visitors at expo 2020 dubai
Packing for a trip to Expo 2020 Dubai? Here are five pointers that will help you navigate the expansive site better Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The World Expos are no short walks. If you are familiar with these mega events, you probably know how expansive the hosting venues can be. Expo 2020 Dubai is 4.38-square-kilometre wide; that’s four times the area of the largest shopping mall in the world, The Dubai Mall.

You will be met with three petal-shaped districts and two parks, all lined with head-turning attractions. With so much to see and do, it’s important that you prepare beforehand for a smooth trip. After a full month of visiting the site, here are five things we noticed that are absolute must-haves on your person.

1. Expo 2020 mobile app

Available on both App Store and Google Play Store, the free-to-download mobile app will be your best guide. It comes with built-in navigation that works similarly to any other GPS application. When you get to the Expo site, fire up the map inside the app. Pick the pavilion or attraction you want to visit, and the app will present you with the best path to your destination along with an estimated time arrival on foot.

You can even link your e-ticket to the app and book a pavilion to visit using the smart queue system. Each ticket gets 10 advance bookings. All you have to do is select the day and time from the available slots and walk right into the pavilion of your choice without having to wait in long lines.

You might want to keep track of the 60-plus events that take place on site daily. Under ‘What’s going on today at Expo’, browse the list of upcoming events and their timings – most are free to attend.

visitors at expo 2020 dubai
When in doubt, ask an Expo volunteer for help Image Credit: Supplied

2. Comfortable attire and sun protection

To help you cover as much ground as possible, the best advice is to come in your comfiest pair of walking shoes. With your favourite sneakers in tow, do pay special attention to what you plan on wearing. We are well on our way into cooler months, and while the nights are pleasant still, it can get warm during the day. Loose, breathable attire would be the way to go, preferably in light colours.

When visiting before sunset, a trusty sunblock and a pair of sunglasses will come in handy. A few visitors do opt for sun umbrellas as well, though the main walkways – Opportunity, Sustainability and Mobility Districts as well as Al Forsan and Jubilee Parks – are all well shaded with natural cooling systems in place. Back to Nature!

3. Expo 2020 site map

For a more physical, hands-on experience, you can pocket your phone in favour of a detailed paper map. This is also helpful for when you’d like to save on battery or are undecided on where to begin your trip. Stands with free maps for the taking can be found near each gate, just past the ticket and screening areas.

The map legend includes locations for toilets, ATMs, prayer rooms, restaurants and more. A full listing of pavilions and points of interest can be found at the bottom as well, all colour-coded and numbered.

visitors at expo 2020 dubai
Get your physical map of the site from stands at the entrances Image Credit: Supplied

4. Water and snacks

Carrying food and beverage items into the site is not allowed. However, infant foods and special dietary items are good to go. While there are over 200 diverse eateries at Expo 2020 Dubai, from plant-based to street food, you will need something to munch on to refuel as you hop pavilions.

Zoom convenience stores are dispersed across the site, most of which are located inside Visitor Centres. These are plain white buildings snug between rows of pavilions that have toilets, showers, accessibility services and the information desk. Before you stroll to your next attraction, stop by here to refresh. Grab a packet of crisps, snack bar and bottled or canned water to carry with you.

If you already have a reusable water bottle on you, fill it for free at any one of the seven Aquafina water stations – Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion has one, so does The Drop Pavilion next to the Water Feature. Also, keep an eye out for 40 drinking water fountains lining the avenues that will help you quench your thirst on the go.

5. Power bank or phone charger

There is no guarantee a full charge will last you until the end of the day, especially if your phone is your main means to clicking pictures and filming videos. Don’t forget to bring along a power bank and a cable suitable for charging the model you use. Parking shuttles are equipped with charging ports, so you can get a few minutes in on the bus, on your way to the gate.

In the event you do not own a power bank, Expo has several up for lease at the Visitor Centres. These blue power banks have micro, type-c and iOS charging points, with rental fee starting from Dh5 for an hour to Dh20 for a day. Visitors must return the power bank to any centre before leaving the premises.