Ramadan is around the corner and the emails for DIY Umrah Packages are coming fast. I can’t believe that Ramadan is just around the corner and that insha’Allah we get to experience it again. For those who don’t know Ramadan is the Holy month in Islam and Muslims around the world fast for the entire month from sunrise to sunset. This is especially fun in the UK where the fast in the summer can be 20hrs!
But with Ramadan comes also the desire for Umrah in this holy month and prices go crazyyy to the tune of about £1,000 for one night in the Conrad Makkah which I reviewed here.
Umrah Packages can also be crazy especially if you want to be close to the Haram and also in a double room rather than four in a room which can cost as high as £7,500 for 10 days.
So I thought I will do 4 steps to DIY Umrah and prices for you, all you have to do is follow the steps click on the links and input the dates you want. Then it can be customised to your needs.
This way this post will stay relevant not only for Raman but also any other time during the Umrah season. Essentially your own DIY Umrah Package design tool.
Here are the steps in the order I usually go about them:
- Step 1- The Visa
- Step 2 – The flights
- Step 3- The Hotels
- Step 4 – Transportation
Step 1- The Visa
I try to make sure I know I can get a visa so first I will go to the agent and ask, for the UK I use Prince Visa and for the US Best Hajj.
If you are UK based and you want a discount Prince Visa Offers MTG readers a 20% discount and you will need to quite MuslimTravelGirl for that.
I always apply for my visa 3-4 weeks before travel, so for Umrah in Ramadan, I will apply NOW!
Please read about the new rules on Umrah visas here.
Step 2- Flights
I usually book flights about 6 weeks before I fly out but I have found great deals also 2 weeks before travel it will really depend on your threshold and anxiety to leaving it so last minute. 🙂
I usually look for flights on Skyscanner since I like their monthly view option and they also include pretty much all the low-cost airlines as well giving you a good indication of flight prices.
Flight for the first week or so of Ramadan is £350 from London with a small stopover in Beirut which is acceptable. To check the flight click here.
Another option I like to consider is flying on an open-jaw ticket, which basically means that my arrival airport and my departure airport are different. This way you don’t have to fly in and out of Jeddah you can easily fly into Medina, you can read here more about this and fly out Jeddah. This is so much easier in most cases and my preferred method when in Ramadan.
To find flights this way you need to go directly to Skyscanner and use the Multi-City option as shown below. In this case, you can see that the cheapest and fastest option will be with Royal Jordanian air for £383 which is a good price.
To find flights that work on the dates you want you can use the widget below for this, I have left it purposely blank so even if you are not based in London or the UK for that matter you can use it easily.
Step 3- The Hotel
Now there are so many hotel options everywhere that it is very hard to choose. Sometimes it depends on who do you travel with or your style of travel. What I love about Makkah and Medina and the future is that there are so many hotels and choices not only 5 star but brand new 3 star with great service and quality. Gone (almost) are the days where the worst hotel was available for a good price.
Hotels also in Medina are historically almost half price or less in Ramadan so you might want to spend more time there than in Makkah.
Recommendation for Medina hotels in Ramadan
Pullman Zam Zam is a new hotel close to Haram and for 5 nights in the first week of Ramadan it costs £369 per room without breakfast or £470 per room for up to 4 people in a triple room. This will be great for families with children.
Other good options close to the mosque can be the Intercontinental Al-Hijra hotel and the Golden Tulip. Hilton and the Dar Al Iman Intercontinental are great properties as well but double the price, however, they are both 1 minute away from the Prophet’s mosque. For prices click here.
My go-to choice for hotel aggregator is Hotelscombined since they search pretty much all known and unknown hotel sites for the best deals. I have found some great gems over the years with them.
Tip: If hotels.com is the cheaper or same price I would book with hotels.com especially if you are staying 10 nights in total since they offer you 1 free night after every ten. you receive a voucher for this and you can use on a subsequent vacation.
If you want to search all the hotels in Medina, then you can use the widget below as it’s easier.
Recommendations for Makkah Hotels in Ramadan
There are many new hotels which offer good value for money and even though some can be a little further away when you spend all day or night in the mosque it doesn’t really matter. Not sure how many people want to pay 40,000SAR/ £7,500 for the last 10 nights, which is the offer for travel agents received from Conrad. If you are a family of 4 then this could potentially make sense sharing one room. You can read my review of the Conrad hotel here.
Personally, if money is not an issue the Conrad or Hyatt are my favourite options. But even then not sure I want to spend so much money when I can have another 3 holidays with that amount.
Hilton Makkah Convention centre is an excellent value for location and price during Ramadan, I have my review of the hotel here and also their executive lounge is the best. For direct prices to Makkah click here.
There is also the Hilton Marriott which is a good value and a little further up.
The M Hotel by Millennium is a 5-star property that if it was closer to Haram would have been 10x more expensive so for 3 nights at £260 I think it’s a bargain. Yes, You will need to take a shuttle but if more is tight it’s a good choice. For a direct link to the hotel click here.
You can search for the dates for Makkah hotels here to find the best for you and beyond my recommendations, although these hotel suggestions come after a long search and experience.
Step 4 – The Transport
Depending on which option you pick you will have to either travel first to Makkah or Medina. Personally, if I am going to both Makkah and Medina I would rather do the open jaw option which is much better and saves me the 5 hr drive to Medina.
So if you are arriving in Makkah you can use an Uber or negotiate with a local taxi driver. This should not cost more than £40 one way for a car. There are no buses that can take you to the Makkah if you want to use a local bus you will need to go to the bus station and take one from there. Taxi, in this case, is much better or you can use Uber or Careem. Both operate in Saudi Arabia.
- If you are new to Uber you can receive your first ride free if you use my friend’s link here.
- If you are new to Careem you can get your first ride free too with the link here.
Also please note that if you arrive during Ramadan some flights end up in the Hajj terminal which is a little trickier to exit as taxis are not allowed there. You will need to either walk ( not very convenient with ihram) or as a bus to drop you at the other terminal. There are pick up drivers there and you can arrange a price with them.
I have never been into the Hajj terminal but I know some of my readers who have been, so it’s just something to keep in mind. Even airline representatives will not know if the flight will arrive there. If you are flying in from Dubai FlyDubai usually indicated which terminal you arrive.
This is the reason why I like open jaw and arriving in Medina airport, which is smaller and also easier to navigate, plus it’s closer to your hotel especially if you have small children with you.
You can use uber in Medina as well or you can just get a taxi which is not very expensive.
How to get Makkah to Medina
The fastest, easiest and safest way personally to do the route of Mekkah and Medina is to use the VIP SAPTCO bus which is the Saudi transportation bus. They have two choices of a standard bus and also a VIP version which is a little more expensive but it has a table, drinks and more space. Make sure you book in advance for the VIP service for more info here.
You can also request an Uber which will be a standard taxi, I prefer Uber when travelling because I feel safer and drivers are usually more accountable than standard taxis. This will be the same price approximately for 2-3 people are the VIP bus.
What I wouldn’t recommend is using the taxis available outside the hotels and negotiate a price. I know this is what most people do but I have heard mixed reviews of this and considering they can drive like crazy or haven’t slept for days it is not the safest option in my opinion. The travel is long and I prefer to be comfortable and safe even if I have to spend a little more.
So your options, in summary, will be:
- VIP Bus from Makkah to Medina or vice versa
- Uber from Makkah to Medina
- Uber / Careem from Jeddah Airport
Planning your own DIY Umrah packages is not as difficult as it may seem. With so many options now there is no real need to use an agent especially when you can save quite a bit of money. With this package, you can have an enjoyable Umrah for as little as £800 per person for 9 days.
I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible with this post and break down all the steps for you. As always I would appreciate if you use the links on the blog since they help earn a small affiliate and keep this blog running. We all appreciate the love at MuslimTravelGirl. Also, sign up for news and deals below.
Have you ever done a DIY Umrah package for yourself and your family? Share your tips with us below.