as the Hajj season is upon us I thought it would be useful to post my tips as I went for Umrah a few months ago. I did initially have a post typed up in draft but accidentally deleted it :( sooo, inshaAllah, time permitting, I will type something again with pictures :)
I have compiled a list of what to pack as a general guide if any of you are thinking of going soon or in the future.
3 pairs loose trousers i.e harem pants or linen trousers.
3 abayas including the one you will wear to the airport. The abayas
don't have to be black, there are people from all over the world wearing
their own modest versions of traditional clothing including long
skirts, shalwar kameez, maxi dresses etc. A good idea I found was a
really long tunic or loose dress, 3 quarter in length (in between ankle
and knee length) with loose trousers underneath. Why? Abayas are usually
long and the bottom gets dusty and dirty real quick. Saudi is a desert
country so lots of sand and dust about; plus you will no doubt be going
to get zamzam water and the floors will be wet. Not only that but
another good reason not to wear an abaya that's TOO long is to save from
tripping up or people stepping on it.
3-4 light material hijabs. Nothing too thick. Not those maxi hijabs
you get everywhere unless you will be wearing it in the evening. Choose
any colour or print you like. Doesn't have to be limited to black.
Canvas bag/over shoulder drawstring bag to carry your shoes in. Don't
leave your shoes on one of the racks in masjid al haram or masjib nabi -
you won't be able to find them! Keep them in a bag on you at all times
and place to your side on the floor when praying. Everyone does this.
Prayer mat - you can either take one or buy from Makkah or Madina.
You won't always get inside the masjids to pray and if you do it doesn't
guarantee a carpeted space i.e. you will be praying on marble so a
prayer mat will make it easier/more comfortable.
Snacks: take crisps, biscuits, sweets. I wouldn't recommend chocolate
as it melts. Keep some snacks in your bag at all times even when flying
to the airport, in Saudi as all the stories about Saudi airport workers/visa
patrol are true. They are extremely S L O W and the queue won't move for
at least an hour while they take their sweet time. Not only that but
you may find yourself switching queues a few times and back. Organised
they are not! The airport is not air conditioned so you may
feel faint as my sister did, this is where snacks and some water will
come in handy. Try to get some water from the plane - a bottle or small
2 pair flat comfy shoes/sandals with a good grip. Don't choose something with a completely flat sole as your feet will feel it with all the walking.
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Vaseline and mini first aid kit - plasters, sudocream, safety pins, bandage
Norethisterone - If that time of the month will fall around the time you go for Umrah or Hajj, see your GP for some medication to delay it.
Scissors and nail clippers - Ladies, you will need to cut a bit of your hair after performing sa'ee. We did this back at the hotel, there were many ladies who did it right after performing umrah but hair was on the floor which I didn't find hygienic.
Wipes - to clean your hands as well as shoes when they get dusty, and just for general quick cleaning on the go.
Notebook to write down duas of those you are leaving behind as well as to keep a memoir of your time there.
Small travel spray bottle - fill with water (I filled mine with
zamzam :D) keep in fridge and take out with you to spritz on
face/hands/wrists to keep cool. If you can't manage to pack one, Bin Dawood sell some from 6 riyals.
Tasbih or u can buy it from there. Madinah has PELNTY. You can get a bundle for 10 riyals (under £1.50)
Take a couple empty water bottles to fill with zamzam. Your hotel may
provide you with complimentary bottles of water - Movenpick did
Stay tuned for tips part 2!