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Tips and Tricks

Here are some of our top insider tips and tricks to help you get settled into your new life and make the most out of the UAE.


Modern Arabic cuisine comes from a blend of Moroccan, Tunisian, Iranian and Egyptian cooking styles. Mouthwatering delights include shawarma, sliced meat served in a pita bread with salad and tahina. Leave room to try fattayer, small pastries filled with cottage cheese and spinach; and be sure not to miss umm ali dessert.


Avoid long queues at airport immigration control by getting eGate facility in your Resident ID for just Dhs.150 for two years. Apply at the airport or GDRFA office.


Always take a one-dirham coin with you when you go grocery shopping. You will need it to get a trolley at most supermarkets.


Try to keep small denomination notes on hand. Offering Dhs.500 or Dhs.1,000 notes to clerks or taxi will often elicit requests for something smaller. If you are insistent enough, sometimes they will cave in and break it for you.


File and keep ALL of your receipts, especially those from phone and utility companies, to prove you have paid. Also make sure you get a receipt for any security deposits you make and any services you pay for.


Make lots of photocopies of your passport, Emirates ID and visa to keep on hand. If you can, scan these documents and keep an electronic version in an easy-access place (like the cloud), ready to print.


For nights in, food delivery apps are your best friends.


When getting petrol at Abu Dhabi stations, you can pull up to any open pump regardless of which side your tank is on. In Dubai, you must pull up with your fuel cap on the same side as the pump.


If someone tells you your request is not possible, ask again. And again. Often after the third or fourth ask you can reach some sort of solution or compromise.


Never pay full price. There are vouchers galore in magazines, on websites, with your ADCB Touchpoints, loyalty cards and many more places. Keep track of new places you'd like to go and cross-check them against the month's deals.


Read up our Do's and Don't's section and be respectful.