honeymoon in dubai/abu dhabi/maldives 2021

Being a Covid Bride is ROUGH. Imagine having to deal with all the stress of wedding planning, and then you throw Covid-19 into the mix. Well, on November 7, 2021, Ben and I finally got to have the wedding of my (I mean our, lol) dreams! We’ve been thinking throughout the entire year about where we can go for our honeymoon, especially with all the Covid restrictions nowadays. Before Covid was even a thing, our original plan was New Zealand and Fiji. NZ was one of the places we jokingly said we’d quit our jobs and travel to together, before we even went on our first date – so to have it be our honeymoon destination would have just been the cherry on top. Unfortunately, it is still closed (at the time we were booking our honeymoon and at the time of this writing). Fiji had reopened, but we decided we didn’t want to travel 24+ hours from NYC just to go to an island (though I’m sure it’s a beautiful one). 

So how did we land on Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Maldives for our honeymoon?

  1. We knew we wanted to do one of those private villas overlooking the ocean, so that’s when we started looking into the Maldives, which had been reopened since July 2020. But again, we didn’t want to travel all that way just to go to an island. Plus our honeymoon would be two weeks long and a. I would go stir crazy laying on a beach for two weeks. As you can tell from my other blog posts, I like to do things and explore. b. No way two weeks in the Maldives was in our budget. 
  2. We started looking into other countries we could go to in the area that wouldn’t require any sort of quarantine. Somewhere in Asia would have been our first choice but there were just too many restrictions. That’s when we found Dubai. It was on our “eventually visit” list so we thought what better time than now, since everything else is still closed? United Arab Emirates reopened in August of 2020. No quarantine required, and you just need your vaccination card and a negative PCR test 48 hours beforehand. It also met our criteria of being close enough to the Maldives, which was a 5 hour flight away. We tacked on Abu Dhabi too because it was only about an hour drive from Dubai.

We left two weeks after our wedding, which was the best decision. We knew we didn’t want to go right after the big day because we didn’t want to have to stress over both last minute wedding details and last minute honeymoon details. By going a bit later, this gave us time to recover from our wedding, relax, and slowly pack for the trip. Our honeymoon ended up being the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. We spent five days in Dubai, three in Abu Dhabi, five in Maldives (Kooddoo Island), and one day in Malé, Maldive’s capital city. We purposely planned to go to UAE first since we knew we would be running around a lot and would need a vacation after that. The Maldives was the perfect end because we did absolutely nothing, but eat, drink, and tan. This was our first time in the Middle East (or having our own private villa in the middle of the Indian Ocean, for that matter) and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Here are a few of my favorite snaps from the trip:

View at the Palm in Dubai
View from a dhow dinner cruise
The Dubai Frame – a giant frame that splits the city into old vs. new – you can go up and if you look closely underneath the top, you’ll see some glass floors you can stand on
Some of the spices offered at the Dubai Souks
Dubai Miracle Garden
Tried sand boarding for the first time in Sharjah Desert
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Mercure Kooddoo, Maldives
This is us and not just two randos, lol

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