After over a month of being M.I.A., I’m officially back on the blog and hope to update it weekly at the very least.

I’ve spent 3 months living in Sweden, doing a bit of traveling through Eastern Europe in that time, and spent a month hibernating back home in Virginia. Needless to say the polar climate was rough, but I’ve officially embarked on my quest for summertime, all the time.

First Stop: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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I caught an AMAZING deal on New Years via The Flight Deal for Etihad airways. They had deals to Hong Kong, Mumbai, and a few other destinations, but Abu Dhabi for $230 caught my eye. With a friend having just moved there and no plans til mid-February, who wouldn’t jump on that!?

So this past week I’ve spent transitioning to the shimmering sun and warm breezes, such a chore huh?

Check out my full experience in my Dubai Trip Video !

– Highlights –

Dubai Marina & Jameira Lake Towers : This area is POPPIN’. It get’s my full recommendation as the best place to stay, though it doesn’t actually have any hostels in the area. The Marina has a wide variety of hotels, I chose the Lotus Hotel & Apartments. Probably one of the least expensive hotels in the area, it still has studio rooms equipped with full kitchen and sitting area, a prime location, and an infinity pool overlooking the marina. Scattered on both sides of the marina are restaurants of every cuisine with plenty of shisha and outdoor seating – perfect for watching the extravagant yachts cruising to and fro. Just two streets over is the beach and boardwalk. Buzzing with tourists and a lively restaurant & lounge scene at night, this is the place for relaxing, people watching, and hanging out day or night. They even have a P.F. Chang’s and free beach/boardwalk Wifi – alien wifi as I like to call it.

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Lotus Hotel Apartments

Burj Khalifa & Dubai Mall : Accessible via metro, the Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world. It’s home to an aquarium that customers can SCUBA in, an ice rink, movie theater, and over 165 stores and restaurants. If a shop isn’t currently there, it’s most likely under construction like the rest of the city. Husbands beware, the shopping is intense. From the mall, you can visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. They offer an “At The Top” experience, (tickets can be purchased from a kiosk in the mall with a range of pricing depending on the time, check the website for pricing beforehand) which grants you access to a high-speed elevator shooting you up to the 124th floor. A bit pricey for my backpacking budget ($35 at the discounted morning rate) but has been raved about by everyone who’s done it! These two excursions will take a FULL DAY, so get ready to break out the credit cards and ladies: I don’t recommend wearing heels.

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View of Burj Khalifa from the Palace Hotel

Burj Al Arab aka “Tower of the Arabs” but better known by me as “The Sailboat” : The only 7 star hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab is an extraordinary hotel resembling, you guessed it, a sailboat. My personal favorite piece of architecture in all of Dubai, it stands off the highway on a tiny peninsula between the World Islands and the Palm Jameira islands. The most ideal photo opp with this icon is via yacht or on Jameira Beach, accessible by cab. *TIP* please note that you DO need a reservation to even get past the gate, let alone to see the lobby. If you do get a reservation, don’t bother bringing a camera because you aren’t even allowed to take photos inside. Da heck?

Off the Beaten Path

For great views of the Burj, relaxing cabanas, good food, & shisha, stroll over to the Palace Hotel. Here you can sprawl on spacious day beds right on the water, smoke hookah to your hearts content, and sip a refreshing mint lemonade. When dusk falls, hang out to ogle the light show of the enormous Burj Khalifa and fun water show from the fountains in front of it.

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Palace Hotel Dubai

Dubai is under constant construction; it’s rapidly growing and has vastly evolved in a very short period. New stores, hotels, and attractions are popping up weekly and it seems like exclusivity is a recurring trend. Almost everything requires an admission fee or appointment, so check online in advance. I can’t wait to come back again and see what new and extraordinary things happen in this revolutionary city!

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Dubai Marina

“…People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


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