Choose a travel agent who offers a wide
selection of "packages" for Hajj. There are a large number of travel
agencies all over the country that offer Hajj services, and not all of
their products are of equal quality and value. Choosing the right agent
is of crucial importance. Hopefully, a representative of your travel
agent will be your constant guide and trouble shooter during Hajj.
Invest time and effort in this essential phase of your preparation.
Talk to friends and acquaintances who may have recently used the
services of various companies and ask them for recommendations. The
quality of service and commitment to the comfort and well-being of the
pilgrims vary significantly among travel agents. Whereas a good and
responsible agent can "make" your Hajj, a bad one can just as easily
Be sure to ask the travel agent specific questions and have him give you
a. What will be the duration of your stay in Mecca and Medina?
What dates? Is the program flexible or will it allow no changes once it
is made? Is there any additional cost to such changes? If so, what is
b. How far away will you be staying
from Haram ash Shareef, both in Mecca and in Medina? If your place of
residence is not within easy walking distance (10-15 minutes), what type
of transportation to and from Haram ash Shareef will be made available?
How often during the day will it be available?
c. Will a representative of the
travel agent who is fully conversant with the rites of Hajj, and Saudi
rules and procedures for customs, immigration, and travel be with you at
all times? Will he stay in Saudi Arabia for the duration of your visit?
You do not want to be left in Saudi Arabia without adequate guidance and
assistance. The laws and procedures there can be very difficult,
frustrating, and time-consuming.
d. Will the representative of the
agent be conversant with the Arabic language? If not, will an
interpreter be provided in Saudi Arabia? Most Saudi authorities do not
speak English, and your command of Arabic is likely to be limited.
e. Will you have the option of
travelling within Saudi Arabia, (for example from Mecca to Medina), in a
taxi hired by you at your own expense instead of the prepaid bus
provided by your muallim? How about possible return by air from Medina
to Jeddah on your way out of the country instead of the usual prepaid
bus? Get a good idea of this additional expense.
You may want to use the above options in view of the fact that the bus
journeys during Hajj season can be nerve-racking. For example, a bus
journey from Mecca to Medina (approximately 400 km or 250 miles) can
take as long as twenty to thirty hours, whereas a taxi will cover the
same distance in three to four hours. The small additional cost you will
incur is well worth the money in terms of time saved and physical
If you choose to use any of the alternate travel options (and it is
highly recommend that you give them very serious consideration), be sure
to redeem your unused bus coupons at Jeddah airport on your way out.
Your travel agent should be able to help you in this.
f. What kind of arrangements will be made for your stay in Mina
and Arafat? How about the food arrangements in Mina, Arafat, and
g. Does the price of your package
include meals? See if the agents make an effort to vary the menu. You
may have to supplement your meals with milk, fruits etc. Food supplied
by the agents tends to be monotonous, and the lack of variety is likely
to kill your appetite after a couple of days!
h. Will the agent arrange for a
sacrifice on your behalf on the 10th of Zul Hijjah? This is a common
service agents often provide for a small fee. They will inform you of
the time of the sacrifice so that you may perform other rites