With the five-day Eid Al Adha break falling just a week before the two-month school summer holiday in the UAE, many residents are looking to combine them for a longer vacation. The Eid holiday is likely from June 15. Just a few days after offices reopen post the break, schools will close for the two-month annual summer vacation.

“This year, there has been a 40 per cent surge in long-haul bookings compared to last year, indicating a strong preference for more prolonged and far-reaching trips,” Rikant Pittie, co-founder of online travel company EaseMyTrip, told Khaleej Times. “Many families utilise the Eid holidays by combining it with their annual leaves to take an extended vacation with their families back home.”

However, those looking to fly out at the start of the Eid break or summer holidays won’t get the best deals. Citing data from its platform, travel website Skyscanner said: “The first two weeks in July are the most popular time to head away this summer, however these are not the cheapest weeks to travel … On average, UAE travellers can save 11 per cent by travelling during the week of August 12 versus the week of July 8 — meaning an average saving of up to Dh804 for a family of four.”

The company said 92 per cent of UAE travellers are planning on taking a summer holiday abroad, according to its research.

“However, 49 per cent of residents are yet to book their summer holiday destinations. Indecision on dates (51 per cent) and destination (35 per cent) are some of the top reasons they’ve yet to hit the book button. In addition, data also revealed that UAE travellers are on the hunt for great value deals with 40 per cent sharing that they are still trying to find the best deal and 22 per cent waiting for a last-minute deal.”

Top destinations

Travel provider dnata revealed the top holiday destinations from the UAE over summer 2024. “In order of popularity, the choices are Thailand, Maldives, USA, Turkey, and the UK.”

Meerah Ketait, head of Retail and Leisure UAE at dnata Travel, said: “UAE-based travellers are exploring more of the world, including a variety of new locations across popular hotspots. Between 2020 and 2024, several new resorts are bringing more to discover across the islands of the Maldives, and this year our travellers are making the most of trying somewhere new.”

Across the summer, 65 per cent of bookings are for international destinations, while the remaining cover UAE staycations. The travel company has seen a 40 per cent increase in travel bookings during the Eid break, compared to the summer months.

According to EaseMyTrip’s Pittie, for the Eid break, residents opt for destinations like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan that have short flight times. “For a longer holiday, residents prefer destinations like Saudi, the US, Turkey, the UK, Bali, Hong Kong and Australia.”

A major trend the travel provider is noticing is the growing demand for luxury and personalised experiences. These include food experiences like dining in unique spots.

“Furthermore, UAE travellers are tech-savvy and prefer managing their travel plans online. They prefer independent travel over packaged tours, appreciating the freedom and control it provides, even if it means paying a bit extra,” he said. “Travellers (are) looking for budget-friendly yet high-quality destinations. This trend is especially noticeable among families.”