By Sadaf A. Omar – Freelance writer with an interest in religion, history, and ethics
Tour operators promise you the most fulfilling spiritual journey – an Umrah package that takes care of your entire travel itinerary, a five-star hotel room that overlooks Masjid al-Haram, and a buffet breakfast. It does sound perfect until you start preparing for the journey and realize that an Umrah trip with children is likely to be a spiritually and physically exhausting experience, rather than the invigorating one you had envisioned.
I recently went for Umrah with my family, including four children ranging between the ages of one-and-a-half and thirteen. Experience is the best teacher, and I hope the following tips will ease the experience for other families planing the same journey.
Apart from budget and time constraints, keep in mind the ages and physical stamina of your children. The commute to and from the Masjid five times a day is tiring. This is especially true for Makkah, where the walk is often uphill. Also, it is difficult for younger children and even children in strollers to traverse thick crowds. Parents are often forced to carry children which is an exhausting task in itself and even more so after the rigours of daily Tawaf or Umrah. Therefore, choose a hotel that is reasonably located near the Masajid.
Also, if possible, try to include a buffet breakfast or dinner meal in your package. This will save you the time and hassle involved in procuring an appropriate meal for your family within the short time slot between prayers. A buffet spread allows choices even for the pickiest eaters among your brood.
To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine.