Often referred to as the smaller-Hajj, Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims portraying unanimity and their submission to Allah (God) in the pious city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Umrah is a vital moment in any Muslims life, nevertheless, with the added advantage of it’s flexibility to be performed at any time, it’s still overwhelming to make sure you have everything prepared.
For a fulfilling trip, follow these pre-departure tips and advice before you embark on this spiritually awakening journey!
1. Prepare a Proper Travel Itinerary
There are multiple notable travel agencies around with ready-made travel packages for Umrah to cater to your specific needs. Intensive research is required as these agencies will be responsible for the major logistics of your trip. Even so, personal research is key as certain travel agencies can manipulate data regarding hotels – such as their distances from Al-Haram and Al-Nabvi mosque, and prices of flights to take advantage of uninformed travellers – Airfare shouldn’t deviate too far from the prices listed on the official airlines websites.
An ideal travel agency’s Umrah package should comprise the booking of flight tickets, lodging in satisfactory accommodations in both Medina and Mecca, transportation back and forth from the airport, transportation between the two cities along with sightseeing options in both cities.
2. PREPARATION OF TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
As there is a rule regarding Saudi Visas which is only granted when applied by the travel agency, agencies should oversee the timely obtaining of Saudi Visas. Travel agencies are also required to ensure the pilgrims have completed the required travel and medical paperwork ahead of time.
Before embarking on Umrah, it is also required to be vaccinated according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Information is more widely available at the Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) website which constantly updated their requirements and recommendations for visas and health information alike.
Here’s a list of travel documents to make sure you have:
- ID Card
- Airline Tickets
- Hotel Booking Confirmation
- Vaccination Record
- Relationship Certificate
- Passport Sized Photos (It’s always idea to carry along additional passport size photographs while travelling to Saudi Arabia as you might need them for ID cards)
- Bank Drafts of Umrah Payments
- Cash (It’s advisable to keep cash on hand, as banks and ATMs are not easily accessible in Mecca)
- Islamic Will
- Islamic Resources / Guide (This can include Useful Islamic pamphlets/ mini Umrah guide / a pocket Quran and a small book for Duas.
3. What to pack
Since we’ve covered the essential documents for a smooth travel, here’s a checklist of things to bring along to aid you during your pilgrimage.
- Medication; you’ll find almost everything you need in a First-Aid Box, incase of an emergency. Other medicated items to bring along include lozenges, cooling sheets for fevers, vitamin C’s, multivitamins, cough syrup, hand sanitizers, eye drops and antihistamines. If you take regular prescribed medication, it’s advised to obtain a letter from your GP detailing the medication as it may come in hand for immigration purposes.
- Food: Rehydration salts / drinks, any sweets or energy bars that won’t melt or get sticky – good for a burst of energy.
- Comfortable shoes and rubber slippers
- Unscented tissues, baby wipes, petroleum jelly, soap, deodorant – it’s best if all these items are unscented as scented items are prohibited within the Al-Haram.
- Clothings: Irham, cotton undergarments, cotton scarves/hijab and abaya, small bag/purse.
4. physically and mentally preparing yourself
Umrah is a journey, and every pilgrim needs time to physically, mentally and spiritually prepare themself with pure intentions for Umrah. Umrah preparations also include reading and studying the history and learning about the sacred places you’ll be visiting in Mecca and Medina. This will allow you to appreciate the pilgrimage more and value the beauty of Mecca and Madina, making your overall Umrah experience a lot more memorable.
As Umrah requires a lot of physical strength and stamina, it’s suggested to start building up endurance by regularly talking walks. It’ll also be beneficial to stay hydrated to train your water tolerance as you’ll be consuming a lot of water during Umrah, and restrooms aren’t easily accessible.
If you are a woman, who’s wishing to delay her menstrual cycle during Umrah, you should discuss this with your doctor well in advance of travel so you can seek proper measures to effectively delay your menstruation cycle.
Preparing in advance allows you to relax and focus on your prayer and supplications while on Umrah.
5. stay connected with your family members
Now that you’ve got everything covered, make sure you have a connected smartphone to have a pleasant Umrah. It is advisable to always stay connected, even among your family or friends, because most of the time, women and men would be separated. Not only that, you might get lost in the crowds. To save yourself from these unpleasant experiences, make sure to have a working connection on your smartphones.
How do you stay connected in Saudi Arabia? Yes, roaming might be expensive, but we have a solution for you. With Flexiroam, you can stay connected 24/7 starting from $11.20. No need to worry about being disconnected from your internet, we ensure you have a strong and fast connection.
Make sure you get everything you need for your Umrah and yes, that includes Flexiroam!
Have a blessed trip!
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