Lifestyle: 10+ Pro's and Con's of living in Dubai

Dubai, as it stands today, is very appealing to expats as the lifestyle locally is exceptionally good, particularly for Western expats who can benefit from a largely excellent climate, wonderful leisure facilities, a relatively laid back pace of life, with great education and healthcare standards.

The majority of expats who move to Dubai, typically do so to better themselves and in most cases achieve this, but it's not all glitz and glam from start to finish. Like moving to any city, what follows is hard work to see that dream come to fruition, often with a few roadblocks and curveballs.

Although Dubai is predominantly English speaking, you’ll also note there are a lot of cultural differences which come with tough challenges but ultimately lead to some very rewarding experiences. 

Our advice: Learn as much about Dubai as you can before you move there, and if possible, visit before you commit to relocation. Get involved on forums and chats with other expats who already live in the emirate to find out what it’s really like.

Jump into our free facebook group here


So what are the pros and cons to moving to Dubai?

Like any other place in the world, Dubai has a lot going for it, alongside some major drawbacks. When moving to a new place, it’s essential you know what both bad and good things you can expect in your new home.

The pros of living in Dubai

  • Dubai is an exciting and buzzing destination.  It is, therefore, the place to be if you want to enjoy your social life and your working life in the fast lane.
  • For 8 months of the year, the climate in the emirate is close to perfect. You can expect long hot days, dominated by cloudless blue skies and enhanced with beautiful warm sea waters.
  • The social side of life is fantastic and diverse. Many expats join a hotel or private beach club when they arrive and spend much of their downtime enjoying the facilities. For others, there are more sports clubs closely concentrated together within the emirate than anywhere else in the world! In the evenings, you can enjoy bars, clubs and restaurants as Dubai plays host to as wide a range of tastes.
  • The educational standards in Dubai are excellent and new schools and colleges are being constructed almost annually.
  • Every major international corporation has a base in Dubai, or so it seems. This means that opportunities are abundant.
  • No income tax! Need we say more.
  • One can repatriate funds easily, therefore you can earn a fantastic salary in Dubai and send some of it home as well.
  • The emirate is increasingly accessible with its major international airport welcoming flights from across the world.
  • Shopping in Dubai is fantastic.
  • The standard of living is very high.
  • Crime is very low and close to non-existent.
  • Dubai is a very tolerant emirate which tolerates others’ beliefs and ways of life.  It is also one of the most moderate regions in terms of applying the rules of Islam everyday life. Expats can buy alcohol in Dubai and are also allowed to eat and drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan.
  • Taxis are very cheap and the government is investing hugely into a public transportation system.
  • Cars and petrol are very cheap indeed.
  • It’s usual practice for families to have domestic help, and the helping hand goes a long way in creating a stress free lifestyle.


The cons of living in Dubai

  • Dubai can be a bit of a bureaucratic headache, especially for newly arrived expats who need licenses and permits for everything. You’ll need a permit to buy alcohol, a license to drive, a permit to work and a permit to reside in Dubai, of course. Get advice and assistance with your employer to help ease this initial period of adjustment, and be sure to download each of our guides filled with tips and tricks to make the move as easy as possible. Many expats say the headaches involved in the first three months can actually put some people off staying long term. 
  • Unmarried couples are not allowed to live together – it’s actually the law.
  • The summer months from June to September are almost unbearably hot and many expats take holiday time off during this period to return home. It can make it worse if you have children as for most of the day, they will really need to stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms.
  • The traffic situation in Dubai can be untenable and have an impact on the lives of those who have to commute to work or take children to school. The government’s programme of investment into public transport systems is easing the problem, but if you want to take a drive around Dubai, it can become a lengthy journey.
  • Public toilets can be an unpleasant shock for Western expats.
  • Housing and schooling are incredibly expensive in Dubai. If you can work these into your employee contract, you’ll reap the savings.
  • The cost of living in Dubai is on par with living in central London – it is VERY expensive.
  • There is a certain amount of governmental censorship on films, access to websites and even the likes of video calling systems like Skype. Some expats find this restrictive and frustrating.
  • Working hours can be very long and international companies operating in Dubai do tend to expect an awful lot from their expatriate employees. This is possibly because the salaries are higher and improved by lack of tax they feel they have some sort of ownership of their employees.
  • Dubai is currently a building site. There are pockets of calm and oases of tranquillity across the emirate, but there are also frenetic and relentless development occurring which can make life a little tiring and stressful at times. Simple things such as footpaths can be non-existent in new or developing communities, making small things such as going outside for a walk, extremely difficult.
  • Inflation is massive in Dubai, fuelled by property and rental prices in particular.
  • Dubai is not exactly an environmentally friendly place when it comes to rubbish, recycling and plastic free living, nor is it the sort of place to live if you want to take long walks in quiet places.


Like any new city, living in Dubai is really what you make of it. It’s a matter of personal choice and deciding whether the great opportunities Dubai offers, such as a good income without tax, outweigh possible negatives.

Our next guide, Moving to Dubai, has a ton of helpful information to help fast track your knowledge on Dubai. With a release date scheduled for 1st October be sure to take advantage of our pre-order special saving you 20% off. Hurry though, this offer is only valid for the first 10 customers.