Things to know before travelling to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of the most stable countries in the region. It has gained significant global popularity for various reasons. The first and foremost status as the birthplace of Islam and home to the two holiest sites of Islam, Mecca and Madinah, makes it an important religious centre that draws millions of pilgrims from all over the world every year. Every year people travel to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah, both are religious pilgrimages in Islam. Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that is mandatory for all non-disabled Muslims who can afford to undertake the journey at least once in their lifetime. Umrah is an optional yearly pilgrimage to Mecca that can be made anytime. Hajj and Umrah attract millions of Muslims worldwide, making them one of the world’s most famous religious tourism destinations.

Travelling to Saudi Arabia for the first time requires some preparation, especially if you go on a religious pilgrimage of Hajj or Umrah. Several Islamic travel agencies are working to help the expedition for a hassle-free journey to Saudi Arabia for their holy objectives. These Islamic travel agencies offer multiple Hajj or Umrah packages to make this spiritual journey easier, more comfortable, and affordable. These packages typically include accommodation, transportation, and guided tours to the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. This article will cover some essential things before travelling to Saudi Arabia. 

1) Visa requirement: 

The first thing to know when visiting Saudi Arabia is visa requirements. Most visitors need a visa for Saudi Arabia, which can be obtained from a Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country. Islamic travel agencies can help you get the necessary access and guide you through the application process, which includes several documents, including a passport with at least six months validity, a passport-sized photograph, and proof of vaccination against certain diseases, such as yellow fever, meningitis, or Covid-19. Ensure you have sufficient time to obtain your visa before your travel date. For Umrah, you will need an Umrah visa to enter Saudi Arabia. Islamic travel agencies’ processing is the fastest in obtaining a Hajj or Umrah Visa. 

2) Valid Passport: 

A passport is essential to enter Saudi Arabia. As well as, make sure your passport has some empty pages for visa stamps.

3) Weather: 

Saudi Arabia is a desert country with extreme temperatures. Summer can be scorching, with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). In contrast, the winters can be pretty cold, especially in the central and northern regions of the country. Make sure you pack appropriate clothing for the season you are travelling.


4) Dress Code: 

Saudi Arabia has strict dress codes for men and women, and visitors are expected to dress modestly. This means long trousers and shirts covering the shoulders and legs for men. For women, the dress code is stricter, and you must wear a full-length cloak called an abaya, which covers your entire body, including your head and hair, or wears loose-fitting clothing. You can bring your abaya or rent one at the airport or other locations in Saudi Arabia.


5) Accommodation: 

Booking through Islamic travel agencies before departing helps to provide you with the best place. They will arrange your accommodation, hotel rooms, and beds according to your capacity, primarily decided in the Hajj or Umrah packages. These travel agencies have multiple Hajj or Umrah packages or customised ones, which vary from cost-effective to 5-star luxury hotel accommodations for visitors. 


6) Transportation: 

Travelling requires a lot of transportation. Your travel agency will arrange transportation from the airport to your accommodation and back. They may also provide transportation for your Hajj or Umrah rituals. Booking Hajj or Umrah packages give more excellent services at a budget-friendly fee. 


7) Code of Conduct: 

Saudi Arabia has a strict code of conduct that visitors must follow. If you may get any problems during the journey, you can get the customer support of your Islamic travel agency. Or you can contact your agency for any guidance or legal affairs. 


8) Currency: 

The country’s winters, on the other hand, can occasionally be quite chilly, especially in the north and central parts of the country. Make sure to bring clothes that are suited for the season you’ll be travelling in.


9) Language: 

The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic, although English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. Learning some basic Arabic phrases before your trip is a good idea, as this can help you communicate with the locals and show respect for the local culture.


10) Cultural Customs: 

Saudi Arabia has a unique and rich cultural heritage, and visitors must respect local customs and traditions. For example, public displays of affection are frowned upon, and it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a mosque or someone’s home. Ensure you familiarise yourself with the local customs and follow them during your trip.


11) Food and Drink:  

Saudi Arabian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with influences from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Some popular dishes include grilled meat, rice dishes, and savoury pastries. However, you may need to research to find suitable options if you have dietary restrictions or preferences. Also, remember that alcohol is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia, and bringing it into the country is illegal.

By keeping these things in mind and working with a reputable Islamic travel agency, you can have a smooth and enjoyable travelling experience during Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia.

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