A Dubai Stopover With Kids – Things You Need To Know

Dubai stopover family camel desert

Here’s a bit of a round up post about our recent stopover in Dubai.

Now that Qantas is using Dubai as a main hub, more of us Aussies will think of having a break there. Hope this post helps you make up your mind about whether it’d work well for your family.

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The kids mucking about in Dubai Airport at 5.30am. Where do they get the energy?

Now we generally fly Emirates when going from Sydney to Glasgow. We’ve done the trip quite a few times but our stopover in December was a first.

I decided to do the stop for a few reasons:

Sudden urge to see a camel

Never done it before *

Hoping to break up the worst of the jetlag

Two long flights with four kids and no husband sounded like a killer

We needed a wee beach holiday

To see some friends who’ve moved to Dubai

  * always the best reason for doing anything!!

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The desert just outside Dubai city

Now there are a few things to think about when it comes to Dubai:


Hotels are VERY expensive in Dubai. I’d really recommend checking out the prices before deciding whether to do a stopover. I didn’t and then almost collapsed when I realised that hotels are very pricey… especially for our group of five on the way out and six on the way back.


Stopping off in a Dubai winter is ideal. The weather is very clement, low 20’s in general which is great for sightseeing and lounging by the pool.

The weather is summer is basically roasting hot, so indoor pursuits would be needed… of which there are many.  But we were glad to see Dubai in sunny but not boiling weather and not to fry out feet at the Wild Wadi Water Park.

jetlag dubai stopover with Kids


My younger children had significant jetlag there, and then of course it’s a struggle to stop them waking everyone up.

We arrived very early in the morning Dubai time. Ms7 managed to stay awake until 2pm and then slept all the way through until 2am… then was wide awake, and so was I.  We stayed in bed watching movies on iPod with headphones and managed not to wake the other kids so that was good.

The next mornings she was up at 4am and then at 6am.

A bit harsh… but it was good to have less jetlag when we arrived in the UK.

Book Ahead for the Burj Khalifa

I was so grateful to my friend in Dubai who emailed me ahead and let me know I needed to book a visit to the tallest building in the world.

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My kids looking out from the viewing tower of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
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The views over this metropolis in the desert were amazing.
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BUT… I was so disappointed that the viewing tower is not really near the top at all. It’s on the 134th storey of this 200 storey building.
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Cute snow globe, the needle shape of the Burj Khalifa really makes it a landmark.

Things To Do With Kids In Dubai

There were lots of activities for the kids to enjoy.  The water park was a big hit, of course. The teenagers did a camel riding and sand boarding half day trip to the desert; the twins and I did a more basic dune bashing trip. We went around the souks and across the Creek by boat.  We saw the dancing fountains at Dubai Mall and wandered round the Mall itself.  We also just walked around a bit; the twins were thrilled to see locals smoking hookah pipes in cafes!

So would we stop in Dubai again?  Yes, for sure I would, and I’d even try it in the heat of summer just for a couple of nights.

Dubai Stopovers pin

Check out our other Dubai stopover posts:

The Wild Wadi Water Park

The Kids Club at Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Camel Riding and Sandboarding Tour

A Desert Safari – With Kids

Jumeirah Beach Hotel – The Views!

Jumeirah Beach Hotel – Rooms, Suites and Villas

Have you visited Dubai?


What are your thoughts on a stopover there for those travelling between Europe and Australia?

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  1. says: Bron

    Dear Seana,
    Thanks for sharing this. We are flying Emirates in June to London ( with a Dubai stopover) I am so excited after reading your post x cheers Bron

      1. says: Bron

        Thanks Seana, we have just two nights in Dubai with the plan of reducing some jet lag when we then hit the UK. Lucky I haven’t slept through the night in 9 years so a 4am wake up will be okay! 😉 like you we get in early and I hope to keep kids awake until the afternoon. Xx Bron

  2. says: 3D architectural Company in Dubai

    Dubai and Abu dhabi is the best place for the kids so many things to do and yes yas island ferarri world never forget love this places

  3. says: Corinne

    Two tips – we find flying the day flight significantly reduces jetlag in our kids, leave on the early morning Emirates flight arriving in the afternoon. It’s then dinner and bed and by the next day everyone is fine. We recommend this for all our visitors and works a treat. We notice a big differencd depending on when people arrive. Arriving in the early morning makes for a hellish first day.

    There are many inexpensive hotels in Dubai and deals to be had. We’ve found hotels in Dubai to be a lot cheaper than Sydney equivalents. If you stay at a high end chain like Jumeirah it will be pricey, but good hotel chains including Rotana and even Sheraton are really good value.

  4. Wow again it looks amazing. I am not stopping on the way to France. I decided not to, as I am not really a shopper and I thought that’s all there was to do. Thanks for the enlightenment. We’ll think about it next time.

  5. says: Coco Raymundo

    Great idea for a stopover but definitely not this time around. Too hot to stay out for long but on the +side you get to take naps midday. Here now at Dubai for couple of days, will definitely do this again next time with the kids in tow but on cooler months,

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes very wise. I’ve never stopped off in mid summer, will one day but ideally not with kids. I was there in Dec, jan and again in may and it was great though. Happy travels.

  6. says: Arpita

    Thanks for sharing these Seana!!! Dubai is the amazing travel destination for kids & elders. I want to share one more thing that I know a company that provides full services of baby & infant equipment on rent. All types of baby products are available on rent and deliver at your place. Free of cost delivery is available in Dubai.

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