Packing for Abu Dhabi

Travel Tips — By randallparker on July 18, 2010 at 6:29 am

Abu Dhabi

To many potential travelers, Abu Dhabi must seem like a mysterious, exotic outpost in the Middle East devoid of the familiar items that make life easier in the West. Nothing could be further from the truth. This city is home to world-class malls, modern pharmacies, huge grocery stores and state-of-the electronics vendors. Most everything one could desire is available here. However, there are a few exceptions.

Necessary items: Pack summer clothes no matter what season it is. Bring a few favorite core items and shop for extras when you arrive. Don’t hesitate to bring essential electronic devices. Although voltage here is 240VAC/50Hz, most chargers adjust (check the label). The default wall outlets are of the British three-prong style but inexpensive cube adapters that accommodate most plugs are available everywhere. If you intend to rent a car, an International Driver’s License is required and is available at your local auto club before departure.

Totally unnecessary items: No need to lug sunscreen, sandals, beach towels,  formal clothes or over the counter medicines halfway around the world when you can get all of these in Abu Dhabi. For those planning a romantic second (or third!) honeymoon, even the popular “ED” pills are available here without prescription. Travel light outbound and leave room to bring your new purchases back home.

Things you may not think to pack but might come in handy: If aspirin is your choice of pain reliever, bring if from home. It is available in Abu Dhabi but is insanely expensive and is not formulated as the swallow type but of the dissolve in water and drink sort. This is perplexing as ibuprophen is normal. Binoculars are always a plus.

Items you must leave at home: Abu Dhabi is modern and progressive city, but its roots and culture are Muslim. This means some OTC and prescription drugs are restricted entry into the U.A.E.. Read the list here for the latest official exclusions. It’s also a good idea to leave the thong bikini at home too, although most anything else goes. Delete those “iffy” files from the laptop, objectionable materials are forbidden.

One last hint: Make liberal use of en-route or airport duty-free liquor purchases. Once you leave the Abu Dhabi airport upon arrival, you will have no opportunities to acquire that 12 year old bottle of single malt scotch in the city to help chase away the jetlag. See Duty Free Rules .

A good rule of thumb is to pack the same basics as you would for a summer week in Wichita, with the above caveats in mind of course. After all, you aren’t “in Kansas” anymore!
Tags: "Abu Dhabi", "duty free".packing, customs, restrictions, rules, tourist, UAE


  • Seth Ness says:

    Superb posting, I have already been searching for a wonderful place to take a vacation and this specific blog genuinely helps! In case you know of any additional similar to it if possible shoot my family an e-mail and let me know.


Get Trackback URL
  1. Dallas Daily News – » Blog Archive » Travel Like a Local: What to Pack, What to Ditch for Amsterdam, Cancun, Jerusalem, Los Angeles… - July 28, 2010