A quick guide to planning the ultimate UAE road trip
Let’s hit the road…
As the weather gets cooler and we find ourselves venturing further outdoors, it’s the perfect time to start planning an epic road trip. There’s so many exciting places to discover in the UAE and beyond, which are all easily accessible by car.
What to do
Firstly gather your friends together and decide where you want to go. Whether it’s one of the other six emirates, or further afield to Oman, and then check out the following tips to help you get there in the safest and most fun possible way.
Check the weather forecast
Even if your trip doesn’t involve camping or being outdoors for very long, it’s always better to prepare yourself for the weather you’ll be experiencing. For example in times of heavy fog or one of the UAE’s freak storms, you might want to postpone the trip to when it’s safer to be on the road for a long period of time.
Bring another driver
The last thing you want is to be on a road trip with a group of people who can’t/don’t drive. If you get tired or fall unwell, it’s much safer to have someone with you who can take over the wheel for a while. Just make sure your car insurance covers multiple drivers.
The bigger the better
If you’re headed somewhere for the first time, you never know what the roads on your journey will be like. Therefore it’s safer to go in a 4×4 car, which are built to handle all types of terrain. Plus there will likely be more space for all of your stuff.
Before you go, make sure to get your car checked so you know that there are no issues with your tires, oil, engine etc. Plan out your entire route so you have a good idea of the roads you’ll be taking. If you’re going to cross borders then it may be quicker to organise your visa online before-hand, so you don’t have to wait at the gate. It’s also worth noting that most car insurance policies will only cover the UAE, so check if you need to purchase additional insurance for the time that you’re away.
As they say, it’s not always about the destination, it’s the journey. Road trips can be a really fun way to get away with friends and loved ones and all get to know each other a bit better. Make a fun playlist to keep you entertained on the road and bring plenty of water and snacks to enjoy on the way.
Where to go
There are so many incredible destinations reachable within a few hours’ drive. You only have to travel an hour or so out of Dubai to feel as though you’re in a completely different country. Here are some of our favourite places to go on a road trip to.
Hatta: less than 2 hours
This stunning destination feels a world away from Dubai, despite being located within the emirate. Perfect for the outdoorsy types, there’s so many activities available to take part in while you’re there including kayaking, archery, mountain biking, caravaning and hiking. The Hatta Wadi Hub will reopen for the new season on October 1.
Snoopy Island: 2.5 hours
Located in Fujairah, Snoopy Island is the ultimate getaway for snorkelers. It’s famous for its cartoon dog-shaped rock mysteriously floating out at sea but the real attraction is the stunning coral reef living below the water. The surrounding beaches are equally beautiful, making it the perfect weekend staycation spot.
Jebel Hafeet: 2.5 hours
One of the UAE’s only natural attractions, Jebel Hafeet, stands proudly over Al Ain. This 1,240 metre-high mountain has a twisting road, often frequented by cyclists, which may prove a feat for those with car-sickness, but it’s worth the seven-mile drive to reach the cooler temperature and panoramic views. It’s also not far from Al Ain Zoo if you’re keen to interact with wildlife.
Jebel Jais: 3 hours
For those seeking a real adrenaline filled-adventure, ‘Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline’ measures 2.83 kilometers long (that’s the equivalent of more than 28 football pitches), and runs through the mountains of Jebel Jais at a hair-raising 1,680 metres above sea level. You can also take on the Via Ferrata Ras Al Khaimah which involves climbing through Jebel Jais while being guided by steel cables.
Muscat: 4.5 hours
While you can fly to Muscat pretty inexpensively, it also makes a great road trip destination for a long-weekend away. Our Omani neighbours are usually extremely polite and friendly, and there’s plenty to see and do while you’re there. We highly recommend going on a boat trip to see wild dolphins out at sea, or snorkelling at Turtle Bay.