A Stopover in Dubai With a Toddler

Alicia, her husband James and their gorgeous toddler Spencer, recently broke up their long flight from Australia to the UK with a stopover each way in Dubai.

Our little boy Spencer was 14 months old when we flew to England to visit family. We decided to break up the trip with a night in Dubai each way. I would really recommend breaking up a long haul trip when travelling with kids.


We stayed in a different hotel each way, on the way to the United Kingdom we stayed in Bur Dubai, lthe old business district and on the way home we chose the Al Barsha area which is in the new more touristy area near Mall of Emirates & Ski Dubai. There are heaps of hotels available but we chose to stay in apartments so that Spencer had his own room/area and we there was a bit more space for us to recover from the flights. At each of the hotels Spencer was included in the room rate and we didn’t have to pay any extra, fortunately in both hotels the rooms were very toddler friendly.

We asked for a portacot at both establishments and as soon we checked in, the hotel staff came and set it all up for us with sheets and blankets too. We bought his bottom sheet from home with us (which he had slept on a few nights before we left), his blankie and his grobag. He slept ok, jet lag and new surroundings weren’t a help but we did not sleep that well either. Otherwise he dealt with all the change amazingly.

All the staff at the hotels spoke to Spencer before even acknowledging us, they all thought he was great which was lovely.

While in Dubai we did some shopping and sight seeing; We took a taxi to see the Burj Al Arab (Dubai’s most famous hotel.) But other than that we just spent time at the hotel, swimming and trying to stay cool. We tried to walk to Dubai Creek but it was too far and too hot.

The shopping was good, we went to the malls close enough to our hotels to walk to. The shopping is not really bargain shopping but there is a lot of variety. English stores like Next, Bhs and Mothercare plus stores like Gucci, Prada, Armani etc, I even spotted a Pumpkin Patch!!

Taxis at Dubai airport have infant car seats available on request but any other trip you take by taxi will not have a seat, so it was a matter of sitting him on my lap with my seatbelt around us both which I know is dangerous, so if you can make arrangements for a car seat, do so before you go, maybe hire one or consider taking your own. If you hire a car you can also book an infant car seat.

My hints for other parents traveliing via Dubai are:

  • I booked our stopover hotels online before we departed and had no troubles at all. I wanted the hotels to have 24 hour reception because we departed and arrived at weird times, a pool so we could cool off and within walking distance to something (i.e. a mall etc.)
  • Dubai is extremely hot so you can’t really walk too far with a baby, so being near a shopping mall was good, otherwise you have to get taxis everywhere.
  • Make sure you pack sunscreen for yourself and your little one, the sun is hot even at 7am.