When you come from Western countries such as the US and UK, you may be used to the freedom of using your device to download social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, or communication tools like WhatsApp to connect with friends and family. But in some countries, there are more strict rules and regulations in place for communicative apps such as these.
The UAE for example, often blocks the use of apps such as WhatsApp and Skype to control video content. But there are other apps available which are similar in use to WhatsApp, including Viber and Telegram. These instant messaging apps help you keep connected when other services are blocked.
As well as being useful for communication purposes, apps and gadgets can help expats adapt and adjust to living in a different country. From translator apps to help with language barriers, to helpful travel guides, here are some useful gadgets and apps for expats living in Dubai.
Top expat choice
Dubai remains one of the top destinations for expats from around the world, being voted as the best city in the Middle East. Factors such as the political and social environment, quality of medical care and public services as well as recreation facilities all factor into the top rating.
Another reason that Dubai is popular is that it is seen as largely tax free but this isn’t the entire picture. The government does collect revenue from varied sources such as car registration renewals, parking charges and tax charged on some businesses. This means that when you earn a salary in Dubai, no tax is taken by the state.
Getting around the city
Just like when you move to a new city, apps can be one of the best way to help you locate the nearest facilities and understand the transport system. So, it isn’t a surprise that there are a few good apps that you can use to help settle in Dubai.
- Guide Pal – Dubai City Travel Guide
This is a great app for the newly arrived in Dubai, because it allows you to not only learn about getting around the city but also makes recommendations about where to shop, eat and even where to go to enjoy the nightlife. Guide Pal’s integrated map uses your location and offers suggestions within a mile of you.
This is another map and recommendation app that is available for both iOS and Android. It allows you to save and organize places you wish to visit in lists and share them with friends or family. CityMaps2Go is free to download but it can take up a lot of memory, so you may want to delete it once you get used to where everything is around the city.
- Transit Directions by Moovit
Moovit’s Transit Directions is a real-time app that provides information for buses and trains and covers more than 800 cities around the world, including Dubai. If you plan to use the public transport to get around, then this is a very useful app to get times to plan your journey.
Living in another country is very much about adapting to the culture and picking up the language but these things don’t happen overnight. That’s why there are apps that can help make the transition easier.
- Google Translate
Google Translate has 103 languages when connected to the internet and a total of 52 languages when offline so even if you are not connected to the internet, you can still use the app to help you translate words or phrases quickly. This free app shows you how to read the language but also voices the translation to help you learn to speak it.
- Dubai Calendar
Dubai Calendar is a dedicated app to let you know what is going on and enjoy the best of life in Dubai. The app is ideal to find something to do at the weekend, an event to take the children or even larger festivals or events happening later in the year to plan around.
This is the official app for the municipality and is one of the few that makes use of QR codes too. iDubai gives you a wealth of information about living in Dubai ranging from clinics and banks to parks, schools and shopping malls. You can also add your location to find out what is nearby.
Smartphone’s are definitely the must-have gadget when you are living as an expat because they are able to download apps and tools which can help you learn your way around the city or town, find the facilities you need and enjoy the best of your new home. But there are a few other gadgets to consider for your new life too.
- Portable USBs and Printers
Portable USBs with tracking facilities are a handy feature to have and to give to the kids if you don’t want them to have a smartphone yet. This allows you to see where someone is or to find your own location if your smartphone isn’t connecting to the internet.
Portable printers are another useful gadget for expats because they allow you to quickly and easily print off any documents you need.
Be ready for the challenge
Using the best apps and gadgets can help make you ready for the challenge of living somewhere new. If an app is banned or blocked, remember there are other services that may not be blocked including communicative tools such as Viber or Telegram. Apps can be a great tool to use to help you adapt and adjust to living in Dubai.