Often regarded to be the devotional calling of life, Umrah -- a trip to Makkah and Medina is considered to be of high importance. Unlike Hajj which is restricted to a specific time, Umrah can be done at any time of the year.
Literally, Umrah means “to visit an occupied place”. But in the Sharia, it means to offer Tawaf around the Kaaba and do Sai between Al Safa and Al Marwah hills.
5 things to consider when planning for your Umrah trip
1. Plan early and organise your vacation time ahead
Generally, a time period of three to four weeks is required to plan the Umrah. Check the tour packages available and plan ahead to get the better deals. You also need to check with your boss and make arrangements at work accordingly. You should then also check with your doctor beforehand to make sure that you are physically fit to undertake the journey.
Gather information, read books and consult the people who have already gone on Umrah to get a detailed description of the processes and needed formalities.
2. Gather information about the legal formalities
So you have planned to go for Umrah, now to organise the legal formalities. You will need a visa to go to Saudi Arabia. Find out how long you need before you have to apply for the visa and what documents to prepare for it. Make sure your passport has a validity for at least 6 months. Be sure to get all the documents, or any other paperwork relating to your residency in your country ready before you leave.
3. Start saving and buying the necessities
Money matters. It is advisable to plan beforehand and save enough money to buy the necessities along with keeping some cash for the trip. To make sure you do not feel lost in the foreign land, consult the ones who have gone previously on the pious journey and make a list of essentials that will make the journey more comfortable.
4. Find a Travel Agent
The mere thought of going to Umrah brings visions of heat and uncomfort, but the fact is that with the availability of many Umrah Packages, the journey and stay have both become a pleasant experience. Availability and affordability are the two factors which have popularized Travel Agents. Going through a travel agent can make the whole planning process much easier.
5. Make sure to check out the accommodation before getting the package
Last but not the least, always enquire about the type of accommodation which will be given to you. Depending upon the budget and the offerings, there are various options which you can try. From luxurious hotel rooms to the more economical ones, the customized packages offer a variety of options.
There are many great options where the clients are offered high class accommodation, however usually at hotels that are located a far distance from Masjid-ul-Haraam - which comes with an added cost of having to travel far distances. As a result, never forget to make sure that you pick a hotel that is at a reachable distance from Holy Kaabah.