Here we help you prepare what to pack for Abu Dhabi based on our insider knowledge of the city.
Abu Dhabi is in the hot, arid desert of the Arabian Peninsular with beaches, to skyscrapers rolling into desert. Other than in the peak of winter, you will find daytime temperatures above 30c for much of the year so dressing for the weather and religious courtesy are important.
Whatever time of year you visit, your clothing choices are likely to include somewhat more conservative choices than you may normally pack for a hot, beachy holiday. Light cotton is your best bet year-round.
If you are unsure of the dress code in the UAE, pop over to our Insider Guide for Dubai & Abu Dhabi that takes you through the do’s and don’ts in detail.
Some of our favourite travel essentials for your Abu Dhabi packing list are highlighted below. We have included links to Amazon to make your pre-travel shopping super easy and have all your travel essentials delivered to your door.
You can download a full printable packing list at the bottom of the page, with checkboxes to tick items off as you put them in your suitcase.
Travel accessories for Abu Dhabi
If you are visiting Abu Dhabi with a baby or small toddler you will likely find a baby carrier more useful than a stroller. You will spend much of your time moving from one air-conditioned building to the next with taxis – or from your Abu Dhabi hotel to your sun lounger! With the hot weather, we suggest something lightweight and with breathable fabric.
If you plan on visiting Yas Waterworld or spending a bit of time at the beach with a baby, you may want to try a waterproof wrap.
- We recommend: Beachfront Baby Wrap
If you are visiting during the cooler winter months, you will likely want to spend some time outdoors such as strolling the Corniche or Umm Al Emarat park or walking along the grand canal front at Bab Al Bahr. For city travel, it is also good for shopping malls and obviously for the airport. Look for a lightweight stroller that is easy to fold, and also look for things like good storage and the ability to recline for naps.
Portable booster seat
You will more than likely use taxis to get around in Abu Dhabi. They are readily available at hotels, malls and popular attractions, relatively cheap and importantly air conditioned! (You can see more on how best to get around Abu Dhabi here). A portable booster seat is a great investment to keep your little ones safe and is high on our list of things to bring to Abu Dhabi if you are travelling with younger kids.
- We recommend: the mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat or the BubbleBum backless inflatable car booster seat.
Having a day pack is always a good idea for city trips with kids, so that you can carry all the wet wipes, snacks, tissues, sun cream etc and still keep your hands free to keep hold of the kids. Look for a lightweight backpack that can be easily packed in your suitcase when not needed.
- We recommend: the ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack or the Outlander Most Durable Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack.
Collapsible water bottle
Do your bit to save the environment and bring your own refillable water bottles with you instead of relying on buying plastic bottles of water every day. We love a collapsible water bottle that can easily be packed in the suitcase when not needed.
- We recommend: Baiji Bottles Collapsible Silicon Water Bottles or the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle.
When you are traveling as a family, it is inevitable that you will end up with multiple accessories needing charged: phones, tablets, cameras, kindles etc. Don’t ruin the holiday by fighting over the charger; opt for a multiple charging station instead.
- We recommend: the Photive 60 Watt 6 USB Rapid Desktop Charging Station or the Vogek 6-port USB Charger.
The standard electrical voltage in Abu Dhabi is 220V and most electrical sockets take the standard UK style 3-prong plugs. If you are traveling from a country with different style plugs, make sure you bring a travel adapter.
- We recommend: the Urophylla Universal Adapter Dual Fuses or the Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter with Quad USB charger.
Portable Charger Power Bank
Have you ever been caught out sightseeing with a low-battery phone and not been able to take photos? Or found your child’s iPad has run out of battery half way through a long haul flight? Don’t let it happen again! Go prepared with a portable charger power bank, a great tool to have in your travel arsenal.
Of course you have to record all your happy holiday memories, and having an easy-to-use waterproof and shockproof camera means everybody in the family can share in the photo taking, without having to worry about the camera getting damaged.
Although not a constant nuisances, bugs in Abu Dhabi seem to like the same weather that we do, so you will find mosquitoes are prevalent, especially in the evenings and if you are near water.
It’s always good to have some hand sanitizer in your bag when you are travelling, for times when you can’t wash your hands before having a snack, or have been traveling on public transport.
- We recommend: Babyganics alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer on-the-go or PURELL Advanced hand sanitizer travel size.
You should always include suncream on your Abu Dhabi packing list. Even in the winter you can experience sunny days when the sun can be stronger than you realize.
- We recommend: Babyganics Mineral-based baby sunscreen spray or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen.
Between getting out on the water, trekking in the desert or simply dealing with late summer humidity, long hair can, unfortunately, suffer in Abu Dhabi. Pack and Tangle Teazer to make everybody’s life a little more pleasant.
Books and Games
Abu Dhabi Travel Guide Book
No matter how much research you do online before you travel, it can still be handy to have a travel guidebook in your bag. Most guidebooks combine Dubai and Abu Dhabi attractions but if you’re just visiting the capital, a pocket guide with a great map is all your need.
Amazing Pictures and Facts Abu Dhabi
With many amazing buildings and record-breaking structures and attractions, kids will love playing along while you travel with this colourful and entertaining book.
- We recommend: Amazing Pictures and Facts about Abu Dhabi
It’s always handy to have a few activity books in your bag for your kids, for airports, flights, or when they just need some downtime after a hard day of sightseeing.
The family that plays together stays together! Pack a few fun travel games for fun family evenings, rainy days or airport layovers.
Clothes for Abu Dhabi in summer
Remember summers are incredibly hot but your dress needs to remain conservative. Focus on packing lightweight, natural materials and light clothing, such as t-shirts, cotton trousers and sundresses. Although there are plenty of beaches and resorts, do remember during the day and around the city the dress standard is different and you should always think about covering knees and shoulders at a minimum, avoiding outfits that are too clingy.
We recommend including the following for your Abu Dhabi outfit:
- Cotton t-shirts (not tank tops or vests)
- Cotton overshirt
- Cotton trousers
- Long sundresses
- Scarf or a shawl/pashmina
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Nicer clothes/shoes for more upmarket restaurants
- Swimming costume
Clothes for Abu Dhabi in winter
Dressing for Abu Dhabi in the winter is fairly similar to summer. Although mild day times are expected around 20-25 degrees celsius, rarely does it get cold enough to need your woollies! It can be cool in the evenings though and air conditioning is known to be fierce. The desert can be cold overnight but generally not extreme. One extra layer over your normal clothing should suffice.
We recommend including the following for your Abu Dhabi winter outfit:
- Sweater or hoodie
- Lightweight scarf
- Lightweight jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Nicer clothes/shoes for more upmarket restaurants
Travel accessories for the plane
Multiple Passport holder
A multiple passport is invaluable for keeping all the family’s passports together in one place. Look for one that makes it easy to remove the passports, and that has space to store luggage tags, frequent flier cards etc.
- We recommend: Zero Grid Travel Wallet & Family Passport Holder or the Apadi Travel Document Organizer.
Travel Pillow (neck support)
We all know how uncomfortable it is trying to sleep on the plane. While we can’t promise you a good sleep, we can recommend using a travel neck pillow to help ease your aches and pains once you get to your destination.
Travel Pillow (leg support)
Travel leg rest pillows have been a bit of a game changer for long haul flights with small kids. These inflatable pillows allow you to fill the leg gap between the seats, allowing small children to stretch out or even lie down flat. Note that some airlines have banned the use of these travel leg rest pillows. Check with your airline before you go to the airport.
We highly recommend headphones for everyone in the family. Noise cancelling headphones for mums and dads are great for cutting out the ambient sound of the plane, while kid-sized headphones with volume limits will ensure kids can watch their iPads without disturbing others, and without damaging their eardrums.
- We recommend: Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling headphones for adults and Kidz Gear Wired Headphones for kids.
If you’re looking for a new suitcase for your Abu Dhabi trip, we love the foldable luggage from Biaggi – these can be folded down into a small pouch for easy storage and saves you from having to step over your suitcases in your hotel room. We love the easy-glide spinner wheels on them too.
- We recommend: Biaggi Luggage Zipsack 31” Micro Fold Spinner Suitcase and the Biaggi Zipsack 27” Micro Fold Spinner Suitcase.
Packing cubes are so useful when you are traveling with kids. There is nothing worse than spending every morning rummaging through your suitcase looking for a matching outfit. Packing cubes allow you to segregate clothes into their own cubes, making it easy to find what you need. Look for cubes with a peekaboo window so you can easily see what is inside.
How many times have you found yourself rummaging around in your suitcase looking for a phone charger? An electronics organizer can save you plenty of time and frustration by keeping all your chargers, cables, memory cards, headphones and adapters in one handy pack.
Ziploc bags are a parent’s secret weapon when traveling. You can use them to store snacks, dirty clothes, nappy changing kits, puzzle pieces, small toys, crayons and leaky shampoo bottles. Be sure to add a few to your case!
Be super organized for your next city trip. Download our fully comprehensive printable packing list, with checkboxes to ensure you don’t forget anything.
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