How to arrange a DIY Umrah trip? Travel agencies can overcharge you for an Umrah trip. How and why?
There are leading tour operators who are approved by the MOH. There are sub tour agents who work for the main tour agents. Therefore, they buy the Original Umrah package from the leading operator and add or subtract services to make a profit.
So if you could read and understand and follow instructions, i would suggest you do it yourself. Performing an Umrah on your own can boost your confidence and give you a better understanding.
Pros of do it yourself Umrah
Cons of Umrah without a Travel Agent
I will guide you on how to perform an Umrah by yourself. You can take your family too with a fraction of a cost. Follow these steps for a better DIY umrah
Plan your Umrah. How many of you are travelling together? If you are travelling in a group, you can reduce the cost of the journey. Especially the hotel and transportation costs. How long is your trip? You need book hotels accordingly. Are you going to Madinah? Are you landing or departing from Madinah? If you are landing in Jeddah how are going to Madinah. Read plan your Umrah here.
Decide the dates for your Umrah. Our plan is to book the hotels and flight tickets at a discount. So, don't book last minute. The best deals you get may not have an option to refund or rebook. So, we have to be very focused before we decide on the dates. If we change after making any booking, there is a possibility that you may lose all the money.
I have booked hotels at an unbelievable rate. Once I booked a hotel at Makkah clock tower facing Ka'aba at USD80.
What are the factors to consider before deciding the dates?
What determines the cost of your Umrah.? the answer is the total of all the expenses. Some costs are fixed while other costs are variable. the following are the variable costs.
Check the Availability and validity of the required documents for the date you intend to travel.
Check your documents are available to produce on the date you submit for your visa.
Make sure the documents are valid as per the date you intend to arrive in Saudi Arabia.
Your passport should be available with you, and it must be valid for more than six months from the date of departure.
Proof of Muslim
If your name is not in Arabic or if you are a revert (convert) Muslim, you are required to provide a document to prove that you are Muslim. It can be a document issued by a local masjid.
Long term visa
If you are applying from a country that you are not a citizen of.
If you are applying from a country other than the country your passport belongs to, have must have a residence visa or a long-term visa in that country and it should be valid for more than three months. It can be a Work visa, residence visa, Investment visa, permanent residence visa. Student visas may be considered, please confirm from the visa agent.
ID card from the country you Apply.
Marriage Certificate / Birth Certificate.For ladies (Wife mother or sister) and children who are travelling under a male Mahram.
Single ladies are not allowed unless they are 45 years old and above and travel with an agency with a NOC from a mahram.
NOC from the company you are employed.
Get your leave
Now you have decided the dates of your Umrah, and you have all the required documents. Get your holiday from the company/school.
Make sure you have enough funds.
Make sure you have enough funds. The amount you calculated before you plan the Umrah. It is very important.
Make a rough estimate again for the dates. It's not wise to go broke after booking the flight tickets and the hotel. Since we are getting the best deals, there might not be any refund. Keep an extra ten to twenty percent of the total Umrah cost. Keep this money for an emergency. The following articles will help you on how to save and budget your Umrah trip.
Reassure the dates
Now you have you Leave for the calendar dates you want to travel. And you have the required documents too.
Make sure you will not be short of cash. Now reassure the dates as confirm.
Book your flight tickets before the hotels because the flight ticket is the major cost with very few options. Try to stick to the budget. Do not use more than the money you Allocated for your flight. Because once you have booked the flight, you must have enough money for the hotel, visa, food and transportation. Book your flight here.
Now, book your hotel rooms. Book according to your plan and budget, try and stick to your budget. Read Hotel Guide.
Get your Umrah Vaccination. (Before ten days of your departure date.).it is valid for two years from the date you injected. It is meningitis vaccination. Read more about umrah Vaccine.
Go to an Umrah tour agent to get a visa. Your travel agent will help you get your visa. Get the best deal in the town. Make sure the visa comes before the intended departure date. Read more Umrah visa.
Get an appointment for your biometrics
Ask your agent to book you an appointment for a bio-metrics registration for your visa.
Complete your documents
*Submit your documents for your visa.
Next, collect your visa.
To get prepared for departure you need to get your documents ready and be on time for the flight. Confirm which terminal of the Airport where your flight at. Change some Saudi Arabian Riyals. Money Exchange rates are quite bad at the Airport. You require money for a local sim and transport to get to the hotel.
Take hard copies of the following Documents.
If you are going Madinah, you can wear anything modest. But if you are going to Jeddah for Umrah, you must take your ihram cloth along with you. Ask the cabin crew member to inform you before the Meeqath. Usually, the flight crew announce before they enter the Meeqath boundary. You must keep THE Niyyat and recite Talbiya. Your umrah will start from the moment you enter the Meeqath. Read how to perform umrah.
Be there at the Airport at least 90 mins before the flight. Try to check-in online if the option is available. Pray the due prayers.
Enjoy your flight.
Clear immigration. If you are in Jeddah, it may take a extra time. Once you are done with the immigration,
Grab your sim card. Read my guide on local mobile connection in Saudi Arabia.
If you arrive in Jeddah its a 90 minutes drive to Makkah with a taxi fare of SAR 150-250. But do not pay more than SAR 250. Most of the time, you will be able to ride for 150. Bargain! Read my Article on Jeddah Airport to Makkah.
If you Arrive in Madinah, Its roughly a 20 mins drive to Madinah Airport. The average taxi fare is around SAR 60. Do not pay anything more than 70.
If you land in Madinah you need to go to Makkah to perform your Umrah. It 4 hours and 40 mins drive. With a seven-seat, the taxi fair might reach to SAR450 on average. Click here for detailed guidance on Makkah to Madinah and Madinah to Makkah transportation.
Be comfortable if you are travelling to Makkah as you will in the state of ihram.
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