What to pack
Video: What to Pack for Hajj and Umrah
Checklist: What to Pack for Hajj and Umrah
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First things first. There is a supermarket named Bin Dawood in Makkah and Madinah with many shops in the vicinity of the two Holy Mosques. This means that if you forget something, it is not the end of the world.
When packing remember that the entirety of your stay is not going to be in hotels, instead you will be going to Mina, Arafah and Muzdalifah. This is the reason for packing things items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, fragrance free soap and shampoo, a towel.
There will be items to pack outside of this for everyone. This is more pressing for pilgrims who suffer from long term health conditions, the elderly, pilgrims with children and anyone with specific needs.
What to buy from the Pharmacy
There is a viral cough people refer to as “Hajji cough”. This is caused by a virus and can be prevented by simple germ control. A hand sanitising gel helps prevent germ control. Perfume free options are available which can be used in Ihram. Surgical masks can also help from developing a cough but not permitted in Ihram.
Lozenges can help with coughs but avoiding the cold Zamzam coolers and regulating the AC to ensure it is not too cold can help your throat from becoming sore.
Basic other medication such as paracetamol, ibuprofen can be useful as a backup in case you get a fever.
Diarrhoea is a common illness for pilgrims. Any oral rehydration therapy such as Diarrolyte can help in such an event.
Loperamide/Imodium is not available in Saudi Arabia so buying some from the UK as a precaution can help. Caution is advised when taking Loperamide/Imodium. The NHS give advice on Loperamide.
Repeat Medication and Controlled Drugs
If you take regular medication, you will need to work out how many days of medication you will need while away. This medication should be ordered early from your GP. Be sure to do this well in advance as medication reviews can delay the authorisation of repeat medication.
It is best to have a record of what medication you are on in case you lose your medication and need to access your medical record. Airport customs can also ask to see proof of certain medication especially Controlled Drugs. Ask your GP for a list of your repeat medication.
If you have insulin or any medication requiring fridge storage, consider investing in a FRIO bag for the journey which keeps the contents of the journey cool for a few hours.
If you do find it difficult to walk or use a walking stick, we suggest you take a wheelchair with you. It is likely that Hajj will require you to walk more than you have ever walked in your life.
If you require a wheelchair at the airport, the airport staff will need a letter from your GP.
Women often ask their GP for medication which regulates their menstrual cycle, norethisterone, so that they do not have a period during the days of Hajj or Umrah.
How much money should I take?
A very common question with a very difficult answer! The answer varies from person to person.
You will need extra cash for taxis, food, gifts and for emergencies. Emergencies such as buying new slippers after losing a pair can cost as little as SA20. More serious emergencies can be things such as in the event you have to pay a penalty (Damm) as compensation for missing an action or violating a condition of Hajj. Each Damm is around £100-150. We suggest that you always keep a small amount of change on you for emergency use.
Here is a list of certain costs to give you an idea of spending money.
- Taxi from Aziziyah to Masjid Haram during Hajj time: 70 Riyals
- Buying an Abaya in Madinah: 100 Riyals
- Buying Ajwa dates: 50 Riyals a Kilo
- New pair of slippers: 20 Riyals
- SIM card: 50 Riyals
- Top up of SIM card with 5GB: 70 Riyals
- Burger meal in KFC: 25 Riyal
Some purchases are made as soon as you get into Saudi Arabia, such as buying a sim card. It may be worth your while to get a small amount of money exchanged from your home country before you travel.
Ask your friends and family if they have any Riyals left over from when they went on Hajj or Umrah. It’s likely they do and may not need it so you could get a better exchange rate from them.
Whilst wearing Ihram, men must adhere to strict guidelines with their footwear. Some schools of thought say that the top of the foot should be visible, while others say only the ankle must be visible. Some sandals can cover the top of the foot, some cover it in part while flip flops uncover both.
I personally find the crocs flip flops to be the best as they are extremely comfortable for even long walks.
Women cover their feet completely.
Many pilgrims take two pairs of footwear; one for Ihram, one for walking on normal days when not in Ihram.