I love travelling. The excitement of seeing new places and meeting new people is unbeatable. However travelling has it’s ‘not so fun’ side, like being squashed in an economy seat for 12 hours or carrying a massive suitcase with clothes you probably will never wear. For some these are enough to put them off travelling and for others they are just part of the experience. No matter what category you belong to, it is always more fun to have some travel tips that can make your adventure go smoother.
Below are nine best travel tips every Muslim traveller should know and that I use every time I travel.
1. Decisions Decisions
Women suffer from over packing the most unfortunately. We like to take every single outfit combination “just in case”. I try to have as little as possible with me and by combining the right pieces you can have a full wardrobe. I spent 3 weeks in the USA with only having a carry and I didn’t suffer the ‘no clothes’ syndrome or the my ‘back hurts’ syndrome. The secret is to have as many versatile clothes as possible. Having two centre pieces for example, a beautiful skirt that can be worn day or night with different tops can make easily for two or three outfits. I prefer to take pieces that can be worn in more than one way like a dress that can turn into a nice top when tucked in. This way I can wear it multiple times without even having to worry about over-wearing it. I know as muslim women we do have more things to carry than non Muslims. For example hijabs are a must have for us. Usually they also take less space so if you choose a monochrome wardrobe you can spice it up with multi colour beautiful hijabs or cardigans. Decide what works best for you and before you pack your bag ask yourself- will I wear this?
2. Outfit selfie
I know it can sound weird to combine all your clothes into outfits before you travel but it does help. Have you ever been in a situation while abroad wondering why did you pick these tops when they don’t match anything? And now you don’t have tops to wear? Combining your outfits into wearable options before you travel will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Put your outfits on the floor and think about what you can combine them with. Add in your shoes and accessories as well. If you want you can even take a photo of it to make sure you remember the combination. Trust me this works and it is great for short weekends away where you want to spend time exploring outdoors rather than inside your luggage.
3. Have a plain outfit
This is more relevant for long haul flights but it is good to have it. When travelling in business class many airlines give you pyjamas to change and feel comfortable. If you are flying business then perfect you don’t have to bring anything. However if you are not, then having a comfy plain outfit for a long haul flight can really make a big difference. You feel more relaxed when travelling and you can sleep better as well. Unless you find jeans comfy for travel then that is perfectly fine too. I love changing at least my top and hijab before arrival or during flying just so it is not creased. If you want you can also have a new hijab and top/dress for your arrival. This will psychologically help you feel refreshed after a long journey. For some awesome reason it gives you a happy boost like you are ready to handle the world outside the plane with more confidence.
4. No iron no problem
Most hotels have irons in the room however I have been in five star properties where there was no iron; unless of course you wanted to use the overpriced laundry service. I always try to bring with me clothes that don’t need ironing since this saves me time and hassle. Sometimes however it’s not possible. So for these times where I find myself with no iron I just take the clothes with me in the shower. Well of course not literally. You can hang the clothes on the hanger and the steam from the hot shower will take care of all the wrinkles. It is very effective and quick. One of my favourite travel tricks.
5. Take advantage of technology
We live in an era where technology plays a very important part in our lives. One thing I really love and take full advantage of is the Google street view before I leave for my holiday. Most of the times we don’t have data for internet when in a foreign country but we still need to navigate around. I use Google street view to check the hotel where I am staying as well as the surrounding area. This makes it a lot easier to find once you are in the country since you know what it looks like from the outside.
6. Booking flights and hotels
Everyone wants a cheap deal and I agree sometimes it’s harder to find than other times. If you have been looking for a flight and then suddenly the price increases this could be due to the cookies stored on your computer. Many travel companies will install cookies when searching and due to your interest for this particular route or hotel they can increase the flight just before you book. One way of bypassing this is to use the Incognito mode on your computer while browsing. Once you are ready to book you can visit the site and book normally. This way you won’t have any previous cookies stored on your pc.
7. Handy search trick
I use a website that is also an aggregator of different websites. Additionally if you put the dates you want to travel and the area you can check the prices from all operator providers as well as clicking “other deals” and expanding it. I have found five star hotels for half the price in some websites that I would have not found otherwise. It is a great way of comparing prices and sites before finally buying.
8. Travel Prayer Mat and Qibla direction
For every Muslim there is an important part of our life no matter where we are and that is prayer and halal food of courseJ. I always carry with me a small travel prayer mat so I can pull it out any time I need to pray. I have prayed in airports, airport lounges, hotels, on the street and many more and they always make great accessories. I also use a qibla direction app on my phone as it is much easier than asking people or trying to figure it out yourself.
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Like with anything travelling is a very personal experience and I would love for you to share if you have any cool travel tips that I can use when travelling. There are so many more I can think of but I think these are great for a quick trip around the world.
This article is written by Elena Nikolova from www.muslimtravelgirl.com