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Top 12 best things to do at Dubai Airport while you wait for your flight

Gone are the days when airports were simply a large waiting room. Now they're the start of your vacation! And Dubai International Airport is no exception. So why not start your vacation stress free, arrive a little early and enjoy what's on offer. Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Dubai Airport while you’re waiting for your flight.

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1. Relax in the Zen Gardens 🌸

If all the glass and chrome of the airport structure gets too much for you, take a refreshing break in the airport’s Zen Garden with its fish ponds, shrubs, bushes and palm trees. Find a bench, take a seat and relax listening to the sound of trickling water before you head to your boarding gate. We especially recommend this if you’re about to embark on a long-haul flight or you have a short layover in Dubai and need a breather!

Location: Terminal 3, between gates B7 and B27

About to fly long haul? Check out: Top travel tips: how to survive a long-haul flight!

2. Take a nap in a sleep ‘n fly pod

Ok, sleeping isn’t a very rock n’ roll pastime but it might help you prepare for your flight. It’s also a good option if you have a very short layover in Dubai Airport or if your flight is canceled or delayed. Located in T3, there are 20 ‘igloo’ style pods with roll-down roofs. Each has a mattress, disposable headrest cover, blanket, pillow and sheet. You can reserve a sleep pod in advance here, or chance your luck by just showing up.

Location: Terminal 3, A Gates

3. Take a complimentary shower 🚿

If you’re taking a very early flight from Dubai Airport you could save your shower until you’re at the airport. It’s also a good idea to take a shower if you’re on short layover in Dubai Airport and don’t want to check into the hotel or use the spa.

Location: Terminal 3, between B13 and B19

4. Get a massage

Unless you’re lucky enough to be flying in Business or First Class, chances are you’ll be preparing for a bit of a squeezed flight. To better prepare yourself, get a massage at one of the many Dubai Airport spas. At the XpresSpa in Departure Gate B, you can have treatments including facials, manicures, reflexology and massages. The Be Relax spa also has branches dotted around the airport offering a menu of quick fixes, including massages. If you wanted a more luxurious airport spa, book an appointment at the Timeless Spa at the Dubai International Airport Hotel which is open 24/7.

Location: Timeless Spa is at the Dubai International Airport Hotel; Be Relax is in Terminal 3, Concourses A, B and D; XpresSpa is in Terminal 3, Concourse B.

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5. Shop ’til you drop 🛍

You are spoilt for choice with the shops in Dubai Airport. It has all the high-end designer brands you could want including Gucci, Caroline Herrera, and Marc Jacobs. There’s also dozens of beauty and jewelry stores, electronics shops, gold stalls and plenty of food and drink on sale. The best bit? It’s all part of Dubai Duty Free so you could pick up a bargain or two. Given the sheer quantity of shops, you could easily spend hours shopping… just make sure it all fits and is allowed in your hand luggage!

Read more: Hand luggage rules – 12 items you might not know are banned on board

6. Contact your friends or the office

Dubai International Airport has undergone a major upgrade to its Wi-Fi network. You can now connect and enjoy free, high-speed Wi-Fi across every part of the airport. Get online and update your social media profile with your travel plans or contact friends to let them know you have arrived. The internet connection also allows you to send emails and catch up on work while you are at the airport – oh joy!

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7. Eat & drink in the lounge at Dubai Airport

If you’ve booked yourself a Business or First Class ticket you’ll be granted access to Dubai Airport’s posh lounges where you can eat and drink your heart out. But if you’re flying Economy, you won’t be so lucky, but you can still access the Dubai Airport Marhaba Lounge for a fee. They are dotted around the airport and include shower facilities, a children’s room, a snooze room, buggy car transfer to departure gates and even a cinema room. Prices start from Dh450 for transit passengers.

Location: Terminals 1, 2 and 3

8. Go for a swim or a workout

Yes, there is virtually nothing you can’t do at Dubai Airport! If you wanted to get in a few laps on your stopover in Dubai Airport or while you wait for your flight, buy a pass to the G-Force health club inside Dubai International Airport Hotel. It has a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam rooms, gym and showers. It’s a five-star hotel so you won’t feel like you’re visiting a swimming pool at the airport!

Location: Hotel entrances at Concourses A, B and C.

9. Enter the Dubai Duty Free Raffles

“Win this Luxury Car” stand are virtually synonymous with Dubai International Airport! The odds of winning are a lot higher than you may realize, ranging from around one-in-1,300 to win a supercar, and one-in 5,000 to win US$1 million! Get buying!

10. Change currency at Dubai Airport

While you are at Dubai International airport, use your time to prepare for your journey to your next destinations. There are several currency exchange bureaus in all terminals and you can reserve today’s rate and arrange to collect your money as you pass through the airport.

Read more: Dubai Duty Free – what you should buy and how it all works

11. Store your Baggage

If you have a few hours to stroll around Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 and enjoy all the things to do at Dubai Airport, then you can use the baggage storage facilities before you explore the airport services.

12. Prayer Rooms

Within the airport complex, there are lots of Muslim prayer rooms and ablution rooms that are signposted. Prayer rooms are also available in the car park areas.

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Looking for more more advice and travel tips? Check these articles out:

Guide to hand luggage sizes and restrictions 

Top tips for surviving a long-haul flight

Find the best cheap flights from your local UAE airport

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*Updated September 2019. Information and prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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