This trip was epic and here is why! Dubai (Arabic: دبيّ ) is the most populous city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the second largest emirate by territorial size after the capital, Abu Dhabi. We picked the perfect time to travel in February because we heard it can get really hot there later in the Summer and Fall.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the hub for Etihad. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
I purchased this bright green suitcase from TJ Maxx. Not only was it affordable but also lightweight. This was the perfect piece of luggage to bring with me on my trip. My original plan was to use this as a carry on but Etihad has strict weight requirements and my bag was over the weight limit (booo). At first I was annoyed because I realized I could have brought way more stuff but in the long run it was probably for the best anyway. I brought exactly what I needed!
Our flight landed in Abu Dhabi but we mostly stayed in Dubai for the entire trip. When we did visit Abu Dhabi we made sure to check out Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
If you are into making your own clothing or using designer fabrics, I highly recommend shopping in the Gold Souk area. Not only will you find gold there but also fabrics and other amazing items as well (someone tried to sell us purses and weave, that was interesting!)
All gold everythang! Gold all in my watch ... gold all in my chain ... listen when I heard that they have a strip that sold nothing but gold I was sold. Don't be fooled! Just because we're in the UAE doesn't mean it's going to be CHEAP. The good news is you can try to bargain but the prices are going to be what's expected. Since our money is worth more there you can get a deal but it's not a whole lot less. The quality though is amazing! Once I got there I realized that the gold I've had in the past can nowhere compare to this gold. This gold looked like the gold you see draped on rappers in music videos or on boxers like Floyd Mayweather. Bling!
You know for the majority of the trip I did this updo look. Click here to read the beauty essentials
I brought along with me for the ride. This hair do needed to be slicked back at all times and I had just the product to get it done.
I got this really cute two-piece outfit from Tobi.com. I shop there a lot in the Spring/Summer because they have great discount deals and they ship FAST. First time customers receive 50% off, sign up soon!
This was my first time getting henna! Want to see how this process is done? Check out
Promise Phans video on how to do it yourself.
Everything we ate was very fresh! The seafood was delicious especially this lobster dish.
Even though they did have Starbucks (and tons of other American restaurants like - Cheesecake Factory, McDonalds, even Popeyes!) I still wanted to try a place I haven't been to before. Kelly and I every morning took a trip to Costa to get a blended expresso that didn't disappoint.
Our hotel was amazing! We all loved it. We stayed at the Dubai Marriott Marina and had three bedrooms, two floors, a huge kitchen and living room. It was the perfect penthouse suite! The staff at the hotel were very friendly and helpful. They had a pool on the roof deck, as well as a spa with a Jacuzzi and showers.While we were waiting for our room to be ready we enjoyed hanging
out at the spa and even made a friend from London.
At night we enjoyed going out to dinner, taking a boat ride on the water with new friends, going to clubs like White Dubai and spending time with each other.
Was I scared? Hell yeah. They may not look big in this photo but this camel was huge. Just getting on that thing had me terrified but as you can see I made it. If you go on a safari I suggest wearing loose clothing and sneakers or sandals that you can easily walk in. Bring an extra camera battery or back up phone charger because you won't be able to plug in. Although these packages were purchased through Groupon a lot of people tend to forget that the staff at these locations get overlooked. Be friendly and give them a tip : ) they will appreciate it.
THE SCOOP ...
Etihad Airline: I have to admit I was nervous before flying on Etihad because it has such a bad online reputation. People talk about the discomfort of the airplane and that it's not as great as the others. I was shocked when I actually flew on it and had an amazing experience. I'm only 5'5 so perhaps a larger person could feel a bit snug but I felt comfortable. The food on the airline was good, some of it a bit odd (for breakfast they gave us eggs and beans) but overall I enjoyed the food. They give you unlimited alcohol! When you aren't sleeping you can enjoy movies and TV shows. The movies were brand new, I finally got to watch Frozen and they also featured films such as Gone Girl and Nightwalker.
Culture/People: I always felt very safe in Dubai. The people are so friendly and welcoming. Everyone was very respectful. In the club, the men were never rude or inappropriate which I can appreciate (living in New York). We had a great time meeting people and getting to know them and we made friends from Sudan to London and Hungry!
Food: It was very difficult to find authentic food from there because they pull from so many different backgrounds including American. As I mentioned above I probably saw every American restaurant that you could imagine. From Auntie Annie's, to Popeye's, to Church's Chicken. The most authentic it got was the safari which consisted of a chicken kebab and rice. I heard one of the highlights of Dubai are the brunches there. Unfortunately, we didn't get to experience the champagne brunch but if I were to go back I'd check it out.
Tours/Nightline/Activities: As a group we talked about the things that we wanted to do the most in the UAE. On the top of the list was shopping (we're girls so that's obvious), the gold souks, the gold ATM, safari desert, a yacht ride, and visiting the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque can hold up to 40,000 worshipers and is a must see! We were happy to discover that Dubai has Groupon! Its great to take advantage of these deals but I highly suggest you do this BEFORE the trip not during. It's a lot easier to book these tours in advance.