Hajj Travel Tips – Make Your Journey a Rewarding, Memorable Experience
Hajj travel is something that millions of Muslims participate in every year. Hajj is an Arabic word referring to an annual pilgrimage that calls millions of Muslims to walk in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad. This is a five-day journey through the holy land of Makkah that all followers of Islam are expected to complete at least once in a lifetime. There are exceptions for those who are legitimately unable to make the journey, especially when a physical limitation makes it impossible.
For many visitors, the Hajj travel experience is so amazing that it’s heartbreaking to think about only having the opportunity to participate in this journey only once in every five years. Why you ask?
Since nowadays traveling to Makkah has become easy and affordable, lots of Muslims want to travel to Makkah to perform Hajj. And for that reason, the Saudi government only allow individuals to participate once in every five years.
If you’re planning your first pilgrimage to Makkah or haven’t participated in years, it’s important to understand the significance of what you’re doing. There is also some vital information that you must know in order to complete the Hajj travel safely. We’ll share that information with you right here, so you don’t have to keep searching for insider Hajj tips.
The Importance of Hajj
More than 1,400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad PBUH was born in Makkah, which is now often referred to as Mecca.
The Hajj takes participants to several regions within and surrounding the city of present-day Mecca. Hajj pilgrims arrive at designated locations each day and carry out Hajj rituals in one amazing mass. It’s common for well over one million people to make the journey each year, and they come from well over 150 countries most years. This creates a versatile crowd representing many nationalities, but all participants are bound by their belief in Islam.
The journey is traveled during the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which is known as Dhu al-Hijja. This year Hajj will be in the month of August, but you have to wait for Saudi Arabian officials to announce the exact dates.
How to Prepare for Hajj Travel
Some Hajj participants plan their travel and transportation accommodations and believe that they are ready for the trip, but that isn’t the way to go. This is an emotionally draining journey that requires physical stamina and in-depth knowledge of the rituals and their significance to the Islamic faith. This means that you should commit to studying the Quran and learning more about how the rituals are performed before leaving for your trip.
Many mosques and Hajj travel groups will also offer in-depth courses that will prepare you for the rituals of Hajj. These classes are a wise investment of your time and will ensure that you’re mentally prepared to handle some stressful and highly emotional moments that may arise during your pilgrimage.
While getting your heart and sole in the right place, there are some additional tips that will help you prepare for a successful Hajj:
- Visit your doctor to make sure that you can physically handle the demands of the trip safely. You should also receive meningococcal meningitis and cholera vaccinations, which are required by the Saudi government. Your doctor may recommend additional vaccinations due to your medical history.
- Pick your travel mates with care. You want to go into Hajj with a team of mature, dedicated Muslims who take the pilgrimage seriously and are able to support you physically and mentally as needed. Some travel groups will connect you with knowledgeable guides who speak Arabic fluently and can stay with you throughout the adventure.
- Work with a reputable Hajj travel agency that is approved by the government of Saudi Arabia. Partnering with professionals who are familiar with the complications of traveling to Makkah for Hajj will increase your chances of getting a safe, comfortable hotel room that isn’t too expensive. Just keep in mind that Hajj won’t be the cheapest vacation you ever take. There are some expenses you cannot cut, especially if you want to enjoy this trip to the fullest.
- Ask a lot of questions about your accommodations. Some participants stay outdoors in tents for a more affordable and authentic experience while others stay in hotels of varying quality. Some hotels will assign 10 or more people to a single room, so always ask about this if you don’t want to be stuffed into a room with others.
- Also ask questions regarding where you will stay. For instance, how far from Haram ash Shareef will you be? If you can’t walk from your hotel room, make sure that transportation is in place before leaving for the trip. Always choose a taxi ride over a bus ride because the buses can take more than 20 hours to travel the same distance covered by a taxi in three hours or less.
- Start preparing as early as possible. Many hotels book up a year or more in advance. You will also need time to buy items needed for the trip, pack your bags, and settle your family so that they are cared for in your absence. This isn’t a trip that you can prepare for in just weeks.
Reasons to Make Hajj a Priority
The older you get, the more unlikely you are to physically qualify for the Hajj pilgrimage. The rites require a lot of stamina and endurance, and older participants often struggle. Since you must pay off all of your debt and leave your family in good financial standing, it takes some time to prepare for Hajj travel. You may also need to start exercising to build up muscle and improve your cardiovascular endurance so that the trip is less of a struggle for you.
It takes some people a year or longer to fully prepare for Hajj. If you don’t make the trip a priority in your life, there’s a good chance that you won’t qualify for the adventure while you’re still physically and mentally strong. Once you know that you’re called to make this journey, it’s important to take daily actions that will get you there sooner rather than later.