After the succeeding of Hajj last year, the Saudi government has lifted some of the COVID-19 restrictions for Umrah 2023, and there will be a significant increase of pilgrims this year. Below, we have gathered a list to help you prepare for this year’s Umrah.
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Travel bans during the COVID-19 limited Umrah arrivals from inbound markets, but pilgrims have already returned to make the most of their religious journeys to Makkah and Madinah, with group trips lasting an average of 8 days and booking 40 passengers.
The rise in Umrah travel is a result of recent changes in Saudi Arabia that allow pilgrims to perform the ritual on any type of visa, in addition to changes in general visa regulations that have made it easier for GCC citizens to enter the country by enabling them to get a visa on arrival.
Seek a reliable travel agent
A travel agent will assist you in looking for the best hotels (فنادق) and transportation during your Umrah trip. Before setting off on your trip, it’s crucial to get advice from a reputable travel agent. It’s important that you finish your reservations well in advance whether you’re traveling alone or with a group since Ramadan makes it more challenging to find airfare and accommodations. You can get cheaper hotels, airfare, and transportation by making early reservations.
The hotels that are close to Masjid-e-Nabwi and Masjid-e-Haram are usually booked by the 5-star Umrah packages, so choose a travel agency that will handle everything for you.
Secure your communication
The holy mosques are crowded with pilgrims from all types of backgrounds during Ramadan because it brings a large number of worshipers from around the world. Make sure you are adequately equipped to handle such a massive crowd.
Keep in touch with your other group members by cell phones, and choose a meeting spot in advance in case you become separated during peak hours. You can save time and money by purchasing a sim card in Saudi Arabia, or you can activate “International Roaming” on your sim card.
To purchase a sim card, you need a passport, an Umrah visa, and your thumbprint. The stores are simple to find. If you wish to activate international roaming, ask your operators about the roaming costs in advance to keep an eye on your mobile spending.
Keep your luggage minimal and bring Umrah essentials
It is advisable to only bring the items you will need on your trip in order to keep your luggage minimal. A mobile phone and a mini-Quran are a must, as well as a book of supplications. You could then get ready to offer your prayers at several holy places.
In mosques, a portable prayer mat can be helpful because there’s a risk you won’t find one during Salah’s busiest times. Make it a practice to refill empty plastic bottles with zam-zam water throughout your stay rather than buying new ones; this not only saves a lot of money but also doesn’t inconvenience the cleaning crew.
Pay attention to your health and well being
Make sure to pay attention to the prayer times while on your trip because the Tawaf location might get very crowded during the month of Ramadan. After Asr, it gets progressively more crowded.
It’s time for Iftar by the time you finish this ritual because Tawaf lasts for almost an hour. The optimum time to conduct Umrah during this month is in the morning because it is not recommended to force oneself to do so while you are thirsty, hungry, or tired.