The most important factor to consider in planning a trip to Dubai is the climate. From mid-October to mid-April, while much of the northern world is buttoned up in the cold, Dubai is bathed in sunshine, blue skies, and moderate temperatures. This is high season here, and the time that most outdoor activities and special events occur. It's also the most expensive period.

During the rest of the year, Dubai is hot In summer, it is excruciatingly so. Think of Dubai's seasons in reverse: During the winter months, everyone spends their time outside, and in the summer months, folks stay put in the air-conditioned inside. The one benefit of visiting Dubai during the off-season is that prices drop, and if you're primarily coming to shop in the extravagant malls, the outside temperature may not matter much.

But if you want to spend time at the beaches, theme parks, or in the desert, stay away during the sultry summer months.

Some travelers wonder whether Dubai is affected by the turmoil in some parts of the broader Middle East. The answer is no. Dubai is moderate politically, advanced economically (despite recent debt troubles), and stable socially. The many national and ethnic groups inhabiting and visiting Dubai do so in relative harmony. In fact, Dubai is one of the world's safest cities. The one thing to remember is this is still an Islamic society, and as such there is an expectation that non-Muslims will respect local customs. This means you shouldn't wear provocative clothing or engage in overt public displays of affection in places frequented by Emiratis. Dubai might remind you of a Western resort in some of its beachfront resorts, entertainment spots, and nightlife venues, but at its core it remains a traditional society.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.