Eid Travel
Anse Lazio beach at Praslin island, Seychelles Image Credit: Shutterstock

UAE residents tend to be last-minute-dot-com people – the fast-paced pressured working life, and maybe a reluctance to start the often laborious process of obtaining a visa can make us stall our holiday plans.

But all is not lost for those who hesitate for there are several countries nearby that allow visa-free travel or visa upon arrival at the airport, certain requirements having to be met of course.

The main requirement for most countries that allow this is for travelling UAE residents to take their Emirates ID cards with them.

“UAE residents must carry their Emirates ID to obtain a visa on arrival. Emirates ID will be used as proof of residency and hence is a mandatory document to have while travelling outside of the UAE and returning back to the country,” states the flydubai website.

Other common essentials are to hold a return flight ticket and enough money to see you through.

Some countries ask for proof of your accommodation booking, health insurance and a residence permit valid for a minimum of six months after the arrival date. However, it is worth remembering the big difference between a UAE resident and a UAE citizen. The latter can visit many more countries without needing a visa. Not so the former.

Here are five nearby destinations that will allow visa-free travel or visa upon arrival for almost every nationality, although it is still recommended to check the visa requirements and small print with the airline before you travel.


The 115 islands of this archipelago off the east coast of Africa have something for everyone, from pristine white beaches, turquoise waters and coastlines dotted with dramatic granite boulders to inland jungles.

On the main island of Mahé, hiking to the top of the 905-metre (3,000 ft) high Morne Seychellois in The Morne Seychellois National Park is popular for sensational views. The park holds lush jungles, curious pitcher plants, birdlife including the Seychelles kestrel, blue pigeon, sunbird, bulbul and, if you are very lucky, you could see an endangered Seychelles scops-owl.

Scuba diving among the wreckages in the waters off the northern islands or snorkelling around Bay Ternay in Mahé are experiences not to be missed.

The Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin Island holds the world’s largest population of native coco-de-mer, the enormous national palm tree of Seychelles.


Only a three-hour flight from Dubai, Georgia is an affordable year-round destination. The capital city of Tbilisi has a chequered history, although now its Old Town is more famous for its domed sulphur baths and buildings with intricately carved wooden verandas.

Panoramic view of Tbilisi, Georgia
Panoramic view of Tbilisi, Georgia Image Credit: Shutterstock

Learn from granny Daji in Imereti how to make Khachapuri, Georgia’s iconic cheese bread. Georgian Flavours and other food entrepreneurs organise cooking classes here and in Tbilisi, and on an organic farm in Kakheti, there is a class for making Chakapuli, a seasonal lamb stew traditionally made in spring.

Guria in western Georgia is one of the smallest and least-visited regions of country yet has varied landscapes of mountains, rolling hills, plus tea and hazelnut plantations. Warm and humid Guria allows tea to flourish and tea tourism is slowly developing, with a handful of tea producers now offering tours and tastings.

For a scenic road trip, take the winding high altitude Great Georgian Military Highway which begins in Tbilisi, crosses the Caucasus Mountains and ends in Vladikavkaz in Russia.


For some fresh and breezy weather, head for Azerbaijan where nature is waking up after its winter hibernation. From now until June the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains burst with colour as wildflower carpets replace snow.

Philharmonic Fountain Park near the Old City in Baku, Azerbaijan Image Credit: Shutterstock

Less than three-hours flight from Dubai, Azerbaijan is a blend of Asia and Europe, with an intriguing history. It’s capital Baku holds a mixture of ex-Soviet buildings, ultra-modern luxury brand shops alongside traditional structures and mosques from the 12th century.

Of note is its Arabic food, an opera and ballet theatre and three flame-shaped towers symbolising fire in reference to the country’s nickname The Land of Fire.

Beyond the city lie pockets of oil and gas reserves, one particularly famous site being Yanar Dağ, a natural gas fire that burns continuously on a hillside on the Caspian Sea.


Dream holidays are made in this chain of 1,192 tiny islands and 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean. The islands developed as tourist resorts offer visitors sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, villas on stilts over turquoise waters and diverse marine life.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Each resort island is a bespoke resort, so choosing the correct one is vital. These vary from rustic beach chalets to all-inclusive luxury modern hotels with spas and activities for the kids. There are resorts catering specifically for solo travellers, others for families, and there are some adult only resorts.

Baa Atoll is renowned for being the most untouched area of the Maldives and as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers spectacular diving opportunities. The area supports a high diversity of corals and marine life including turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and the endangered green turtle.


This small friendly country has adventures for all types of holidaymakers. It is big on hospitality, history and culture with many UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore. The most famous being Petra, an archaeological site once inhabited by the ancient Arab Nabatean people.

To the south is the Wadi Rum desert where a night spent under the stars in a Bedouin camp is a must. See canyons, dramatic wind-sculptured rock structures, sand dunes and Nabatean rock inscriptions.

Eid holidays
View through a rock arch in Wadi Rum, Jordan Image Credit: Shutterstock

Madaba town has famous Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics while Jerash has well-preserved ruins of Roman settlements.

A road trip along the Dead Sea Highway starts at Amman and ends at the lowest point on Earth – the Dead Sea. Floating in this extraordinary place is meant to evoke relaxation and its mud said to hold healing powers. ■