2020 World Championship Travel Guide (Abu Dhabi)

Thinking of joining us for our 2020 Spartan World Championship in Abu Dhabi? 

Here's the answers to your common travel, culture, and experience questions:

In this article:

Travel Tips & Logistics

  1. Nearest Airports/Hotels and what is it going to cost me?!
    Abu Dhabi Airport is a 15-25 minute car ride into Abu Dhabi City. Abu Dhabi is known for their 5 star resorts, however there are more affordable lodging options. Average price per night for 3 star ranges from $77-$110 USD  and $120-$400 for 4 star and above.
  2. Are there tipping and gratuity expectations?
    Tipping is not expected, but is commonly practiced in the emirate. Gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff are at your discretion. Many fine dining and high-end restaurants may add a service charge (usually around 10%) and a tourism levy of 6% to your bill.
  3. Will there be shuttles from hotels on race day?
    Shuttles will run from 7:00am -10:00pm on race days. Pick up locations will be announced at a later date.
  4. Will there be discounted travel packages through Spartan or Spartan affiliate?
    Travel packages will be offered at a later date. We would suggest waiting to make hotel reservations until the packages are available. Special rates and transport will be offered through participating partners.
  5. What is the expected cost of food and transportation in the area?

    While meal prices in Abu Dhabi can vary, the average cost of food in Abu Dhabi is AED58 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Abu Dhabi should cost around AED23 ($6) per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Abu Dhabi is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

    The cost of a taxi ride in Abu Dhabi is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent AED116 ($31) per person, per day, on local transportation in Abu Dhabi.

    The cost to rent a vehicle varies, however it is still the most cost-effective mode of transportation, especially if you plan to venture out. The average cost to rent a standard size vehicle is AED240 per day ($65), fuel prices average AED7.94 ( $2.16).

    The roads in Abu Dhabi are very well maintained and safe to travel on. Traffic in the city is heavy during rush hour, so try to plan your exploring around these times.

    You need to purchase a Hafilat card (re-loadable transport card, AED5 plus money for fares) before using any bus. These are available from vending machines at bus stops and at Al Wahda bus station. Hold up your Hafilat card to the validator upon boarding and exiting the bus.

  6. Are any medical documents or vaccinations required?

    Although vaccinations are not required, please visit The CDC's website for recommended vaccinations.
    For Guidelines for carrying personal medications, click here
    For specific customs guidelines on medications, duty free items and firearms, click here

  7. Is my Passport all I'll need? Do I need a Visa?

    Do not wait until the last minute, review your status, renew now if you have any plans to attend! 

    Here's a high-level overview of visa requirements. Double check your individual requirements!

    Here's some more info on how to obtain a visa, if needed. 

    Expedite and make your travel easier, by checking out the US Customs and Border Protection facility at Abu Dhabi Airport, if you're eligible!
  8. Do I need Travel Insurance? 

    Travel insurance is recommended. 

Cultural Questions

  1. Does the UAE have more strict laws on smoking and/or drinking?
    You can find the official laws on tobacco and alcohol use here

  2. Is there a dress code? Do I need to dress a specific way at the race, or traveling around the city?

    Although the attitude towards dress is fairly liberal throughout the Emirates, a healthy amount of respect for local customs doesn't go amiss, especially when shopping or sightseeing. Short or tight clothing may be worn, but it will attract attention - most of it unwelcome. In the evenings, restaurants and clubs usually have a mix of western, Arabic and Asian styles. Ladies are advised to take a pashmina or jacket because of cold air conditioning. Tourists aren’t expected to wear traditional clothing, unless you’re inside a mosque.

    No special dress requirements will be made while at the race. 

  3. Do I need to be worried about safety, or political conflicts while I'm in Abu Dhabi?
    Abu Dhabi has been named one of the safest cities in the world! Read more in our attached Travel Guide.

  4. What about public displays of affection or alternative lifestyles?
    The Emirates are very private, and respect of that privacy is paramount – therefore, people will not pry into your personal space/business, but PDA (public displays of affection) is definitely off-limits in public spaces.

More Resources

  • Download the PDF below for the Official Spartan World Championship, Abu Dhabi travel guide! 

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