4 HOURS TO GO
Get your currency
Choose from more than 60 currencies at Travelex, so you can be cash-ready wherever you’re going. Yes, we know it’s all Apple pay these days, but when travelling to a different country, it’s always good to have a bit of paper money in your pocket. Order online in advance to make life even easier, and collect from one of 15 Travelex stores across terminals 1, 2 and 3. Non-UAE residents can also get the VAT on their Dubai shopping refunded, instantly in cash, at Travelex.
All terminals. travelexae.com.
Refresh your holiday wardrobe
That’s your cash sorted. Now it’s time to flex that plastic. Dubai is well known for its excellent shopping, and DXB is no different. Dubai Duty Free has it all – sunglasses, designer handbags, high fashion, jewellery and watches. Think Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far (we hear you), pop into Adidas (pictured), H&M and Victoria’s Secret PINK. From cosy jumpers for colder climes to a new swimming cozzie, you’ll find what you need.
Pick up toiletries
Dubai Duty Free has you covered end-to-end with basic toiletries and premium beauty and skincare from all the best international retailers. There’s also the Kiehls pop-ups (their lip balms are flight essentials), Boots, and Bath and Body Works to peruse. No excuses for not arriving fresh as a daisy. There are also great gift sets, ideal for those trips to see family whose birthdays you’ve might have accidentally missed earlier this year.
3 HOURS TO GO
Get a workout in
Hear us out. Whether you’ve got a four-hour flight or 14, travelling tends to wipe out most of a day. Normal routine flies out of the window, and that means we don’t get to do the things that make us feel great – like get those endorphins going with our WOD. Dubai International Hotel has a fully equipped gym so you can do just that, plus eliminate those toxins with a sauna afterwards, and obviously, get showered and refreshed. Health club access costs Dhs147 for three hours, including use of the relaxation pool, fitness centre, Jacuzzi, sauna and showers. Just be sure to chug a load of water too, so that you’re hydrated and ready to fly.
Terminal 3, Concourse B.
Hit the salon
Not into fitness? There’s plenty of other ways to make yourselves feel fine and dandy. Get a classic wash and blow dry at World of Wellness by XpresSpa in Terminal 3, Concourse C; haul over those hooves with Timeless Spa’s Refresh Pedicure, including exfoliation, cleansing, foot massage and all-important polish; or book into one of Be Relax’s two branches for a 60-minute table massage.
Grab 40 winks
Yes, seriously. You can even have a nap at DXB. Whether you’re tired after your workout, all warm and snoozy after a spa session, or just feeling a little under the weather, get yourself some shut eye and you’ll feel much better. Sleep ‘n Fly offers ultra-modern, spaceship-style sleep pods and cabins for essential cat naps. Shimmy yourself in, close the doors, and let sleep takeover.
Terminal 3, Concourse C and Terminal 1, Concourse D.
2 HOURS TO GO
Time to eat
No matter the time of your flight, you can feast as you choose on breakfast, lunch or dinner at DXB, and everything in between. In Terminal 1, Concourse D, Pret a Manger is great for healthy options, but there’s McDonald’s and KFC if you’re keeping it casual. You’ll be thrilled to hear that some old favourites have also just reopened: Wolfgang Puck, Noodle House and Giraffe. Terminal 2 has a Costa Coffee and a Starbucks, Subway and Maccy D’s, and a Krispy Kreme for sweet-toothed travellers. Terminal 3 has three Concourses – A, B, and C – all jam-packed with awesome eateries. For Asian food, try Cho Gao or China Express; for simple sarnies, Flour + Stone and Jones the Grocer (pictured) are fab; and Tranzeet and Hard Rock Café offer great options for full meals. You’ve got two hours – that’s plenty of time for three courses if you ask us.
Grab and go
There’s nothing like relaxing with a pre-flight pint or glass of something chilled and again, DXB has heaps of venues to choose from. Depending on your terminal, consider The Draft House, The Daily DXB, The Hangar and the Heineken Lounge, or if you’re after something a bit fancier, Bottega is perfect for a glass of bubbly, mixed drinks and food pairings. Check out our handy maps on page 16 to see where all the restaurants and bars are located. Newly re-opened this month is Jack’s Bar & Grill in Concourse A, Terminal 3, with a special deal for three shorts of Jack Daniel’s famous drinks.
Play some games
All of the above sets adults at DXB well on their way, but anyone travelling with children will most likely need a little additional entertainment. Little ones will love the play area in Terminal 3. It never fails to amaze us how many times kids will go up and down a slide, and up and down again. Asian Street Kitchen is also a brilliant place for a pit stop, especially if you have teens in tow. There are heaps of Arcade games at Asian Street Kitchen to check out, from Pac-Man and Super Mario to Donkey Kong.
Terminal 3, Concourse A.
1 HOURS TO GO
Now’s the time to get your Venti Capp, or whatever your favourite coffee is, a warming cup of tea, hot choc (don’t miss Butler’s Chocolate Café for this) and big bottle of H2O to carry onboard. There are coffee shops throughout DXB as well as venues like Treehouse Juicery, fabulous for a pre-flight fruit fix too.
Stock up on candy
This is the time we tend to panic about what we may need on the flight…and decide that a bumper bag of soft jelly sweets is nonnegotiable. Work your way round the pick ‘n’ mix at Candylicious and arm yourself with all the sugar you need. The perfect accompaniment to those in-flight movies.
Terminal 3, Concourse B
Relax in the lounge
While away your last hour at DXB in one of the many lounges, from Marhaba Lounges in every terminal to Dubai International Business Class Lounge and First Class Lounge. Emirates Skywards members will be familiar with DXB’s Emirates Lounges, which are well worth a visit for food, drinks and a quiet space to fire off a few emails. It’ll be boarding time before you know it.