Renting a Car in the United Arab Emirates is a very straightforward process, but there are some things that are good to keep in mind.
One needs an English Alphabet or an international driving license that are basically a translation of the original driving license from the country of citizenship. Citizens of United States and England do not need this kind of document. The International Driver’s license comes in different presentations, some are like the standard ID others are a kind of a gray booklet. In UAE they prefer the gray booklet. Besides of this requirement everything else works as usual.
Car Rental prices are very cheap and one gets excellent cars mostly new models. Gas is as well very affordable. People drive quite fast in the Emirates, but one can get a fine for going over the speed limit. Most hotels and shopping centers offer free parking and the roads are in pristine condition. One can get the car in the airport and then return it there or in any of the other many offices around the city.
It is easy to rent a car in any of the major airports, Dubai is little cheaper than Abu Dhabi. Most branches have offices in the main cities along the country, so it is possible to pick up or leave the cars there as well.
During our trips to UAE we have been able to rent cars in several opportunities. A couple of times we have faced problems during the rental process. Being a temporary resident of the USA and presenting an English Alphabet drivers license, I was denied the rental with the explanation that because I am not an American citizen I need the international drivers license, even when I rented several times before in the UAE with that same drivers license. My feeling was they wanted to force me to pick a more expensive car. I still was able to rent a car from another company just next to this one, but I paid a little more because it was like renting without a reservation. So if one is a citizen of a non English speaking country it is always a good idea to carry along an International drivers license.
Be sure to have good coverage. Many international credit cards offer rental insurance. Just keep in mind that any incident with the car, even if is a little bump can become a head ache since they want a police report, be sure to inspect the car very well before receiving it so you may save yourself problems later.