Renting a car in Dubai is a fun way to discover the emirate - and the rest of the country. Petrol is cheap, the road network is modern and the distances are not too great.
Dubai and the UAE have a lot to offer, and with a car you'll have the freedom to discover exciting places that most others miss.
Renting a car in Dubai is easy, but there are things to consider. The city is home to most of the major international rental companies, with cars of all sizes and price ranges.
Here are some tips for those thinking of renting a car in Dubai.
Car rental in Dubai - basic tips
For people with a Swedish driving licence, an international driving licence is not required to rent a car in Dubai.
But in the event that you have to deal with insurance companies, police or other Emirati bureaucracy, an international driving licence makes it much easier. Read more about international driving licence here.
Age limits for car rental in Dubai vary between car rental companies, but it is not uncommon for drivers to be over 25 years old and have had a driving licence for at least a year.
It is worth noting that car rental companies in Dubai usually only have cars from one manufacturer. If you are looking for a car of a particular make, you will need to find out which rental car company has that particular car in its fleet.
Most rental car companies offer car damage insurance. Comprehensive insurance is rare and, where offered, very expensive.
If the price is too good to be true, it may be because there is no insurance at all. That's why it's important to inspect the car and the contract carefully before you start driving.
Getting your deposit back may take longer than you are used to. That's because rental car companies take it as collateral, as traffic police and tolls often delay reporting fines and fees.
If nothing has happened during the rental period, the deposit is usually refunded within two to three weeks.
Which company should I rent from?
There are a large number of car rental companies in Dubai. Both local firms and international players such as Avis, Hertz and Sixt. Which one you choose is a matter of taste, but we have good experiences with Expedia.
The advantage of Expedia is that it compares the rental prices of both local and international operators and presents the prices in a clear manner.
Traffic in Dubai
Roads in the UAE are modern, but constantly changing. It is therefore important to have up-to-date maps and GPS.
If you do end up on the wrong track, you can always take comfort in the fact that petrol costs around SEK 6 a litre.
The important thing to remember about Emirati traffic is that almost nobody is considerate of their fellow road users, so you should take precautions where you can.
Stay in the right-hand lane, try to keep your distance and your temper in check - the fines for vulgar gestures and profanity in traffic are staggeringly high.
Free parking spaces along the streets, especially during rush hours, are rare. It's better to find one of the many parking garages around Dubai. Most major hotels also offer parking for their guests.
Should an accident occur, the police must be called, no matter how insignificant the damage may appear to be.
If someone is injured, it is strictly forbidden to move the car before the police and ambulance have arrived, no matter how inconvenient the position.
Please note that seat belts are compulsory and that there is absolutely zero tolerance for alcohol in traffic.
Driving off-road in the desert
Going out into the Arabian desert in a four-wheel drive car is an extraordinary experience.
However, if you're heading out to the dunes, make sure your car is fully loaded, you have a fully charged phone with good reception (preferably a satellite phone) and enough food and water for a few days.
The safest bet is to go with someone who knows the area well, you might want to book a desert safari instead of driving yourself in the desert. Watch out for camels, as much a traffic nuisance as moose.
Destinations in United Arab Emirates
Once the rental car is picked up, there are many pleasant excursions within easy reach.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is 1.5 hours southwest of Dubai. Between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the roads are tolled with automatic registration number readers, just like tolls in Sweden.
The information is sent to the rental car company, which in turn adds the fee to the cost of the rental car.
A short distance northeast of Dubai is the city of Sharjah, known as the cultural capital of the UAE. Here you can take in the port city's fascinating history and visit beautifully decorated mosques and museums.
If you want to escape the pulse of the city for a while, a trip to the east coast where ancient citadels and fortresses sit side by side with small fishing villages is suggested.