Dubai layover tips: don’t be stubborn

I recently spent one day in Dubai on layover and while I enjoyed my time in the city, I had a few rough spots in trying to coordinate my layover and, in particular, being stubborn about it. Here are a few tips so that others may learn from my mistakes.

1. There is no left luggage counter in Terminal 2.
It took me some time to figure this out as the term “left luggage” which I thought was pretty universal is not used in Dubai. There is baggage storage in Terminals 1 and 3.

Tip: many airports have limited services in the arrivals area but it’s not too hard to pop over to the departures area of a terminal where you are much more likely to find information booths and other useful services. Don’t ask me why arrivals doesn’t usually have this – it would make so much sense!

2. Stepping outside Terminal 2 to save money on your taxi is easy.
After exiting the building, you just need to walk through the parking lot until you pass the mosque. There should be a few taxis waiting there and the meter will start at 3.25AED vs 25.00AED.

3. Taxis in Dubai do not take credit cards.
I really tried my best to avoid this problem. First I inquired in the terminal about taxis accepting credit cards and I got a positive response. Before stepping into a cab, I double checked if the driver accepted credit card? “Yes” and Visa? “Yes”. I was certainly surprised when the driver got angry that I expected to pay by Visa card upon reaching my destination. I ended up settling the fare with US cash that I had on hand since I hadn’t visited a Dubai ATM yet.

4. You can’t walk between Terminal 2 and Terminals 1&3.
Trust me, I don’t like to hear “you can’t” either. After making a few inquiries and getting that response, I tried anyway cause I’m stubborn like that. My flights were to/from Terminal 2 and left luggage is elsewhere as noted earlier. Why should I have to pay 5AED minimum for a cab when it’s the same airport?
My best effort to walk was at the end of my layover when I had plenty of time still before check-in after collecting my bag. I pulled up a GPS map on my tablet and I set off determined. In theory, I still believe it’s possible to walk around the airport, but it would take a lot of trial and error to find the right places to cross roads and the right sides of the road to walk so you don’t end up on a highway with no sidewalk or alongside an airport fence with a clear sign that nobody should be walking there. I ended up in both these places and in the end had to hail a cab to finish the trip.

If you’ve ever been to Dubai and attempted to walk between Terminal 2 and the other terminals, please leave a comment. I’d love to know if it’s ever been done!

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