5 Tips for Travelling with Your Wheelchair-Bound Loved One for Umrah


Hazirah Hakeem •  Oct 19, 2023

Planning a journey for Umrah is a significant undertaking, especially when travelling with an elderly or wheelchair-bound loved one. Here are some valuable tips and insights to help you prepare for this spiritual journey and ensure a smooth and meaningful experience for your family.

When travelling with elderly family members or those with mobility limitations, it's essential to engage in detailed planning to address specific needs and potential challenges. Here, we offer advice based on one of our readers, Aisyah’s experience, to help you make your Umrah trip one that is comfortable for everyone.

1. Choosing the right Travel Agency

One of the first steps in preparing for Umrah, particularly when travelling with elderly or less-abled family members, is choosing a travel agency. The agency you select should provide essential information, support, and guidance to ensure a successful journey.

Consider these crucial aspects when choosing an agency:

Pre-departure Briefings:

Some travel agencies often organise pre-departure briefings where attendees will be walked through how the whole trip will go, as well as answer any questions that attendees have.

Catering to Specific Needs:

The agency should be helpful in accommodating the specific needs of elderly individuals, including providing wheelchairs and assistance for those who require help with walking long distances, transportation assistance, language issues, or if there are any other accommodations that your loved one needs.

2. Prepare accommodations for the Elderly

The well-being of your elderly or wheelchair-bound loved one is a top priority during the Umrah journey. Travel agencies can play a pivotal role in assisting them by providing wheelchairs and guiding them through the pilgrimage. Here's how you can ensure their comfort:

Hiring Assistance:

You may need to hire someone through the agency to take care of your loved one. This helps address their immediate needs, such as watching over them if there are any sites that they are not able to enter with the rest of the family, bringing them around and more. Most travel agencies have contacts for these helpers, so you can approach your travel agency and let them know what you want and need, and they should be able to help you find someone. Do take note that you will have to pay a few riyal, as it is an extra paid service.

Engaging Local Guides:

Some families entrust the care of their elderly family members to their travel guides, who often offer to look after them free of charge. However, this depends on the travel agency and group that you are travelling with, as not all travel guides might offer their services. This approach eases concerns, providing a sense of security and ensuring a smoother Umrah experience.

Based on her experience, Aisyah offered several other valuable tips for families planning Umrah with elderly members. Consider the following advice to make the journey as smooth and enriching as possible:

3. Have sincere intentions and patience

Emphasise the importance of sincere intentions and patience throughout the journey. While Umrah can be physically demanding, maintaining trust and sincerity is vital. Especially when travelling with the elderly, or someone who has a disability, the journey might be tougher for them, which might impact the rest of the group. In these cases, having patience and peace is the most important virtue.

4. Medical Preparations

Families should be well-prepared with medications for common illnesses that may arise during the trip. Ensure that elderly family members have received necessary vaccinations before travelling. Aisyah cited this as one of the most important things as she personally witnessed everyone around her falling sick.

“A lot of people fell sick. Like I think my whole group at the end of the trip were coughing and in the middle of the trip, my grandma had a fever also, so I think it's very good to prepare a lot of medication, for anything that could happen. I think it's good to prepare medication and, if you're bringing elderly, it's good to let them at least take a vaccine short for influenza or whatever”

5. Respect Elderly Family Members' Readiness

It's crucial to consider whether your elderly loved one is physically and mentally ready to embark on Umrah. Avoid pushing them into the journey if they are not willing or prepared for the experience.

“If you keep pushing them in a way to go, I feel that it might not be the most beneficial because sure, they might want to be there, but physically, they might already know that they won't be able to take it and it's just not the most enjoyable thing. Let them decide on their own.”

Travelling for Umrah with elderly or wheelchair-bound family members requires careful planning and support from reputable travel agencies. Despite the challenges you may encounter, this sacred pilgrimage can strengthen family bonds, deepen your connection to your faith, and serve as a powerful reminder of the significance of Islam. Ultimately, with the right preparation and sincere intentions, families can undertake this transformative journey and create lasting memories with their loved ones.