It’s time to whip your calendar out again for the next round of holiday travel planning over the next year! Here’s what to expect in 2022.
We’re looking at available dates when travel is possible so you can start setting any extra leave dates you may need from work as well as budgeting how many trips you can afford and narrowing down your Middle East travel bucket list.
UAE Public Holidays 2022
Religious holidays are always subject to change as the Hijri (Islamic) calendar is based on moon sightings and varies by approximately 10 days to the Gregorian calendar every year. Some occasions may only be marked by the stopping of alcohol service for 24 hours (in Dubai).
- New Years Day – Friday, 1 January 2022 – follows the Gregorian calendar, always a fixed day off (no extra public holiday to be given)
- Ramadan starts – (Ramadan 1) – est 2 April 2022 – not marked by a holiday but a change in business and school hours.
- Eid Al-Fitr – (Ramadan 29 to Shawwal 3) – est 3 to 5 May 2022 – can be marked by anything up to one week of holidays, TBC moon sighting.
- Arafat Day – (Dhul al-Hijjah 9) – est 8 July 2022 – linked to Eid holidays, confirmed by moon sighting.
- Eid Al Adha – (Dhul al-Hijjah 10-12) – est 9 July to 11 July 2022– can be marked by up to one week in holidays – final announcement TBC.
- Hijri New Year (Muharram 1) – est 30 July 2022 – usually marked with a public & private sector holiday – observation on 1 August 2022.
- Mouloud (The Prophet’s Birthday) – est 8 October 2022 – observation has been moved to Monday 10 October 2022 granting a 3-day weekend
- Commemoration Day (previously known as called Martyr’s Day) – Thursday 1 December 2022 – moved from its previous date 30 November to coincide with National Day celebrations – always a day off
- National Day – Friday 2 & Saturday 3 December 2022 – always a 2-day break, usually attached to a weekend, an extra day is likely to be granted 5 December TBC
NB Christmas Day and other Christian holidays are not formally observed. Many employers will be flexible, however, in granting Christian employees a day off but it will come from their annual leave allowances.
UAE School Holidays 2021-22
(Please note these vary by curriculum and Emirate, we have based this on guidance from ADEK and KHDA for schools starting with a September academic year. April starting curriculums will vary. Please check with your individual schools.)
- Winter break – 9 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 [3 weeks]
- Midterm break – around one week commencing 14 February 2022, varies in length, some schools only
- Spring break – 26 March to 10 April 2022 [2 weeks]
- Summer break – commences 2 July 2022. Students likely to return 29 August 2022 but formal announcements for 2021-22 academic year unlikely until May/June 2022. [8 weeks]
- Autumn mid-term break – around one week commencing 17 October 2022, varies in length, some schools only
Where to head at each UAE holiday break
Note, travelling over popular UAE holidays always adds to the cost. The earlier you commit to dates the better the price you will pay but you may risk not having the day off school/work as intended!
Approx 9 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 [3 weeks]
Weather in the UAE: Highs around 24°C. Water temperature can be cool and occasional rain possible
With most schools getting 3 weeks off at this time, it’s an idea time to make some longer escapes at this time, both to take advantage of the cooler weather within the Middle East region, and short flights that can take you to the best winter wonderlands!
- Our best winter getaways coming soon!
If you are sticking around in the UAE, just be mindful its a very popular time of year for inbound visitors too. Attractions that normally have no queues are at their busiest over winter break so do factor this in.
Some schools may also grant a few days in mid-February
Why not take the opportunity to try one of the UAE’s beautiful glamping spots?
Approx Friday 26 March to Saturday 10 April 2022 [2 weeks]
Weather in the UAE: Highs around 30°C, sunny days most likely but can rain
A perfect opportunity for exploring locally taking advantage of the early summer sun. Though do note, it’s also one of the busiest times for inbound tourism to Dubai and the UAE. As a guide, Easter is Sunday 4 April 2021 and UK Public Holidays run approximately 3 April to 18 April 2021. Ramadan will commence approximately 12 April.
Why not try:
Approx Tuesday 3 May to Sunday 8 May 2022 [5 days – unless full week declared then 9 days!]
Weather in the UAE: High 30°C‘s, hot out but water still refreshing
Many schools are likely to also tie this public holiday to a small mid-term break. Dates are variable, so there’s every possibility there could be a 9-day break. Here’s our full list of Eid Getaway suggestions at home and away.
- Some slightly cooler but sunny destinations to try include Cyprus, Turkey, Greece.
- Best beach resorts for families in the UAE
- Why not try one of these hotel resorts with a private pool
Approx Sunday 8 July to Wednesday 11 July 2022 [4 days]
Weather in the UAE: Extremely hot, expect Mid-40°Cs.
This will fit in the very middle of summer during 2021. If you are not already on a summer escape, then it could be the perfect opportunity to get yourself away for a week, using minimal leave as at least 4 days are likely to be called as public holidays.
- Try catching the start of the Khareef in Salalah, Oman
- We will update you on more favourite nearby summer escapes soon.
Hijri New Year Observed
Thursday Monday 1 August 2022 [3 days]
Weather in UAE: Scorching! Expect 43°C+ and humidity
Falling most likely on a Saturday but to be observed on Monday, it will make for a great mid-summer long weekend. If you’re staying in the UAE over summer we suggest keeping it local with a staycation, look out for hotels with fabulous pool deals.
Commemoration Day / National Day Long Weekend
Thursday 1 December to Sunday 4 December 2022 [4 days]
Weather in the UAE: Expect temperatures up to 28°C
There are plenty of good reasons to stick around the UAE for this holiday. While it might be cooling for the beach and swimming, it’s the perfect weather for camping and exploring outdoors.
We suggest you try our UAE winter weekend ideas at this time of year.
If you are coming to Abu Dhabi, don’t miss our guide to 40+ things to do for Free (or really cheap). Also see our guides to popular Abu Dhabi attractions including:
Going further afield?
Planning Tools for flights out of Dubai
We use Skyscanner as our starting point for any search to see what approximate flight prices and accommodation costs we should expect. Give it a shot here:
Don’t forget you can search from more than just DXB! Why not also try starting with:
- AUH for Abu Dhabi
- DWC for Al Maktoum Airport
- SHJ for Sharjah
- AE for all UAE airports
- If you’d like to get creative and see where you can go, use “Anywhere” as your destination.
Note for overseas visitors on UAE School Holidays
If you are trying to work out how busy attractions will be in the UAE, it’s more important to note when other countries have their school holidays, when inbound tourism to the UAE is at it’s busiest.
During the cooler months, particularly December Christmas to New Year and Spring Break – early April, it’s more likely that expat families stick around. But over the hottest summer months July & August, a lot of expatriate families leave the country.
Hotels can also be heavily discounted in the summer, but this is to reflect that it’s near impossible to be outside during the day and many outdoor activities are suspended. We talk more about what to expect in Summer here.
Don’t forget to jump over to our Family Travel Middle East chat group to discuss ideas with fellow parents. We will update in the group and our Facebook Page as we become aware of any great last-minute deals.