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Travelling with children to Dubai - our tips!

Dubai is the perfect destination for those travelling with children. The flight is just the right length, the city has great playgrounds and plenty of experiences that are perfect for families. All About Dubai editor Göran Ingman shares his experiences.

In April 2017, I travelled to Dubai for the first time with my family. In January 2018 we went again.

I had visited the city many times before on my own, but the trips with the kids were actually by far the most enjoyable visits so far.

Not only that. The whole family agrees that our trips to Dubai are some of the best we've ever done, even though we've travelled a lot together and have a lot to compare it to.

9 reasons to travel to Dubai with children

Why is Dubai so good for children? I've been thinking about it. Maybe because Dubai really is a complete destination for families.

It sounds like a tired cliché, many destinations probably claim the same thing, but follow me and I'll explain why I think Dubai is particularly good for those travelling with children.

Here are nine good reasons, from flight time and time difference to climate and sights:

1. Reasonable travel time

We have travelled to South East Asia, for example to Thailand and Singapore, with both babies and toddlers. It works, but air travel is often a pain in the ass. Sitting on a plane for 11-12 hours with restless, tired and sad children - it's no fun.

Flying to Dubai takes just over six hours. Slightly longer than, say, the Canary Islands, another winter destination of choice for many Swedes, but still very affordable. Most children can manage six hours with the help of films, tablets and crafts.

If you fly with Emirates from Sweden, which I highly recommend, the departure times are also very convenient for families with children.

The flight departs from Arlanda at 13:35 and arrives in Dubai at 22:55, which is 19:55 Swedish time. In our case, travelling with two five-year-olds on our last trip, this meant that we were able to land before the kids were toasty. And we avoided, which felt very nice, the extremely early morning flights that charter airlines often have.

On the way back from Dubai, the departure time is 15.00 and you land at Arlanda at 18.45. Again, perfect for those flying with children.

For those of you flying via Copenhagen with Emirates, it looks about the same. The flight departs from Kastrup at 14.20 and lands in Dubai at 23.30, i.e. 20.30 Swedish time. On the way back, the flight is slightly earlier, departing at 8.20 and returning at 12.20.

2. No big time difference

The time difference between Sweden and Dubai is three hours in winter. It's a little noticeable in the first few days, but nothing compared to the jet lag and time change problems of a trip to Thailand, for example.

If you have children with you, the effect will be that they are alert in the evenings and fall asleep unusually late, which is perfect for enjoying dinners and evening activities. In the morning, everyone sleeps a little longer than at home - not a bad thing on holiday ...

3. Nice climate in winter

The majority of Swedes who travel to Dubai do so between October and March, during which time the air temperature fluctuates between 24 and 31 degrees, usually with low humidity.

So it's neither as hot and humid as Thailand nor as cool as the Canary Islands in winter, if we are to continue the comparison with other destinations that are popular with Swedish travellers in winter. The air feels like a really nice Swedish high summer day.

The water temperature in the sea is between 21 and 27 degrees, so it is also suitable for both children and adults.

4. Fine baths and fantastic water parks

For children who love to swim and play in the water, there's a huge range of options beyond the sea and the fine beaches.

Hotels almost always have pools, usually quite large, with lifeguards keeping a close eye on the children.

Dubai is also home to three phenomenal water parks that your kids will love: Aquaventure At the Atlantis hotel, Wild Wadi which is the city's oldest (and very popular) water park, and the new Legoland Water Park which opened in 2017.

Admission costs a bit, of course, but you really get your money's worth. If you're only going to spend money on one experience with the kids when you're in Dubai, let it be a water park.

5. Child-friendly attractions galore

In fact, most of the sights and experiences you'll want to check out in Dubai work well with kids too.

The city's biggest attraction, the view from Burj Khalifa, is as cool for a 5-year-old as it is for a 35-year-old.

Desert safari, a very popular excursion, can be done with children, except for the very youngest. Check with the organisers, there are different age rules.

Last year, 2017, the huge amusement park opened Dubai Parks and Resorts which consists of four theme parks. All are obviously fun for kids, but mainly Legoland Dubai that get families with slightly younger children to pay admission.

Do you want to check out the new Dubai Frame, children under the age of three get in for free and for children over the age of three the entrance fee is only about 40 SEK.

The list could go on and on, but you get the point. Dubai attractions perfect for families with children.

6. Many public playgrounds

Around the city there are playgrounds that are free to use. They are often large playgrounds with plenty of opportunities for climbing, swinging, balancing, riding the zip line or just playing for a while.

If you are staying in Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Beach Residences, JBR, as many Swedish travellers do, then there are great playgrounds by the beach and in many places along the promenade around the marina.

7. Good food - even for children

Dubai is an unparalleled destination for those who like to eat and drink well. The city has a huge variety of restaurants and flavours from all over the world. Good for you, but perhaps even better for your children.

There's always something for the kids to enjoy. Our children have never eaten as well on trips as when we've been to Dubai - and we've been on several trips to Swedish charter hotels with family themes and children's buffets.

8. Children are truly welcome

Okay, the staff at hotels and restaurants in Dubai may not be as fanatically fond of children as in, say, Thailand, but not by a long shot.

Children are always welcome, in a way that feels real and genuine, and it's common for restaurants to have both specific children's menus and crafts to give to children. Sometimes there is a play corner.

If you're travelling with children who are still in strollers, there's often plenty of room to bring the stroller along - thanks to the fact that Dubai restaurants are generally quite large.

Please note that this applies mainly to hotels and newly built areas such as JBR, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. In the older parts of the city, on the other hand, restaurants are older and smaller - and the familiarity with children may not be as great.

9. Child-friendly hotels

Given that many hotels in Dubai have been built in recent years, they are not only new and fresh, but the rooms are often large. Even a standard room is often enough for a family with one or two children.

If you want more space, there is almost always the option of a larger room or two rooms with a connecting door.

Göran Ingman, editor of Allt om Dubai

Hotel tips for those travelling with children

Atlantis The Palm

Children's holiday at Atlantis the Palm Dubai

Atlantis is absolutely world-class in every way you can imagine. The rooms are beautiful and well thought-out, the restaurants are extremely good and the Aquaventure water park is a great place to have fun together for days on end.

Plus, the hotel's marine theme, with huge aquariums and exciting fish and underwater environments, is always fun for kids.

Atlantis isn't cheap, but if you follow our tips (link below) you'll see that it's cheaper than you might think.
" Read more about Atlantis The Palm
" Go directly to the hotel

JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel

JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel Kids Room

JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel is one of Dubai's most popular family hotels. It has double pools, a long private beach, a playground, plenty of activities - and the option of all-inclusive as a supplement.

The hotel is slightly out of town, in Jebel Ali, but no further than a taxi ride to Dubai's sights.

Our tip: choose all-inclusive, you'll save a lot of money, and be sure to book tables at the hotel's restaurants well in advance, preferably before you travel. Otherwise, there's a risk that the better restaurants will be fully booked and you'll have to eat all your meals in the buffet restaurant.
" See price at
" See price at

JA Ocean View Hotel

JA Ocean View Hotel children's pool

JA Ocean View's place on this list is mainly due to its location. The hotel is a short walk - even for little ones - from the fine beach of Jumeirah Beach Residences, JBR.

You can reach the beach by taking the lift or stairs down from the pool. On the way down to the sand there is a large and fun playground, under the sun roof, which smaller children really enjoy.

An added bonus with the hotel is that guests can bring a beach kit with a beach mat, towels and parasol - free of charge.
" See price at
" See price at

Looking for hotels in Dubai? Check out our tips and favourites!

Finding the right hotel in Dubai can be difficult. Where in the city to stay? Is it best on the beach or in the city? Here we've rounded up our hotel favourites and tips on what to consider before you book.

Book tickets and attractions before you travel

Burj Khalifa, desert safaris, guided tours, water parks and much more. Booking in advance is smart. You're guaranteed your place and it's often cheaper. Here's everything you can book before you go.