Business Traveller - Dubai in a day, learning’s from my failed attempt

Are you are a business traveler like me? If you are then you probably end up going to amazing countries but with only limited time to look around. So if you were in Dubai for a night what would you do? Unfortunately, my trip was a bit of a fail, but I hope you can learn from my mistakes! Here are some of my tips if you are heading down that way.

The Burj Khalifa Dubai


I recently was invited to go to London by Lenovo as part of my ambassador responsibilities to witness the launch of the new YOGA 3 pro laptop series. I will write separately on London in a day and here is more on the Lenovo situation. Lenovo asked me who I wanted to fly with and as I live in Australia I wanted to fly Qantas, to get some points, and because they fly via Dubai. In my previous corporate travel life, I was a massive Singapore Airlines flyer and spent many overnights in Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian destination. This time, I thought let’s check out the UAE. I only had 24 hours and didn’t have much time to research or prepare so I just had to wing it.



I got in early in the morning and it was HOT! I live in the driest continent in the world, Australia, but I live in the south which is reasonable, this was hot like central Australia or some part of the sun.  Of course my room wasn’t ready so I went to the pool and had a quick swim which was awesome. 

After sitting still on a plane for a long time I like to get out and about so went for a walk. Remember I said it was hot? Well I just ignored this, got a map and off I went. This is how I like to do things, just wander with the locals and see what I can find. I like to get amongst it and away from the tourist spots.

The first few kilometers was okay, I’m tough and the air conditioned bus stops were a good rest. But then I realised that no one walks in Dubai, like no one. The city isn't built for walkers. No parks, no nice little stores hidden away like in London or Melbourne. You drive to somewhere and go there.  Not wanting to admit defeat to my plan, I kept going until I found some shops and had a rest, then some guy started touching me! Well ok, it was a barber’s chair and I did need a haircut. I love doing ordinary things overseas to see what's it like, hence the cut. 


I must say the local hairdresser was a bit shocked to see a strange white guy coming in for a $10 haircut. He put on quite a show and was a great break for me! 



I then found a restaurant offering traditional Aussie food so had to go look at that! Too funny to have a pie and beer in Dubai, check out the pics on Pinterest. After a tall beer and pie, I relented and walked back to the hotel to check in and see what else I could do. There was a beach trip on offer but it’s much too hot for that so I thought I would check out the largest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa .  Now for the advice – book in advance! The only time I could get in was 11:30pm so I took it. The tour was a stuff up but that aside, the Burge was amazing.  You can have a full day there as they have a huge mall, water fountains and of course a trip 124 floors to the top. Check out my Pinterest board for more pics.


So was my trip a fail or success? I didn’t even make it to the beach are which is supposed to be amazing, but it is mostly high end hotels and I can go anywhere in the world and see them.  My highest values are on people, which is why I have focused my career on Personal Branding, so of course that’s what I want to see. I got to see the local people of Dubai doing their thing and one thing I couldn’t see anywhere else, so for me it was a win. Lucky I wasn’t with anyone else as they would have hated it!

So the point is travel and live your life your way.  I had fun even with all the mistakes, I saw a different angle of Dubai, one most would miss on the tour bus to the hotels. We are all unique and individual so I encourage you to get out and experience Dubai your way.

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Andrew Ford

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.