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Dubai for a Month During the Pandemic

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Like many people who have been commuting from their bedrooms to their couches for the majority of 2020 + vacationing at their rooftop pool areas (if they even have one), I’d been really itching for a change of scenery.

Quitting my corporate job at the beginning of October gave me a new-found sense of flexibility. Sure I had been working remotely since early March of 2020, but working remotely came with added pressures of accessibility. Leaving the house for a coffee chat with a friend or to pick up a rental came with so much guilt and worry.

“What if someone instant messages me and I take 45 minutes to respond?”

I mean it – I declined all midday coffee connects with friends during the shelter in place, though I did frantically run to pick up a rental ahead of weekends that I’d planned to travel across states to visit my family.

Transitioning to self-employment has given me the opportunity to build the lifestyle that I desire and go as far as my resources will allow me. During this chapter of building, it is important to me that I provide myself with as much inspiration as possible.

This is why I’ve decided to travel solo for extended periods of time. Unlike other times I’ve traveled around the world, I don’t make any itineraries for my trips. I intentionally plan to live as locals do (and find out what that looks like once I arrive). This way, I leave plenty of space for creativity.

In a nutshell, I came to Dubai so that I could feel as limitless as possible. That is important to me as I begin my path of entrepreneurship. A month a half into this journey, I’ve worked some long days – reading books, attending webinars, journaling my ideas, gaining perspective from more seasoned entrepreneurs, building out frameworks, refining initial plans, etc. Making these sorts of investments in myself (and, therefore, my business) is important to me. These investments are honestly more gratifying today than my long days in Corporate America had been, given I’m establishing a foundation for the manifestation of my own dreams.

Successfully making it to Dubai was a little more complex than it would have been prior to the pandemic. As a tourist from the United States, you are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that proves you were tested no more than 96 hours ahead of your departure. It is extremely important that the certificate clearly shows that the test was a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, as other types of tests will not cut it.

The PCR test certificate must be printed and on-hand when you arrive at the airport. Flight attendants will review the paperwork before you are allowed to check any luggage or proceed to security gates.

I will say this one more time for the people in the back – the proof of the negative PCR test result must be printed. Digital emails and text messages won’t cut it, fam. Trust me – I saw a lot of disappointment and frantic printer searches at the airport. Simply print the email or whatever form of PCR testing results that you have. That is sufficient for this requirement.

Ahead of departure, you will also need to complete and present a Health Declaration Form (which can be found on I highly recommend printing and completing the form ahead of heading to the airport. Bring that form with you so that you can present it when asked to, it may be at initial point of departure or during one of your layovers, but you will surely need it and proactively having it on hand will make the validation process more seamless for you.

After fulfilling the aforementioned requirements, access to Dubai is pretty smooth sailing. Depending on how many layovers you have throughout your journey, you could be presenting the required documentation (negative COVID-19 PCR test results and Health Declaration Form) several times, but if you had those items cleared at initial departure then you shouldn’t expect any issues with having the correct documentation on hand at any other points during your travel.

My experience in Dubai has been amazing on several fronts. People are extremely nice, the food and aromatic spices are great, the city is extremely clean and I’ve been finding it extremely easy to rest. I’m also surprised at how much rest my body has been taken advantage of… almost surprised. 🙂 I’ve worked extremely hard in my career (and still do) and admittedly hadn’t prioritized balance + wellness as much as I should have. I’m grateful to be more in tune with the simple things that my body asks for to sustain good health.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful in some way. Take care of yourself. 🙂

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