If you’re making the sacred pilgrimage to Makkah year, it's important to ensure that you're prepared for the journey. We’ve complied this essential Hajj checklist to make sure that you don’t leave anything important behind. Once in Saudi Arabia, all pilgrims want to focus their energy on the spiritual side of the experience, and it's much easier to do this if you're organised and don't have to worry about sunburn or blistered feet.
You should have:
- Main suitcase. Your large suitcase can be held in the aeroplane hold and should be big enough to contain the majority of what you need on Hajj.
- Cabin bag. This can be carried with you onto the plane and is also useful for taking extra items when travelling to or from Medina/Makkah.
- Luggage straps. Pick distinctive colours so your bags stand out. These are great for securing luggage and also for strapping bags and sleeping mats on to your backpack during the long hours walking.
- Lightweight string gym bag. This will be useful for carrying prayer mats and water bottles to and from the holy masjids.
- Water container. Choose a large, plastic one. The Saudi climate is very hot and dry, and it’s essential to stay hydrated to avoid heatstroke.
- A waist pouch or ‘bum bag’. These lightweight belts are great for securely storing money and important identification and travel documents on your person. Keep all your valuables safely within the zipped pouch.
- Light, cool standard clothing. You’ll need ordinary clothes as well as two sets of your Ihram garments. Remember to choose appropriate items for the hot Saudi weather.
- Prayer mat. Although the insides of the masjids will be carpeted, they are also very crowded. If you bring your own prayer mat, you can pray outside on the marble surfaces. Thinner prayer mats are easier to carry, but thick ones offer more comfort.
- Sleeping bag and sleeping mat. These will be used during the stop over in Muzdalifah, and in some situations, to improve poor hotel room arrangements on other nights during the journey.
- Sun hat, sunscreen and an umbrella. All of these items should be good quality and able to protect you from the sun’s rays. Hajj can be a very uncomfortable experience if you’re severely sunburned!
- Both a face and a body towel.
- A hoodie or jumper for chilly nights.
- Ear plugs and a sleeping mask. These are essential for light sleepers, particularly when sharing spaces in Mina or Muzdalifah.
- Good quality sandals. Ihram requirements mean that the top part of the feet must be exposed, and a back strap is also recommended to stop your foot slipping out. Some travellers also bring a pair of cheap flipflops specifically for visiting the toilets in hotels and in Mina.
- Mobile phone, charger and portable battery pack. Plenty of locations on the Hajj journey won’t have power sockets where you can charge your phone, so a portable charger is a good idea. Most people use their phones as their alarm clock, so they can stay on a tight schedule and get the most out of their Hajj experience.
- Unscented soap and shampoo. While in a state of Ihram, it is forbidden to use scented products.
- Basic first aid equipment. This should include bandages, plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, glucose tablets, painkillers and rehydration salts.
- Vaseline. The long days of walking can cause chafing for both men and women. Vaseline will provide relief.
- Hajj guide, dua book and blank notebook. Your Hajj guide will ensure that you’re doing things correctly and the notebook will be especially useful for jotting down observations during the sacred journey. You will be glad you made notes when you get back home and want to remember every thought you had on Hajj.
- Money (local and home currency), identification and travel documents. It’s a good idea to make a couple of photocopies of your most valuable documents in case you lose them. A couple of passport-sized photographs are also useful for your group ID.
We hope your Hajj experience is as blessed as you’ve always imagined it to be!