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September 16, 2014 | Dhul-Qa`dah 22, 1435
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IslamiCity > Travel > Umra Program Travel Guide

Travel Guide:

Documents:

  • Saudi Government requires your passport to be valid for at least six months past the date of your departure. If you are not a U.S. citizen and hold a "green card", your passport also needs to be valid for six months past the date of your departure. 
  • After your visa is endorsed on your passport, make two sets of complete 
  • TWO passport-sized pictures for visa and other paper work. Keep few additional copies & take them with you to Saudi Arabia. It will save save you time & money If for any reason you need them there.
  • Since non-Muslims are not allowed in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, a document stating that you are a Muslim is important, especially if you do not happen to have a typical Muslim name. For example, John Smith or Mary Jones could be misunderstood as non-Muslims by the Saudi law enforcement officers for lack of proper understanding. We strongly suggest that you get a certificate by your local mosque simply stating that you are a Muslim. Please feel free to email us for any assistance or questions at travel@islamicity.com.


Health

You will be exerting considerable physical effort during the tour. In order to be prepared for the rigors expected of you, good physical condition will help. Typically tours demand early hours and late nights. Specially it is quite likely that many of you would like to perform as many Umra as possible while you're in Makkah. Hence, good health will help you greatly. It is a good idea to have a general check up with your regular Doctor before you begin the tour.


C
lothing

Saudi Arabia is a very hot part of the world most of the year. Touring anyways require considerable walking and physical exertion. Consequently, light and airy clothes for street wear are the best. Take enough changes of clothes to make your stay comfortable, but be careful not to overburden yourself with unnecessary clothes. In the hot Saudi Arabian weather, one set of clothes lasts only a day. Professional laundry facilities are available in Saudi Arabia. Getting your clothes cleaned professionally is quite expensive. For street wear, Indo-Pak shalwar-qamees, and kurta-pajama as well as the Saudi thoub (a one-piece head-to-toe garment) are ideal and are recommended. Thoubs are easily available everywhere in Saudi Arabia.

 

Things To Take With You

  • Ihram - Two large pieces of white unsown towel will do. You can buy from your local Walmart or IslamiCity Bazar.
  • Medication - over the counter common cold, flu, diarrhea, nausea drugs will do. You do get pretty much everything there although the brand names would be different.
  • Waist Pouch (Fanny Pouch) - this helps you to keep not only money but any other important medication or documents.
  • Money It is difficult to recommend an amount since individual needs, shopping plans etc. vary widely. Only you can decide on the amount to carry. Have most of your money in the form of travelers' checks as they're typically safest to carry. You can exchange your US$ or any other currency at numerous "sarrafs" (money changers). A dollar is exchanged for 3.75 Riyals.
  • Take only one credit card with you to minimize problems in case of its loss. Make sure that you can use it to charge telephone calls also. Do not forget to carry the information required to contact the credit card issuing institution in case of its theft or misplacement.
  • Take some U.S. currency also with you. You can exchange it for Saudi currency everywhere in emergencies, and may need it immediately upon your return to the U.S.A.
Foods/Snacks/Water

All kinds of food (including McDonalds, Pizza Hut & fine Dining) is readily available in Saudi Arabia at a reasonable cost. Packaged and canned products in limited quantities, however, may be brought in by tourists for special needs. It will be handy if you like to throw in few packs of cookies, granola bars and/or crackers in your carry on bag or backpack. 

 

If you do buy fruits, make sure you wash them. Soft drinks of all kinds are available all over. Bottled water is cheap, and should be the only water you drink, except of course, the Zam Zam. Milk, yogurt, buttermilk, ice cream, and other dairy products are widely available, and should be liberally used to supplement your diet. Take two 18-oz cans of powdered POWERADE or GATORADE with you. Mixed directly with a bottle of cold water, they make for a nutritious and delicious drink and also serve to replenish body salts and chemicals lost through the inevitable heavy perspiration.

 

Miscellaneous

The following is a list of items of daily use you may like to carry.

  1. Pocket Quran, Musalla (pocket prayer rug), Tasbeeh, Pen, Pencil, Notebook. Writing a daily journal will bring back many memories for you and your family members.
  2. Tooth brush, Tooth paste, Disposable Razors, Shaving Cream, Deodorant, Chap stick, small Vaseline, etc.
  3. Slippers (flip-flops, thongs, chappals), sneakers, folding umbrella, sunglasses (or clip-on sunshades), travel alarm clock, elastic eye-glass holder, baseball cap.
 
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