Travelling to Dubai with kids? This post has my top tips for a family holiday in Dubai, including what to do, where to stay and where to eat.
While a holiday closer to home may still be the norm for many families, there is no doubt we are all getting more adventurous and long haul family holidays are becoming more and more popular. Dubai is a great choice for families as it is so accessible. There are direct flights from 85 different countries to Dubai with Emirates alone! Flying time is relatively short compared to other long haul destinations, so a family holiday in Dubai is a good option if you want to try something different, without venturing too far. It is also a great stopover destination, if you happen to be travelling further afield.
Dubai is extremely modern, in fact some would say too modern! You could easily spend a week there without ever seeing the ‘real Dubai’. Walking along the marina with skyscrapers all around, you may think you are in an American city instead of the Middle East. With the possible exception of seeing the Emirati in traditional dress, there really is no culture shock for kids.
If you are travelling during the summer months, where temperatures can be over 40 degrees, make sure you plan some indoor activities. The world’s largest indoor theme park is in Dubai and there is even an indoor ski resort. Waterparks are also a good way to cool down and there are plenty of them in Dubai.
Dubai is jam packed with things to do for kids, but make sure you take time to discover old Dubai too. Take a trip to the desert, have an authentic Emirati breakfast and haggle for gems in the Souks. Here are my top tips for a family holiday in Dubai.
Top things to do on a family holiday in Dubai
1. Book a meet and greet with breakfast on the morning you arrive.
Most flights arrive into Dubai early in the morning, but more than likely your hotel room won’t be ready until 2 or 3pm….. One of the best things we did was to book an airport transfer, with a stop en route for a traditional Emirati breakfast. Believe me when I tell you, it was superb!
When went to the Arabian Tea House in Bur Dubai. I loved everything about it, the setting, interiors and of course, the food! Our driver waited for us while we ate and brought us to our hotel afterwards. Not only did this save us hanging around, waiting for our hotel room to be ready, but we got the chance to sample some traditional Arabic cuisine and see where the locals dine. It was a wonderful experience.
Don’t worry if you have fussy eaters, there was a huge variety of food available. My two loved the traditional bread (like a hot tortilla wrap) with hummus, but there was scrambled eggs, cheese and sandwiches too.
I highly recommend this experience. We were met at the airport, brought to a private car, offered cold towels and bottled water and brought straight for breakfast. We booked through Incentive Connections, an award-winning destination management company in Dubai. All of their services can be booked via your local travel agent.
2. Visit the Burj Khalifa & Watch The Fountain Display
No family holiday in Dubai would be complete without visiting the Burj Khalifa. The kids will want to tell their pals they were in the world’s tallest building and it is ideally located beside the Dubai Mall and the Fountain Display. There are two different viewing platforms but the difference in price between the 124th floor and the 148th floor was €244 for four of us. Needless to say we went to the 124th floor! We booked with Attraction Tickets Direct, the cost is only €36 per adult and €24 per child.
We timed our visit to Burj Khalifa so we could watch the fountain display afterwards and it worked out perfectly. There are shows every 30 minutes from 6pm -11pm. TOPTIP: Afternoon time also offers the best chance of a clear sky as there can be sand storms in the morning.
3. Make sure you go on a desert safari
This was one of our favourite family activities in Dubai. When we were out in the middle of the Arabian desert, we felt far removed from the skyscrapers of modern Dubai. It felt exotic, cultural and enchanting. We booked a five-hour trip through Attraction Tickets Direct and it was surprisingly good value, €71 per adult and €53 per child, which included collection from our hotel, dune bashing in the Arabian desert and a sunset BBQ with a show in a Bedouin camp. The desert safari will always remind us of our family holiday in Dubai. You can read all about our adventure and more family activities in Dubai here.
4. Spend a day at the beach
The beaches in Dubai are superb and the water is so warm, kids will love it. Many hotels have private beaches, but there are some great public beaches too – and they are free! We went to JBR beach, located beside ‘The Walk’. There is an inflatable water park on the sea and lots of watersports available. This area is full of restaurants and cafes too so you could easily spend day here.