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What to Pack for Abu Dhabi (7)

Are you wondering what to pack for Abu Dhabi, the vibrant capital of the United Arab Emirates?

With its towering skyscrapers, rich cultural sites, and breathtaking desert landscapes, Abu Dhabi caters to all types of travelers. Prior to setting off on your trip, thoughtful packing is key to ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience.

It’s important to remember that Abu Dhabi adheres to Islamic customs, so dressing modestly is recommended. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll offer insights into all of the essential items for your trip to Abu Dhabi!

What to Pack for Abu Dhabi (16)

For Entry into Abu Dhabi

Visa (if required)

Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa before traveling to Abu Dhabi. Check the visa requirements for your country well in advance.

I have an American passport and my husband has a Spanish passport. Both of us got a free visa on arrival at the airport!

You can check if you’re eligible for the free visa on arrival here.

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in Abu Dhabi.

Travel Insurance

Insurance is not mandatory for entry into Abu Dhabi, but I highly recommended it in case of any unexpected medical expenses or emergencies during your trip. We opted for insurance through Allianz.

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What to Pack for Abu Dhabi (17)

Everyday Essentials to Pack for Abu Dhabi

Sun protection

Don’t forget sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the intense sun (especially during summer when temperatures can reach 45°C/113°F).

Credit card + cash

Although credit cards and Apple Pay are commonly used in Abu Dhabi, having some cash on hand is advisable, particularly for minor expenses or when exploring local markets (souks).

Exchange currency prior to your journey or withdraw cash from ATMs upon arrival to prevent any inconvenience. Remember to decline the currency conversion option at ATMs to avoid unnecessary fees and save money.

Medications

Make sure to stock up on any medications you may need. Abu Dhabi has many pharmacies, but your specific medication may not be available.

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Moisturizer or lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Make up
  • Hair brush
  • Razor + shaving cream
  • After sun lotion
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What to Wear in Abu Dhabi

Lightweight, breathable clothing

Pack fabrics such as cotton and linen to stay cool in Abu Dhabi’s hot climate. Loose-fitting clothing is perfect for comfort and modesty.

Long sleeved-shirts and pants

Aside from protecting yourself from the intense sun, respect local customs by opting for long-sleeved shirts and pants. This is especially important when visiting mosques or other religious sites.

Long dresses

If you’re more comfortable in a long dress, just make sure your knees and shoulders are covered. If you plan on visiting a mosque, you will need the dress to be ankle length and cover your arms as well.

Swimwear with good coverage

If you plan to visit the beaches or hotel pools, don’t forget to pack swimwear. Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to break in that new one piece swimsuit or modest two piece. You won’t need the teeny tiny bikini for this trip.

Scarves

Pack a lightweight scarf or two to cover your shoulders (and/or hair) when entering mosques or other religious sites.

Comfortable walking shoes

Whether you’re exploring the city streets or heading off on an adventure to the desert, comfortable walking shoes are a must. Opt for breathable footwear suitable for warm weather.

Sandals

If you plan on visiting the water park or beach club, don’t forget your sandals!

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What to Pack for Abu Dhabi (10)

Beach/Waterpark Essentials

Dry bag

Keep your valuables and electronics safe by storing them in a dry bag while at the beach or waterpark. These waterproof bags seal tightly to keep your things dry and secure.

Travel towel

If you’re heading to the beach or waterpark, a compact travel towel will come in handy. Opt for towels made from microfiber, as they dry quickly and don’t take up much space.

Water shoes

While you don’t really need water shoes for the beach, if you’re taking a day trip to Yas Waterworld, consider packing water shoes for added traction on slippery floors and protection for your feet.

Cover up

Pack a lightweight cover-up or beach dress to slip on over your swimwear when walking around the beach or waterpark.

Waterproof phone case

Keep your phone safe and dry by using a waterproof phone pouch or case. This way you can take photos and videos near the water without worrying about damaging your phone.

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Electronics

Travel adaptor

Pack a travel adaptor to charge your electronic devices! Abu Dhabi uses the Type G electrical plug.

Camera

Don’t miss out on capturing the beauty of Abu Dhabi. Bring along your compact camera or DSLR and don’t forget extra memory cards + batteries.

Portable charger

Keep your phone charged on the go with a portable charger. This is especially useful for long days of sightseeing or excursions.

Tripod

If you’re traveling solo or want some couples/family photos, bring a lightweight tripod! While tripods aren’t allowed at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you can use them to get some incredible shots at Wahat Al Karama or other places around the city.

Phone + phone charger

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What to Pack for Abu Dhabi (14)

Special Considerations + Packing Tips

Abu Dhabi boasts a rich blend of traditional and contemporary influences, reflecting its diverse cultural landscape. Although the dress code is generally lenient for tourists, it’s important to honor local customs by dressing modestly, especially when exploring religious sites or residential areas. Opt for attire that is neither too revealing nor provocative, and ensure you have a shawl or scarf on hand to cover your shoulders when necessary.

Packing tips

  • Stay organized and keep your clothes easily accessible by using packing cubes.
  • If you plan on visiting the desert, bring an extra scarf or bandana to protect your face from blowing sand.
  • Leave some space in your suitcase for souvenirs or some traditional clothes you may buy! I bought a beautiful abaya when I was in Abu Dhabi for only $20 and I will definitely be wearing it to visit mosques in other countries!
  • Beat the summer heat during outdoor excursions by packing a cooling towel or portable fan.

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Hi! I'm Carrie Salter, a travel blogger originally from the USA, but now traveling and living abroad full time. I share travel guides, travel tips, and inspiration from around the world!

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