What to Wear in Dubai and Al Maha – Packing List

I was gone for 9 days on my trip to Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa and Dubai, and I packed for the whole trip in just a carry on! I am on #teamcarryon for life after packing a ridiculous amount on my honeymoon 12 years ago. So, how did I do it, and what to wear in Dubai?

I have spent very little time in Dubai prior to this trip – just a one-night overnight on our way back from the Maldives. For that reason, I don’t feel that I packed as well as I could have.

What to pack for 9 days in Dubai

On a longer trip like this in a carry on, I plan to do laundry one time in my destination, and I plan to re-wear clothes one time each. I pack enough underwear, socks, etc to last me without laundering, and because they are small.

I packed:

  • 1 maxi dress
  • 3 knee-length dresses
  • 1 blouse and leggings (worn on the plane)
  • 1 cardigan (worn on the plane)
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1 pair of Rothy’s slip-on sneakers (worn on the plane)
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 1 coverup

I’m certain I packed other clothes, but it appears that is all I actually wore – and I wore the blouse/leggings more times than I was planning because of my somewhat-poor planning.

So, which are my favorites?

blue dress worn at Al Maha in Dubai
In retrospect, I felt too exposed in this dress, but it is super comfortable and I love it
I love this dress so much, I bought it in 3 more colors…that’s right, I have the same dress in 4 colors.
Al Maha Dubai swimsuit
My favorite suit I own
Al Maha Dubai swimsuit
So flattering, but one pieces always annoy me a bit

What to Wear in Dubai – What I Wish I Would Have Packed

I wish I would have packed a lightweight, loose pair of pants. I would have worn these on the camel ride as well as on the hot air balloon ride, and possibly on our day trip to Dubai as well. I had a pair of ponte leggings, but they felt too heavy for the hot weather and I wish I had worn something more moveable.

When it comes to what to wear in Dubai, think about your planned activities. I should have packed a pair of shorts and a tshirt for some of the activities. I didn’t plan properly and wasn’t thinking about what kind of clothing was appropriate for archery or riding 4 wheelers. I ended up wearing what I had brought for pajamas for both those events (which was a tshirt and a pair of soft shorts…a bit shorter than I would normally wear in public, but desperate times…)

I also wish I had packed less revealing dresses. The UAE is a fairly liberal Muslim country, but I still like to be respectful of local customs when I travel, and in retrospect, I only felt really comfortable in one of my dresses…the one that happened to be knee-length.

Want more tips and lessons learned from my trip to Al Maha and Dubai? Check out our insider’s guide on how to plan the perfect trip:

I'm Ashley, the founder of Wanderlux and a travel junkie. When I'm not at home near Seattle, Washington, you can find me on the beach in Mexico or traveling the world. Wherever I am, I aim to travel respectfully, show my kids new things, and learn more than I teach.




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