Car Hire: Dubai

Dubai is situated on the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf and the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

As the second-largest emirate in all of UAE, the Emirate of Dubai embraces an expanse of 4,114 square kilometers. Meanwhile, the city of Dubai comprises a domain of about 35 square kilometers. However, it is expected to double its size with the construction of five man-made islands and the achievement of desert construction work.

Dubai possesses the highest population density in all of the UAE. At the end of 2018, the population in Dubai counted at 3,192,275, consisting of 2,233,390 males and 958,885 females. Expatriates fill the majority of its population at around 71%.

Recognized as the “center of UAE’s economy”, Dubai, one of the fastest-growing capitals in the world, is its main financial and trading center. Supported by its vital geographical location and “outstanding infrastructure”, Dubai has risen as a leading global trading city uniting markets around the world.

In addition to its dynamic infrastructure, Dubai has set in place economic strategies. A legislative framework has made it a favorable environment for over 20,000 international corporations to run. Additionally, Dubai is spending massively on infrastructure and hospitality plans in the lead-up to hosting the Expo 2020 trade fair. Some of these involve the development of the Al Maktoum International Airport at an expected cost of US$8 billion.

Dubai’s economy is mostly based on natural resources. However, in the recent half of the 20th century, Dubai’s fast-growing knowledge-based and services economy will soon match and replace its income from oil. Currently, over 90 percent of trading activity in Dubai includes trade, logistics, economic services, hospitality and tourism, real estate, infrastructure, and manufacturing.

Under the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, there are proposals to extend the industrial sector to produce more jobs for Emiratis. These include 75 important initiatives to produce revenue worth up to US$44 billion. It will also generate 27,000 jobs and promote exports by US$4 billion by 2030. The six priority enterprise sectors that have been known are aerospace, aluminum, and fabricated metals, food and beverage, machinery and equipment, maritime and pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies.

Dubai grants visitors a kaleidoscope of attractions. For example, the Dubai Museum, found inside the Al Fahidi Fort, allows access to Arabian culture. In addition, guests can explore its conflicting landscapes, archaeological sites, and a natural sea-water channel, known as The Creek, which splits across the city center and is the “focal point of life in Dubai”. Among its prime attractions are the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and Palm Jumeirah.

To adhere to growing requirements from the tourism part, Dubai has formed huge, world-class hospitality and tourism facilities. In 2017, 88.2 million passengers arrived at the Al Maktoum International Airport, one of the world’s most bustling airports. Designs were laid to commence the construction of a new airport about 65 kilometers further south.

Size has been compatible with Dubai as it proceeds to push the limits of construction. Dubai has been creating the first, largest, and biggest edifices in the world over the past few decades. Dubai’s cityscape is always ephemeral and ever-changing with its relentless urge to build bigger and better attractions than before.

The UAE boasts a family-friendly atmosphere and small children are cherished and loved everywhere. The more spacious hotels have an assortment of kids’ meals, particularly for room service. Toddlers do not usually eat out at night, but they are welcome at eateries, with several places rendering booster seats. Phone ahead to verify if the hotel you’re staying at has babysitting assistance available.

There are also lots of ventures for kids to do, both in and around the hotels, including awesome amusement parks and several green spaces with playgrounds. Children under 12 normally qualify for discounts on admission fees to most museums, amusement parks, swimming pools, and entertainment centers.

The UAE is very safe for women travelers, nevertheless, women traveling alone are a rare sight and you may find yourself the center of undesired attention at beaches or nightclubs. You will probably have a smoother journey if you visit one of the four or five-star hotels, particularly if you can use the hotel’s private beach facilities.

Women in the UAE possess a much more open-minded lifestyle than several of their Middle Eastern counterparts (i.e. women are allowed to drive, work, etc) however, women travelers should be informed that they are touring a society that has rich traditional roots based in Islamic law.

If you wish to avoid trouble, try to wear loose-fitting, longer dresses away from the beach clubs and resorts. You will also discover that clothing fit for the more cosmopolitan cities may not be suitable or convenient for independent travel to rural spots. Loose pants and a long-sleeved cotton shirt will satisfy a wide range of circumstances.

When socializing in a local group, it may be considered rude to extend your hand for a handshake, as some devoted Muslims prefer not to shake hands with a woman. It is prudent to wait for the other person to begin a handshake.

Keep in mind that one advantage of being a woman in the UAE is that women normally receive special treatment, they are served first at banks and post offices, police stations, and other government facilities often have separate lines for women.

Top Road Trip Destination from Dubai

Fancy road trips? Who doesn’t adore taking a road trip while you savor your holiday and tour some of the unknown gems in the UAE?

Flying up above the sky can be fantastic, but road trips have a fascination of their own. If you are residing in Dubai or have been in Dubai for a holiday and still looking for a quick getaway, then read on to know the exciting road trips from Dubai that we have gathered for you. But make sure you adhere to all the driving rules in Dubai which is a must.

Dubai is not only home to some picturesque attractions but also easily accessible to some of the awesome places. So, here is a list of the top destinations where you can hit by taking road trips from Dubai to feel soothed from Dubai’s bustling city life, heavy traffic roads, and the people, of course.

If you have always admired the mixture of adventure and history, then Ras al-Khaimah should never be left out from the list of places to take road trips to, from Dubai. You get to witness several historical buildings, astonishing landscapes and have a chance to venture on horse riding, paragliding, and fishing. This is genuinely a spot for all the history buffs and adventure seekers out there.

Hatta

What if we tell you that it only takes a few hours to get to a heavenly place packed with awe-striking ranges, superb attractions, and adventures? It is an excellent place for a fabulous getaway from Dubai, particularly for road trips. There are several places you can visit and things for you to check out, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Fujairah

Just picture taking road trips from Dubai to a place girded by dramatic views with your family or your loved ones. There is so much to explore here and the most desirable place if you are touring with your family.

The best way to savor this place is by heading to a beach resort and joining in watersports to take a break from the hot weather for a while. Not just that, but you have several attractions for sightseeing too.

Ajman

The emirate of Ajman is said to be the smallest of all the emirates in the UAE which doesn’t make it less interesting. Here you can have an excellent blend of spectacular beauty, energetic nightlife, top attractions and beaches, amazing resorts, and cafes with old-school beauty too.

Liwa

This is one of the most desirable places to take road trips to, from Dubai, for an awesome desert getaway. Be it the exploit or the history or the culture that you are resembling, you will surely obtain everything at its best in Liwa. If you are fortunate, organize your tour during the Liwa Date Festival to witness how wonderful a celebration can be.

Al-Ain

Al-Ain is a region of verdant greenery, mountains with panoramic views, and natural springs. If you ever contemplate driving from Dubai through one of the spectacular roads, then cruise the Al Ain picturesque landscape without having any second thoughts. It is home to several wonderful attractions including some tall-standing peaks and numerous historical buildings.

Sharjah

Traveling to the UAE is never complete without touring Sharjah. It is one of the very famous cities that has earned much fame over the years with its captivating history and heritage. Not only the historic sites made it popular but also the markets there. You can appreciate some history, chill, and travel to the great attractions in Sharjah.

Dibba

Have always been intrigued by the prospect of seeing the sea on one side and mountains on the other? Dibba is one such site. If you are someone who is completely done enduring busy city life, tour this soothing destination in the UAE. Just driving to this area through a picturesque route is enough to blow your mind.

Driving in Dubai

Driving in Dubai is one of the several exciting things you can do in the UAE.

If you aren’t accustomed to driving long wide roads, then it might at first appear a little challenging for you. But you will surely get used to it anyway.

There is also another thing that you must know, which is how everyone else in the UAE drives.

Ignoring the usage of light indicators, driving far above the speed limit, or changing the driving lanes like theirs is the only vehicle on the road are some of the typical things that you can surely anticipate while driving in Dubai.

On the other hand, there have been recent laws established about driving in Dubai that were strictly imposed to make people drive responsibly. This will certainly produce more value in regards to everyone’s safety and a relatively less number of road accidents.

Driving Rules in Dubai

  • All vehicles are driven on the right side of the road in Dubai.
  • The driver including all passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Those younger than 13 years old must be seated in the passenger seat, while children between the ages of 4 and 8 must be seated on a booster seat
  • Drivers must use hands-free devices if talking on their mobile phones.
  • The speed limit in Dubai goes to be between 40 and 80 km/ph, yet the limit alters depending on the type of road and area. On motorways, the speed limit is 100-120 km/ph and the minimum speed allowed is 60 km/ph. In urban areas, the standard speed limit is 40-80 km/ph and in residential areas, the speed limit is around 40 km/ph. When in built-up, service, or parking areas, the speed limit should be as low as 25 km/ph.

Documents Needed While Driving in Dubai

  • It’s mandatory for everyone who plans to drive in the UAE to have an international drivers’ license to supplement their own license. If you are an expatriate citizen of the UAE, you must acquire a local license.
  • While no other documents are required, it will be beneficial to bring the vehicle registration document, proof of insurance, and proof of identity with you at all times.
  • Keep in mind that if you intend to drive a rental car in Dubai, there’s no need for you to apply for a temporary license, but you still need to obtain an IDP – International Driving Permit (required as of January 2007).

Important Thing to Remember While Driving in Dubai

  • All speed limits are well-visible on road signs.
  • Latest traffic signs have been added for tram safety and fines have been included for driving in red lights at tram junctions (a fine of as much as AED 30,000). A lot of driving schools are offering ‘Tram Theory’ classes to support the added regulations.
  • All cars must be well maintained, insured, and registered. For cars that are being used for over two years, a road-worthiness test is mandatory yearly. 
  • If you intend to drive a private car in Dubai, owning a temporary or permanent license is necessary.
  • The Dubai Police states that if you hold an IDP, then your home country driving license is no longer needed but bring it just in case. Rental car companies usually ask for both.
  • There is a ‘black point’ system for driving licenses in Dubai. Points can be imposed along with fines for a whole custom of traffic offenses, most notably, speeding. If you gained 24 points in one year, then your driving license will be canceled for at least three months. It is possible to engage in driving courses to lessen points, although this is only at the discretion of the police.   
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol will gain you the greatest number of points (24) and penalties: your car will be confiscated, and court procedures will take place. If alcohol has been consumed or if you are drunk, then taking a taxi or similar is advisable.  
  • All accidents, no matter how small, must be reported to the police so that they can quickly assess the severity of the accident and issue the appropriate penalty. Victims of accidents will obtain a green paper slip for necessary claims. This paper must be presented to insurance companies to do any repairs needed.

Road Tolls in Dubai

The nonexistence of toll booths in Dubai guarantees that road travel is unbroken and hassle-free.

Toll collection in Dubai is managed via Salik toll points, an automated toll collection method that deducts AED 4 from your prepaid toll account. For rented vehicles, the fees are deducted by the rental service through the RTA Salik system.

To get a better understanding of the toll system in the Emirate, take a look at how the Salik system works in Dubai.

Hiring a Car in Dubai

If you are considering renting a car in Dubai, that could be the greatest idea you have ever had because it will surely improve your Dubai trip in so many ways!

We all know that taking public transportation and even taxis to get to the most desirable spots in the city and/or country is painful and can be quite time-consuming. It’s something that will test your patience!

Dubai is a great place built for driving. With its amazing road network and high-quality highways, you won’t gain any problems while navigating the city and its surroundings by car while appreciating the incredible and scenic promenades and desert landscape.

Car Rental Companies in Dubai

Firstly, please rent from a “real” car rental company. Read reviews online or talk to friends to find out whether they have had any good/bad encounters with them.

Now, what type of car do you prefer? Hatchback, sedan, SUV? Of course, the more premium the car, the more pricey it is. How long do you intend to rent it? for a day, for a week, for a month?

Ask about parking? Check if the rental company issues any RTA parking cards for the car or ask them directly if it can be arranged. And don’t forget to ask for Salik as well.

When you collect the car from the pick-up point, check it inside and out. Ask if you can perform a test drive before accepting it. If there are any problems, return the car and ask for a proper replacement or refund.

If the issue is not resolved or the rental company doesn’t seem to solve the issue, proceed to the consumer courts of the UAE and address the problem.

These are the best car rental companies you can find in the UAE.

Documents Needed When Hiring a Car in Dubai

If you plan on touring and driving around Dubai, one of your priorities will be to rent a car. But that just fills a part of your to-do list. All tourists must first do before renting a car to ensure that they carry the necessary documents needed for the rental process. What are the documents needed for hiring a car in Dubai? Let’s find out.

The documents needed to hire a car in the United Arab Emirates vary for residents and tourists. For example, car rental companies in Dubai will normally expect residents to provide copies of their passport, residential visa, valid UAE driving license, and Emirates ID.

Tourists, on the other hand, are expected to present the following documents for rent a car in Dubai:

  • Original passport
  • Original visit visa
  • International driving permit
  • Original driving license from their home country

Insurance Needed When Hiring a Car in Dubai

Car insurance should not be taken lightly, and car rental companies know that! That is the reason they do the best they can to serve you.

In the Emirates, the law demands rental companies to implement third party liability insurance included on the rental price, however, there are still specific optional insurances that you can obtain on top of that:

  • Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) – it will help you if the car is damaged or stolen;
  • Personal Effects Cover – you will be covered if something from your personal belongings is stolen inside your hired car;
  • Personal Accident Insurance – the medical costs are covered in case there’s an accident.

In most cases, several car rental companies would offer you multiple insurance options during the rental procedure. There are also banks abroad that offer rental car insurance which comes free of charge on your credit card. Check with your bank to know how you can save up costs.

If you want to drive off-road and do some dune bashing, check first with your car rental company to see if they will allow insurance for that or if it’s even allowed at all. Some companies don’t allow off-roading so it is better to know it beforehand! Always remember to double-check your insurance balance to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

It is not advisable to go road-tripping by yourself; it’s always better to go in a group of two cars or more. Driving in the dunes demands certain skills, and it is absolutely not for newbies!

PRO TIP: In case an accident happens, you can always dial 112 or 999 with your mobile phone for emergency assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the age limit when hiring a car in Dubai?

Any tourist who wishes to hire a car in Dubai must be at least 21 years of age and should hold an International Driving License.

Is parking available in Dubai?

Parking in UAE is always available but you have to pay for it, and parking meters are placed all over UAE.

What to do in the case of a car breakdown or accident?

Call the police and stay with the vehicle until the police arrive to make a report that will be submitted to the car rental company to make an insurance claim.

Can anyone else drive the car?

Yes, an additional drive can be included with a minimal fee. You just have to inform the car rental company and have the added driver submit the documents required.

Can I return the car to a different drop-off location?

Yes, you can. When you change the return location of the rental car, a location-based charge may apply.

What happens if I return the car late?

An added daily charge is applied.

Can I drive the car off-road?

Off-road use of a rental car is not allowed and is a violation of the rental agreement.

Final Thoughts

Renting a car in Dubai is very simple as most car rentals now enable you to book a car of your preference from the comfort of your home. Also, car rentals accommodate more reliability and ease of use than taking public transportation systems.

Using public transportation in Dubai can be stressful, tiring, time-consuming, and packed with so many hassles. Car rentals eliminate your dependency on public transport and empower you to enjoy the city with the freedom to move from one place to another with minimal ease.

So, next time you visit Dubai, make sure you obtain a car Dubai service to enjoy pleasant trips in the city.