Ramadan is one of the most beautiful times of the year for Muslims around the world. It is one of the five pillars of Islam to fulfil, and it is a time of self-reflection, patience, and a reminder of our God and Islam ? Many of us tend to stay in our residence country during Ramadan since travelling and fasting can be a challenge.
But just because the fasting month is near doesn't mean we cannot explore the world, and maybe some of us need to travel during Ramadan because of work or other obligations. Although it might be a slight challenge, fasting while travelling is doable with proper planning. It can even make your trip a unique experience!
P.S. Here are some tips to get you started on Ramadan
, at home or while travelling ☺️
Here are 15 tips for fasting while travelling:
1. Choose the right destinationCredit: kirill_sobolev on Pixabay
An easier option would be to travel to countries with a large Muslim population. It'll be interesting to learn an experience Ramadan in different cultures
. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Morocco, Maldives, Indonesia and even India have their own unique cultures when it comes to Ramadan and Eid ?
Not just that, since they have a majority (or large) Muslim population, there will be many amenities to accommodate your Ramadan needs such as sahur, prayer spaces and iftar.
But you don't have to limit yourselves to countries with large Muslim populations. With proper planning, you can visit any country you want during Ramadan!
Haven't decided where to go? Check out these awesome chilly destinations to visit during Ramadan
if you want to stay cool, or these beautiful places to visit for an ultimate Ramadan experience
2. Plan your scheduleCredit: @_lenkart_ on Instagram
Planning ahead is key for all trips, even more so if it involves fasting ✈️
If you're on a short flight, try and pick a flight time that leaves after iftar and arrives before fajr to avoid fasting while in transport. If that's not possible, plan to have either your iftar or sahur after arrival instead. Remember to take transits into account!
Before your trip, research accommodations nearby Muslim communities or mosques. The accommodation may accommodate special requests (requested in advance) such as halal food, iftar and sahur needs.
Stick to an easygoing and flexible itinerary to avoid overexerting yourself while travelling too.
3. Seek out mosques and Muslim communitiesCredit: @uyluysa on Instagram
Accommodation aside, there are usually Muslim-owned or halal restaurants nearby mosques that cater for iftar, and possibly even sahur. Knowing where the mosques are, or staying nearby mosques also makes it easier to perform Taraweeh even while travelling. Some mosques even provide iftar or sahur meals for free.
You'll also get to meet local Muslims, and other Muslims from around the world and learn about the diversity that Islam offers across different cultures. Maybe you'll even get invited to experience iftar with the locals ?
4. Be prepared for sahur and iftarCredit: @south_eats_asia on Instagram
Remember to plan your sahur and iftar meals beforehand. This includes finding Muslim-friendly restaurants and finding transportation to reach there in time before iftar, or prepping your meals the night before for sahur if you can't find any restaurants that are open during those hours.
If you're unsure about the halal status of certain eateries, here's a guide to aid you to determine halal status while travelling
5. Make your needs knownCredit: Ahmad Azwan Azman on Unsplash
Sometimes, all we have to do is ask. Let hotels, tour guides, flight attendants and others know that you are fasting and will need to eat at a certain time. You never know, some of them may have services to accommodate fasting Muslims ☺️
6. Find a way to contributeCredit: @clairejwyatt on Instagram
Islam is a religion that encourages charity and donations at all times, but it is extra special during Ramadan. Consider donating some money, or join a local group to cook an iftar/dinner meal for those in need if you have the time during your trip. It'll add a unique experience to your trip!
7. Make lots of doaCredit: Preston Rhea on Flickr
The dua of a traveller is always answered, as is that of a fasting person.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Three supplications are answered without doubt. The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the parent for his son.”
[At- Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
Sometimes, it's the small things that make a difference in our experience. There are many doas that we could e to ease our minds while travelling
8. Expect the unexpectedCredit: joiseyshowaa on Flickr
As much we plan and prepare for a trip, sometimes things just don't go our way. It could be as simple as a delayed flight or train, losing your baggage, or getting lost while exploring the city. But when you're hungry, thirsty and tired, it can be a total mood dampener. Keep some water and snacks with you in case it happens. These things are totally normal and add to the travel experience!
9. Use Ramadan AppsCredit: Chad Madden on Unsplashed
Modern technology is a blessing for travellers, especially fasting travellers ?
Prayer times, iftar and sahur time, and qibla direction can get confusing when we are travelling between different time zones. There are many mobile apps you can download to help you as a fasting traveller. Some apps can even show you nearby mosques or Muslim-friendly eateries.
Some of the apps include HHWT travel planner, which also include other user's experience when travelling abroad as a Muslim ☺️
10. Shortening PrayersCredit: DVIDSHUB on Flickr
Sometimes finding prayer spaces isn't the easiest during travelling. But that's okay, you can still perform your prayers by combining Zuhr and Asr into one prayer and four rakaats (2 for Zuhr and 2 for Asr) while travelling. This combination and shortening of prayers are known as jam'qasr and is only allowed for Zuhr and Asr.
have a portable prayer kit with you, as some places may not provide mats or water source for wudhu.
11. Respect the local cultureCredit: @travelerlifelover on Instagram
When travelling to a non-muslim country, the locals may not understand the significance of Ramadan and fasting to Muslims. Tour guides may insist on trying local delicacies, restaurants may not understand why you're not eating (when you're waiting for iftar), or they may insist you join in on religious ceremonies (to make you feel included). The best way to go about this is to kindly explain the significance of Ramadan to Muslims, and nicely ask to be excluded if you're uncomfortable with religious ceremonies.
These are some thoughts that might cross their minds
, and how you can answer them.
12. Avoid travelling around just before sunsetCredit: Global Panorama on Flickr
In many cities, the sunset time is a rush hour as people get to and from work. Even in Muslim countries since people are rushing for iftar. Maybe head to the restaurant area earlier and explore the neighbourhood so that you can easily walk to the restaurant closer to iftar time.
13. Check the local schedulesCredit: Javier Graterol on Unsplashed
Remember to check the local schedules. In some countries, shopping malls and shops are closed by 5pm because of regulations. Usually, eateries outside malls are open but it is always best to check beforehand. And in some Muslim countries, shops and eateries schedule change during Ramadan and are closed during iftar since workers need to break fast and pray too.
14. Keep an emergency iftar kitCredit: @wwandoverhq on Instagram
As with any travel, you have to expect that things can go wrong even with meticulous planning. Your cab driver may get lost on the way to the restaurant, or your tour ran a little late, or maybe you were just having too much fun exploring and didn't notice the time ? Keep an iftar emergency kit with you to break fast on-the-go. It could be as simple as a protein bar and a bottle of water to keep your energy levels up until you get your main course.
15. Don't skip sahurCredit: @thefrench.holistic.healthygirl on Instagram
Jetlag or the cold weather can kill your abilities to wake up early in the morning, but as tempting as it is to sleep through, don't skip sahur. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all. It is best to wake up, even for a little while, and eat something nutritious to ensure that you have the energy to explore during the day.
Sometimes it can be tricky to get food for sahur since not all hotels provide 24-hour room service. One solution is to prepare for your sahur the night before. You can head to the nearest convenience store to stock up, or take away from nearby halal eateries.
Here are some ideas for a quick and easy sahur
you can prepare in five minutes!
Bonus: Carry a Qur'anCredit: Masjid Pogung Dalangan on Unsplashed
Chances are, you'll be spending plenty of time in transportation, especially during long-haul flights. One great way to spend your free time is to recite the Qur'an. You can but a set of mini travel Qur'ans that come in separate books, or better yet you can even download a Qur'an mobile app on your phone!
And there you have it, 15 simple tips to ease your Ramadan journey while travelling. It's time to call up a travel buddy and experience fasting in a different environment for once!