’s simplicity itself to make a transfer as and when you need to.
Shipping your four-legged pals to Dubai is something that’s likely to fill your heart with dread. We know – we’ve been there. Forget the furniture, the car, the luggage and all the other ‘stuff’ you might be bringing out with you – Fido and/or Tiddles are by far the most important cargo.
That’s why we recommend U Ship, because they know exactly what to do to ensure the furry ones arrive in excellent shape, and won’t cost the earth to do so…
Postage While Away
Earth Class Mail
Getting your post whilst away can be a bit of a worry. But don’t worry, because there is an easy answer – and that’s with Earth Class Mail.
These guys provide you with a physical address in the US. It’s then handled by their secure mail system, and you get photos of the unopened mail via email. Tell them whether you want it opened, scanned or recycled (shredded) – it’s as simple as that. (And you only pay for scanned mail…)
Send My Bag
On occasion, you might need to send a bag to or from Dubai to home. Of course, the airlines will happily do this for you – for a handsome fee, of course. But far better to use door-to-door service, Send My Bag, to do it for you.
Tracked the whole way, you can get your bag within 1-2 days from most major cities around the world…
It doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 70, health insurance is vital – wherever you might be traveling in the world. And whilst the health service in Dubai is excellent, it’s not cheap.
Medi Broker provide a service that compares cover and prices from over 30 insurers for international health insurance, with instant quotations.
We’ve also had great health insurance service from Cigna, who offer 3 levels of essential core cover. They also offer the ability to tailor your plan for your personal situation.
And hey – we love the fact that they’re totally transparent about what is and isn’t covered at each different level.
Toothache anywhere, let alone in a country that you’re not familiar with, can quickly turn into a nightmare. So don’t forget to get your teeth covered.
Medigo offer every type of dental treatments – from general dentistry to cosmetic and restorative work. And what they offer is surprisingly affordable too.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, Medigo also provide everything you need for any branch of medicine. This includes cardiology, orthopedics, cancer care, aesthetic medicine and reproductive medicine…
Pretty much everything you can think of that’s linked to medicine. If you need help, then these guys can get you sorted.
Duty Free Dubai means that living and working here puts you in (possibly) the happy situation of being able to get back taxes you might’ve already paid. The problem is, where do you start?
Tax Back specialises in helping people find out exactly what they can claim back – legally, of course – and set you on the road to getting the cash where it really belongs – in your bank account!
Dubai has a wonderful expat community. And wherever you hail from, you can be sure that there are others from home. But hey, you don’t need to wait until you get there to start making contacts.
Check out Internations, a global expat community that allows you to virtually reach out to others already living in Dubai. It’s a ready-made night out for when you arrive…
We’ve also used Meet Up with great success. Not only can you find regular expat gatherings here, but also ones that might specify a particular interest – such as dancing or quizzes.
It’s a great resource and you can communicate with other people before you join one of their ‘meet ups’.
As you can imagine, Dubai has an amazingly diverse community. And this has led to some pretty wonderful and authentic restaurants around the city.
Open Table allows you to check out exactly what’s on offer, see reviews from previous customers and make a reservation. What more could you ask for?
Fitness First Me
Just because it’s 90 degrees in the shade doesn’t mean you can let your fitness levels drop. There are some great gyms in Dubai, and Fitness First is one of them.
Expect the best in fitness equipment, some specialist personal trainers and every type of class imaginable. Awesome…
Smart Fitness is another choice. This is a company that’s been set up with every aspect of fitness included.
From weights to nutrition, mental wellbeing to cardio – it’s all about the whole body. Located near Jumeriah Lake Towers, if it’s close to where you live or work, there’s no other choice…
OK, so sometimes you just won’t want to head out to the shops. And what better than getting some Dubai retail therapy from the comfort of your own home.
Souq offers you just that opportunity. It’s kind of like the Amazon of the Dubai world – just with a bit more class, if you get our drift…
Or check out Namshi for another great online shopping venue for over 500 local and global brands. It’s mainly clothes (branded, of course), and they offer free delivery too.
We love it! Psst – don’t fail to check out the sale page… We’ve nabbed some great bargains here.
Last but certainly not least, there are some great apps that can help you during your time in Dubai.
Maps.me gives you an offline, highly accurate, map in your pocket – meaning wherever you are in the city, you’ll never be lost. Fast and detailed, it’s a great way to help you explore.
Food On Click
You know that feeling when only a take out will hit the spot? Sure you do… And guess what! There’s an app for that.
Food On Click gives you the option of hundreds of restaurants in Dubai who will take your order and then deliver right to your door. Food from around the world on tap
Taxi! No need to hit the streets any more (and in the heat, who wants to!). Simply log onto Uber, and your cab will be with you in minutes.
Plus you get the advantage of knowing exactly what it’s going to cost you.
Gps My City
Another great app for providing directions in and around the city is Gps My City. Simply tap in where you want to go (either driving or walking), and you’ll get step by step directions showing you exactly which way to go.
It’s a really handy tool, especially for when you first arrive.