We’re excited to feature THE Muslim Travel Girl herself, Elena Nikolova, founder and creator of MuslimTravelGirl.com. You might have also read her post on #HHWT – 5 Handy Travel Tips for the Modern Muslim Traveller 😄 She’s helped many Muslims around the world plan their holidays and their Umrahs, so we thought we’d pick her brains on what gets her going!
Hi Elena! Do tell us a bit about yourself 😊
I am Elena and I am a travel addict 😄. I consider myself citizen of the world. I was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Greece and live in the UK. 10 years in each country…it’s time to move since I’m nearing my 10th anniversary in the UK soon 😉 I became Muslim in 2009 and since then my life has changed for the better. I love inspiring people to travel and explore more places and have a better connection with our creator.
Why did you decide to start MuslimTravelGirl?
I started Muslim Travel Girl after a suggestion to share with my friends all the places I travelled to and how I got these deals. They were always curious on how I bag a deal and managed to travel for so little money. It was the beginning of a great journey and the birth of MuslimTravelGirl. We help Muslims to travel the world in style without breaking the bank. We share travel deals, loyalty program hacks, muslim friendly inspiration and locations. Places or options that people might not have considered or have a false believe that it is expensive. We share hijab free holidays, a trend which MTG started and I am glad to see expanding around the world. It’s awesome to see how something such as the blog can grow so fast and help others to see the beauty of Allah SWT.
Tell us something interesting that happened since you started your MTG
OMG I think the best thing that happened was the opportunity to visit the house of Allah twice for Umrah (I tried not to over-visit). One of this time was under $500 and I wrote a Book about it called “Umrah under $500”.
It was in five star hotels next to the Haram. Then in Ramadan last year we went for the last 10 nights. The experience was unbelievable and I loved every minute of it. Before I go I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it. Now I plan an Umrah every year.
If you could teleport to a place now, where would it be and why?
Only one place??
I think this is the hardest question ever! There are so many places I would love to visit. If I was to pick one that would be Antartica. I would love to visit inshaAllah one day.
What are 3 of your favourite destinations and why?
My favourite destinations, I have so many to pick but I would say I love the Grand Canyon which is magnificent, definitely recommend for Muslims to visit. You are truly in awe by Allah’s creation.
I like Malta, it is very nice and Muslim friendly plus excellent weather all year around.
Last but not least I must say Greece, it is my home country, I consider it always home and there are so many beautiful places to visit.
Which country are you most excited to visit in 2016?
I am very much looking forward to visiting Malaysia and Singapore in 2016. I have so many friends there and would love to meet you guys too.
What are some of the challenges you have faced while travelling and how did you overcome it?
I see challenges as opportunities, we have all experienced the extra security checks especially if you wear hijab. I just smile and be polite they are doing their job. Halal food can be hard to find but with a positive attitude I am happy to eat vegetarian especially if the place is worth visiting. Though I believe that where there is a Muslim, and we are all over the world, there is always halal 😊
What are your travel must-haves?
My compass for qibla direction, I like the old fashion compass. My prayer mat which I bought from Makkah and I love it, and my prayer duas. I think every Muslim should read these beautiful duas before travel it creates a purpose for your journey externally and internally.
If you could give one piece of advice to people who want to travel – what would it be?
Travel! It is not expensive, there are ways to save money, so many beautiful places to visit in the world and travelling is a life University on it’s own. You can pick up so many life lessons just by travelling. Muslims are part of this world and travelling just breaks barriers and misconceptions that others put on us. It is dawah without words but by action.
What do you hope for the world in 2016?
Appreciation. The earth is a gift from our Creator, we should love and protect the nature and the people. So appreciate what we have in this world. So much beauty.
Have a hilarious/interesting/memorable travel story or any tips you would like to share with us? Drop us an email at email@example.com!
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