UAE National Day holiday: Residents rush to plan last-minute getaways after surprise long weekend announcement

From luxury staycations to fitness trips, residents are planning to make the best of the surprise 3-day weekend


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 2:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 29 Nov 2023, 12:51 PM

Residents are rushing to make last-minute plans after an additional day off was announced for private sector employees on the occasion of national day, turning the holiday into a 3-day weekend.

Be it short distance travel plans in the country itself, or vacation spots that might require a flight, residents are ticking ideas off their list as the last long weekend of the year approaches.

From a hike up UAE's scenic mountains, to a visit back home, here's what residents have planned ahead of December's beginning precious days.

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Hiking and camping

What was supposed to be a normal weekend for many residents has become an instant time for a getaway. When Anastasia Egorov, a Russian expat, learned about the extra day off, she had to devise a last-minute plan to make the last extended weekend more fruitful.

Egorov, a property consultant in Dubai, said that she has been very busy for the last couple of days, and “the extended break serves as an opportunity to unwind, reconnect with nature, and create memories in the UAE,” said Egorov, who moved to the UAE two years ago.

“I had no plans for the national day week off. However, now that the weather is just perfect for hiking and camping, we have planned to make the most of this time, spending it in the Ras Al Khaimah desert and hills,” said Egorov.

Fatima Noor, a Somalian national residing in Sharjah, is excited to test her newly acquired 4x4 and explore the desert. “My husband had promised me an adventurous experience after we got our new SUV. But we haven’t got a chance yet. Now, as it is a 3-day weekend, we will be camping in the desert with friends."

“Two days of camping with dune bashing will allow us a day for rest on Monday,” said Noor.

Relaxed staycation

Rajeev Mehta was planning a trip to his hometown in India, "but since the extended day was announced on Thursday, I am unable to travel for now. The airfare has skyrocketed, which is the primary reason I am avoiding my travel,” said Mehta.

“Many hotels in the northern emirates were fully booked and my family was really looking forward to a staycation. Finally, a friend of mine helped me reserve a room for two nights at a resort in Abu Dhabi for quality family time,” said Mehta.

In addition to getting an extra day off, residents are also seeking a more relaxed escape, like a staycation within the luxurious accommodations. “It offers a perfect blend of comfort and leisure,” said Bilal Hamdan, a lecturer at a university in the UAE.

"Earlier, I had reserved a room for a night, but when I learned about an extra day, I called up the resort to extend my stay. It's a perfect way to relax without having to travel too far from home,” said Hamdan, who has booked a stay at a resort in Fujairah.

Trip to Musandam

Additionally, many residents are also planning to venture beyond national borders with a trip to Musandam, Oman, where pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and serene fjords await exploration.

Joshua, a Filipino expat, has planned a trip to Musandam with five of his friends. “We had been eyeing Musandam for a while now. We initially planned to take a road trip and return at night. This extended break has changed our plans and now we will be returning on Monday, December 4,” said Joshua, adding that they are calling hotels in Musandam for their stay at night.

“It's going to be a refreshing gateway for us,” said Joshua.


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