8 Mistakes Expats Make When Moving to Dubai | ExpatWoman.com

8 Mistakes Expats Make When Moving to Dubai

New to the Emirate? Here's some mistakes you should avoid when settling into your new life here

Posted on

9 January 2017

Last updated on 21 August 2019
8 Mistakes Expats Make When Moving to Dubai

Moving to Dubai for the first time can be an overwhelming experience for any new expat coming here. We’ve all been there; the temptation to get carried away when you first move here is understandable. Between the glitz and the glam, it’s easy to get swept away into all of the lavish habits and lifestyle we are afforded in the Emirate.

But here’s why you shouldn’t get too carried away, and there’s some mistakes you should avoid making when moving to Dubai to help make settling in that little less daunting…

1. Budget from day one, regardless of your salary

Of course, one of the main attractions of living in Dubai is the salary increases. For many of us, in comparison to back home, the digits we earn each year is significantly more… And once you’ve first moved here, it’s easy to get caught up in in the lavish lifestyle. But it’s important to remember to budget! If you need guidance in putting a financial plan in place, there’s some great financial experts and companies here that can help and support you. Plus, it is possible to enjoy Dubai on a budget!

2. Which means, avoid taking out a massive loan

We understand that in some circumstances, it’s unavoidable. You may need help to secure your new home in Dubai and organise your rent. But it’s important not to get too carried away. After all, like we’ve said, budget! Or see if your employer will be willing to give you your salary in advance to help out. We’re sure they’ll be happy to help, because after all, you won’t be the first newbie landing in Dubai and setting up a new life that they’ve met. We’re all in the same boat!

If you want to avoid a loan, but do need a little financial assistance, why not look into whether a credit card in Dubai is suitable for you? We've even got some tips to help you manage your Dubai credit card so you don't end up stuck in a rut when it comes to money.

3. Try not to book in too many visitors at once

While it’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to show off your new home and lifestyle to friends and family back home, you might want to avoid booking in all of them in one go. Pace yourself, there’ll be plenty of time to show everyone around when the time is right.

SEE ALSO: How to make friends while living in Dubai

The last thing you want to be doing is shoving in your parents’ visit, and then a bunch of your friends two days later. After all, you only get paid once a month, and it’s virtually like you’re having a holiday of your own when visitors are here with all of the dining out and tourist activities on offer.

4. Paying full price for everything and anything

That’s right, there are plenty of ways to avoid paying full price for a lot of things in the Emirate. Do some research, download a few apps like Cobone, and take a look at bank offers and credit card savings… You’ll eventually find some fantastic ways you can save Dirhams here and there when you’re out and about. We promise, it’s doable!

Mistakes expats make when moving to Dubai

5. Don’t go to Brunch every weekend…

Not only is it a pricey hobby, but you’ll begin to feel the adverse effects of what we call ‘the Dubai Stone’. All of that indulging of food and drink will begin to show one way or another. Granted, there are so many different ones to try and experience, but pace yourself.

6. And try to implement home cooking into your daily routine

When you first move here, you’ll realise just how easy it is to have food delivered to your home. Huge food chains can send your favourite Big Mac Meal or sub sandwich directly to your door without you having to leave the comfort of your sofa.

SEE ALSO: An auntie's guide to seeing Dubai with kids

Of course, because it’s so easy means it’s easier to get into the habit of ordering food every night after a long day at work. We know, it can be difficult, but making a conscious effort to eat good, home cooked meals every day will be better for you in the long run… And your waistline!

7. Signing contracts blindly without seeking help

When it comes to setting up your important paperwork in Dubai, it can potentially be a bit daunting and slightly mindfield-like. Instead of going into anything blindly, seek guidance before signing on the dotted line. Things like car finance, health insurance, rental agreements and others can be a little overwhelming and a lot to take in at once when setting yourself up. Always feel free to ask for advice from an expert, or even fellow expats via online forums to seek advice from the more seasoned expats who have been through it all themselves.

8. Drink… And then get behind the wheel

This goes without saying. Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER, drink and drive in Dubai and the rest of the UAE. While you may have had a 1 or 2 unit allowance back in your home country, drink driving here is strictly prohibited and there’s no exception for anyone.