Single Parent Holiday Ideas Travel Blog

“Dune” Style Travel – A Thematic Holiday with Teenagers in the UAE

We all know that being a parent of teens is not easy, and travelling as a single parent with teenagers can be a particular challenge. Finding something your youngsters are passionate about and finding a way to share it with them, will go a long way towards winning them over. So, what would really capture your teens’ hearts? Now, we had a fabulous idea for a holiday with teenagers:

How about a “Dune” style adventure in the Middle East? Young people all over the world went nuts for the blockbusters, and you can recreate the adventure in the Emirates! Imagine renting a dune buggy in Dubai and experiencing the golden sands of Arrakis, just like in the film? This will surely be a truly memorable holiday for teenagers!

When is the best time for  a holiday with teenagers in the UAE?

Although Dubai famously has a favourable year-round climate, some periods are more suitable for dune buggy trips than others. There are certain times of the year when the temperatures are somewhat cooler than others, and these are the ones you should aim for. Remember, the desert can be notoriously sweltering during the summer, so, if possible, you should avoid the hottest part of the year, namely the months of June, July, and August.

Instead, plan your holiday with teenagers sometime between October and April. Hotels are a little bit more expensive, but there is a buzz in the air, with lots of events going on, and catching some sunshine in the dreary winter months can lift the family mood and make for a pleasant change for everyone.

camel ride in the desert
Photo: Camel ride safari across the desert

Where in the UAE can you find the famous dunes from the movie?

As soon as “Dune 2” was released, the creators of the movie made the filming locations public. So, we know that the endless sands of the hot planet Arrakis, where the main plot of the movie unfolds, are in the Rub’ al Khali desert, about four hours’ drive south of Dubai and 150 km away southwest of Abu Dhabi. Translated from Arabic, Rub’ al Khali means “Empty Quarter Basin”. The dunes here reach an impressive 250 metres in height in places. The crew filmed in the Liwa Oasis, on the Saudi border, for one month and the breathtaking beauty inspired much of the filming.

But even if you do not make it to the exact film location, which is admittedly somewhat remote, renting a dune buggy or four-wheel drive in Dubai and experiencing any of the nearby deserts will be a truly memorable experience for you and your teen.

Liwa oasis as in the Dune 2 movie
Photo: The Liwa oasis in the Rub’ al Khali desert from the Dune 2 movie

Other desert experiences your teenagers will love

Let’s face it: Kids move around constantly. While hard working single parents might be more interested in relaxing by the pool or beach, youngsters have energy that they need to unleash on a regular basis. If you really want to give your teenagers a holiday to their liking, you should make sure that there are age-appropriate activities on offer close to your holiday destination, and what’s more exciting than a dune adventure? Here are some desert experiences you and your teen should not miss on your holiday with teenagers in the Emirates:

Buggy and quad bike rides

There are tons of dune buggy and quad rental services in the UAE. Most places will offer organised “safaris” across the dunes, often combined with other experiences such as camel rides and a BBQ. Some will allow teenagers as young as 16 to drive a dune buggy or quad. Age restrictions tend to differ from one provider to the next, so make sure to check to avoid disappointment. Note that younger siblings usually have to be at least 7 or 8 years old.

dune buggy safari in the desert on your holiday with teenagers
Photo: Dune buggy safari in the Rub’ al Khari desert

Dune surfing on the waves of the desert

Do you and your teens snowboard, skateboard, or surf? Regardless of your experience with related sports, your teenagers might fancy the idea of sandboarding! Although still a relatively new sport, sandboarding is becoming more and more popular in Dubai, Quatar, and Egypt (its birthplace), especially amongst young people. Best of all, riding a 20-metre dune is much easier and safer than conquering ocean waves, yet brings as much fun and joy, if not more. Book with a professional provider who will have different types of waxed sandboards, including some for younger kids.

Camel rides across the desert

You cannot visit the desert without getting the whole family to ride a camel! Camel rides are fun and great photo opportunities. They will also appeal to younger siblings and can be combined with a thrill seeker experience. 45 minutes to an hour is plenty as riding on the back of a camel is not as comfortable as it looks! Book an experience to make sure you visit the best spots for camel riding and get to learn how to communicate with these evenly tempered and intelligent animals.

Camping in the desert

Seeing in the desert at night is a truly magical experience you and your teenagers shouldn’t miss. The sun setting over the desert in pinkish hues is a breathtaking sight, as are the countless bright stars in the desert’s indigo coloured sky. Nowhere else are the skies so clear and free of pollution enhancing the visibility of our awe-inspiring galaxy. The complete silence of the desert can be incredibly calming, interrupted only by the eerie hum of insects or the cackling of jackal packs and other desert animals. Booking a desert safari complete with an overnight stay in a Bedouin tent in a desert camp will be a truly unforgettable holiday for your teenagers and you.

Rub al Khali desert at night with stars
Photo: The Rub’ al Khali desert at night.


So, what are you waiting for? If you are looking for a holiday with teenagers, UAE is a great place to start. Whether you are choosing Dubai or Abu Dhabi as your base, you are never far away from the desert, which offers exciting sand dune adventures that youngsters will adore and be happy to boast about to their friends. The memories you will make on your trip will stay with both of you for a lifetime.

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