50 ways to make life in Dubai easier
The wonderful folk at good magazine have compiled 50 apps, websites and services that will make life in Dubai a walk in the park.
Life here in the UAE can be a little, umm, taxing at times, from ever-changing red tape to unnecessary queues.
Thank goodness then for a bit of tech and a lot of logic, all of which good have rounded up to ease your stress levels.
The RTA Smart Parking app is essential for car owners in Dubai. It allows you to pay for parking either through the app or by SMS, reminds you when your time has expired, and will even inform you on how many vacant parking spaces are left.
This must-have app allows you to do everything from paying your DEWA bills, traffic fines, or Salik tariff to metro travel, live accident info and even planning your child’s vaccinations. It doesn’t stop there either; mDubai will help you find a doctor’s clinic, flight arrivals and departures, nearest pharmacy… The list goes on.
The UAE Yellow Pages is a great online business directory for local searches. Acquire info such as phone numbers and location maps to website links,
emails and ads.
This website/app will allow you to find out about everything going on in Dubai including exhibitions, concerts, conferences, festivals, promotions and every other possible type of event be it, art, fashion, health, culture or sport, as well as offering itineraries to help you plan your time off, or trips for visitors.
This handy app is a must-click, allowing you to pay your fines, report crimes, or report a traffic accident. The app also informs you on the contact details and location of your nearest police station, and even contains an SOS button for immediate assistance. Just try not to press it by accident when you’re paying a parking ticket.
View and pay your monthly DEWA bills with this useful app. Not only that, but this application also provides you with tips and videos on how to optimise your electricity and water consumption, and will even give you the ability to activate the electricity and water supply when you move into a new house.
The DHA smartphone app provides easy access to numerous healthcare services on your device. The app contains features such as the location of DHA facilities near you, blood drives in your area, BMI calculator, or even having your sick leave verified.
This comparison website offers UAE-based data by the bucketload, looking at credit cards, mortgages, schools, nurseries, loans and more. It’s all searchable, and there are blog posts on financial news as well as lifestyle ideas.
Language barriers are a thing of the past. This app allows you to magically speak in another language, translating everything you say into whatever language you choose using voice recognition. Mother tongues become other tongues with this bit of kit installed. And people said mobile phones had killed face-to-face conversations. Pfft.
Afterschool serves as a marketplace for extracurricular activities for the little ones across the UAE. Explore thousands of activities, with easy access to dates, times, locations and prices so you can easily identify what’s available, and which would work best for you and your little one.
If you need a hand keeping your home in check, Helping’s Dubai-based branch are a company that offers up well-trained and professional cleaners for affordable prices. So if your home just needs a quick sweep without the need to commit to a full time helper, then Helpling are your people.
For those of you banking with Emirates NBD, you can now bank on your smartphone for all your Internet banking needs. Whether it’s paying a bill, or just checking to see if you really can afford that night out, this app has you covered.
With so many mega-malls and great shops, it can sometimes be hard to keep on top of your expenses. UAE-built app Wally tracks all your spends, noting everything you’ve bought against your monthly income so you (should) never overspend again. You can even scan in your receipts, with Wally doing all the maths so you don’t have to.
Mashaweer have come up with a useful solution to running those pesky errands. The answer? Have somebody else do it! In just 90 minutes, they can have that parcel delivered for you, drop that cheque off at the bank, renew the car’s registration or even drop your kid’s gym bag off at school. Using the map on their website, users can receive a quote for the task in hand and have Mashaweer on the case as soon as possible.
If your car is still grubby from last week’s dune bashing, or just don’t have the time to clean it yourself, GreenSteaM was set up for you. The team provides instant, convenient and quality car washing with just the click of a button. No longer will you have to wait in those long queues at gas stations to clean your car, there’s now an app for it.
There’s nothing more annoying than going to someone’s house, only to leave your sunglasses and have to drive all the way back the next day. With Fetchr, using a picture of whatever it is you’ve forgotten, you can have someone pick it up and deliver it straight to your door.
For the health-conscious homeowner, The Healthy Home provide sanitation services for your surfaces, sofa, mattresses and everything in between. Check out their website also for tips on how to keep your home clean, plus health facts about the UAE.
Ideal for start-ups who can’t afford (or don’t need) a full-time member of staff but would find an extra expert pair of hands useful, MyPA offers services including dictation, travel booking, proof reading and more. The Dubai-based company can devise various packages depending on your requirements, and you don’t need to worry about their holidays, sick days or HR woes.
The last thing you need after the stork delivers a new baby (ahem) is the stress of paperwork. And there is a lot of paperwork. Baby Steps can collect the parents’ ID and a few forms then process essential documents, such as the birth certificate, visas and passport, so all you need to do is enjoy the latest addition to your family. They can pick up and drop off at hospitals and home.
SHOPPING AND DEALS
If you live in the UAE, you must know about The Entertainer. They serve as the leading provider of ‘buy one get one free’ deals on meals, beauty, attractions and more across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. There are literally thousands of deals to choose from, whether you buy a book or use the app.
This awesome app gives users the ability to sell their second-hand stuff in less than a minute. Just snap a picture of it, lay down some #hashtags, choose a category and then post it for other Melltoo users to see. You can also check out what’s for sale in your neighbourhood, seeing nearby items on a map. One person’s trash is another’s treasure (most of the time).
Crazy Deals is a Dubai-based website offering up great prices on all kinds of products ranging from mobile phones to make-up. With their ‘Craze of the Day’, and ‘Dhs99 only’ section you can expect to score some pretty serious discounts.
Dealgobbler is an essential must-know website for shoppers who love a good bargain. With a policy of only accepting experiences with a discount of no less than 50 percent you’ll find it hard not to visit their website without an impulse buy.
dubizzle is wildly popular amongst the Middle East and North Africa, and for good reason. Dubbed the ‘Gumtree of the UAE’, dubizzle is an online marketplace
for classified ads offering users the ability to buy, sell and find nearly absolutely everything within their community, as well as adverts for jobs, pets and that all important property section.
Whether you need to stock up on food for your furry little friend, or accessories for your aquarium, Pet’s Delight will deliver (literally). Their online store contains everything you could possibly need to keep your pet, plus any orders over Dhs100 receive free delivery. Purrfect no?
Buy and sell new, used and refurbished products across a wide range of categories with ease. Pretty much anything can be found; whether you’re looking for a great price on a new TV, or even a coat for your pet pup, but their tech range is what they’re best known for, thanks to regular sales and UAE exclusives.
For the bespectacled bunch across the emirates, you can now have contact lenses delivered to your door as if you’d ordered a takeaway. Payment is made via card or by cash on delivery, and we’re loving the quality of customer service, from phone calls to confirm orders to personalised notes and free Haribo sweets with the delivery.
Quite possibly the most happening online destination in the Middle East for fashion and footwear. Namshi offer up quality local, in-store and international brands for affordable prices. Ordering off Namshi is like ordering a pizza; you pay cash on delivery (delivery is free), and if you don’t like it, you can exchange it for free. Plus they now carry Topshop. Dangerous.
FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT
Dinner Time have introduced an incredibly innovative idea to the Middle East, delivering a box of all the ingredients you need along with four recipes for you to be able to prepare four family meals each week. The menu is well-balanced and fresh, so if you find yourself never knowing which ingredients to buy for your dinner, this service is well worth a try. Dishes take no longer than 30 minutes to prepare, Paleo and gluten-free menus are available, and prices start from Dhs320 per week for two.
Desert Chill, dubbed ‘the coolest business in town’ bring the concept of your local friendly ice cream van to the UAE. Don’t fret though, if you live on the 30th floor and are worried you won’t be able to hear the ice cream van’s music over the hustle and bustle of the city, they provide a schedule on their website so you can know exactly when and where they’re going to be. If you still can’t chill out, and need your ice cream fix now, you can even place an order for home delivery or use the app. Perfect for parties or private events, or just for ice cream lovers all over town.
Roundmenu is a must-know forum for foodies where, at a glance, you can see the rating, price, style and location of all the restaurants in the Middle East. Additionally, in many locations booking through Roundmenu can also bag you a discount.
For new cooks, or for those just looking to simplify things, it can sometimes be difficult trying to figure out which ingredients to buy for your meals, or even how to effectively chop up veg. However, it doesn’t nece-celery have to be this way (sorry). The team at Hellochef will chop and prep all the ingredients needed for your meal, and have it delivered to your house along with a short video-recipe to help you create whichever meal it was you ordered.
One for the film fanatics. Vox Cinemas’ app will let you view all the current movie times and movies coming soon. You can watch a trailer, find a cinema near you, or grab a quick ticket for that midnight screening with payment online.
Zomato’s mission is to make sure that nobody ever has a bad meal again. Discover great places around you to dine out, or the best takeaways in your area if you fancy dining in. The team at Zomato stay up to date by visiting each restaurant once three months to make sure their data is fresh, but it’s the user-generated content that make it worth a visit – always entertaining, these reviews tell it like it is.
For the veggie loving consumer, Greenheart have mastered the art of growing some of the best organic produce in possibly one of the most difficult environments. You can have all the veggies and organic food you desire delivered straight to your door with their home delivery service, or check out their shop in Barsha South 2 for all the nutritious and delicious produce you could possibly need.
Travall serves as a virtual concierge for Dubai. It offers up thousands of videos and info on various locations around the city, plus vouchers and discounts in some of your favourite stores. Share a video review with other ‘Travallers’ about your favourite spots, and accumulate points from using the app to cash in on even more rewards.
Parents may know all too well the process of succumbing to their children’s pleas to buy a toy, only for them to become bored with it after a week. Toya Games have the solution to that problem, offering up the ability to rent the toys and games your children need to learn, grow and develop effectively. You’ll never have to worry about your kid outgrowing a toy again. And if they really like their new toy, you can look into purchasing it.
Animals are banned from public transport here in the UAE, so the Pet Taxi is a much-needed service for pedestrian animal lovers. Great for taking them to the vets or meeting friends for a walk, the cabs need to be booked 24 hours in advance, but there is an emergency service available. They can also transport pets internationally.
2GIS provides offline maps and business listings for Dubai, serving as a brilliant travel guide and navigation app. With this app installed, you no longer have an excuse to get lost, and it won’t gobble up your data. The listings, roads and public transport routes get updated regularly, and are all laid out over a user-friendly 3D map.
You’ve driven to a night out, and now you’re a bit, erm, tired and it’s definitely not safe (or legal) to drive anywhere. And there’s nothing worse than waking up from a night out and having to locate your car after taking a cab home. Safer Driver might be the answer – you can book ahead, telling them a time and place to meet, or contact them on the night, and they will send out a driver who will take you and your vehicle home. Prices depend on location, but it’s generally around twice the price of a taxi. And the sound system is already loaded up with your music.
Careem serves as the UBER of the Middle East. Book yourself a lift in less than 20 seconds, and get picked up in less than 20 minutes. Payment is made through a registered credit card, so you don’t have to worry about carrying cash or having the correct change.
For those of you who fly frequently with Emirates, their smartphone app is a must-have. Book flights from your phone, check your Skywards account, track Emirates flights on the map or even just check out which movies are going to be showing on your next flight.
We all know how easy it is to get lost driving around Dubai. For those of us without a GPS or a smartphone with 3G, fret not. The RTA Smart Drive app serves as a GPS that doesn’t require an internet connection, meaning you’ll never find yourself thinking, ‘but I don’t want to turn onto Sheikh Zayed Road…’ again.
Dubai is a large city, and if you’ve ever had the dubious pleasure of living somewhere slightly obscure then you know all too well the struggle of having to direct each taxi you get into like a human GPS. With the Makani app, residents and tourists will receive a number for their household that they can then give to taxi drivers in order to help locate your destination. No longer will you spend the last ten minutes of your taxi ride reciting the rehearsed, ‘okay left here, then right, then left…’. Check your apartment building for its dedicated number.
Taxi-replacement service UBER allows you to request a ride and get picked up within minutes. Choose your pickup and drop-off location in advance, and pay using Google Wallet, PayPal or by credit card for cashless convenience. Once you’ve requested a ride, you can even track how far the driver is from your house. Pretty uber-cool huh?
FASHION & BEAUTY
Bellefemme bring the salon to you, offering a home service for those who don’t have time for the full salon experience around their busy schedules. Bellefemme turn up and transform your home into a temporary beauty centre, providing everything you could possibly need to leave you feeling a belle femme (although we’re sure you were before anyway).
You can either go to them, or Azur Spa on Wheelz can come to you, bringing all the treatments, candles, machines, decoration and therapists necessary to pamper you in the comfort of your own home. Also, if the hubby is feeling left out, Azur can pamper him too. It’s 2015; can’t a man have a manicure if he wants?
Aside from offering a wide range of women’s fashion, accessories and clothing online, ValleyDez have booted up a new venture that brings the latest styles to you. Their ‘fashion wagon’ will make it easier for you to wear the latest looks, bringing the best trends straight to your home. Choose from your favourites, try them on, and receive expert advice from the stylists all in the comfort of your own home.
Going to the tailor is no longer a hassle, so say goodbye to Bur Dubai traffic and Satwa parking woes. All you have to do is call, and one of the 800 Tailor team will come and pay you a visit be it at the office, your home, or anywhere around the city to come and measure you up. Once tailored, the garments will be delivered to your door. A service that suits anyone.
BEEM, (short for beauty emergency) is a new Dubai-based app that allows you to browse, edit and request specific beauty treatments at a time and a location that suit you. Everything from eyelash extensions to getting that much-needed massage, BEEM can find you a solution to all your beauty requirements, from bad hair day disasters to petty pedi-problems.
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