Here is an easy guide on how to do a DIY Umrah on your own. Do-it-Yourself Umrah is becoming extremely popular and there are so many ways you plan and save when planning an Umrah on your own.
For the past four years I have helped thousands of readers go for Umrah doing a DIY Umrah by helping them understand the Umrah visa fees, the Umrah visa procedures, the planning and organising of an Umrah and also how to find the best deals to make it so much more cost efficient Umrah package.
I myself have performed Umrah, the first time I did Umrah on my own it for under £300 in 2013. In 2015 we did an Umrah in the last 10 nights of Ramadan in the newly opened Hyatt Makkah in Saudi Arabia by issuing our own Umrah visas and booking business class flights. The total cost of the trip was £2,000 for two people with a total saving of £18,0000 approximately.
So when I talk about how to plan the most amazing DIY Umrah, I have a trick or two up my sleeve. No wonder they call me the “Umrah girl”.
Misconceptions about DIY Umrah
Let’s first tackle one of the biggest issues when it comes to planning your own Umrah. For many years people thought that you cannot book an Umrah yourself and that you have to go through an agent and buy an Umrah package. This is actually false!
You can find many agents especially in the West, such as United Kingdom, United States and Canada that will issue you with an Umrah visa only and then you can plan Umrah on your own as you would with any other holiday. You can then book your own hotel for Umrah as well as your flights and transportation.
In fact, in 2018 the Saudi Arabian Government announced their 2030 vision, which was to include 30million pilgrim visitors into the country. In order to do this, they have opened and signed agreements with online travel giants like Agoda and low-cost airlines like Flynas to create more DIY Umrah packages for Muslims and bring the cost of Umrah down.
In 2019 they will also be issuing tourist visas which can be used in conjunction with Umrah visas and then you can visit other parts of Saudi Arabia as well. This tourist visa for Saudi is not open yet, so please keep an eye here because I will update the post once they have started issuing them.
Currently, you can only visit Jeddah, Makkah and Medinah while on Umrah visa. You cannot stop for example in Riyadh for a day to explore and then go for Umrah.
Now that I have booked so many of my own DIY Umrah and also Umrah for customers I treat the planning process the same way as I plana any other holiday.
This Ultimate Umrah guide is here to help you and prepare you for what to expect in every aspect of the Umrah procedure. But in short, you can plan and book your own Umrah visa, book your own Umrah hotels and create your own package.
Please note: The winners of DIY Umrah are mostly Western countries as well as Oceania, sadly with the exception of a minority of Asian countries pilgrims struggle to get Umrah visa only. This has mostly to do with quotas and monopoly. Of course, they are exceptions and if you know of agents who issue Umrah visa only please do let me know.
Below are some articles you can read:
- Here is Why Agents won’t issue Umrah visa without package
- Umrah Visa Price for 2018-2019 and Current Rules
Preparing for Your DIY Umrah Trip
Now, that we have eliminated the elephant in the room and we know we can plan our own Umrah let’s start with the basic steps I go through when preparing for it.
If you are new to this site you should know that every year I always do a travel strategy that helps me maximize my spending and saving to achieve my travel goals, whether it is an exotic destination or an Umrah.
Here are the most important questions to ask yourself when planning Umrah on your own.
Decide you want to go for Umrah: Deciding you want to go for Umrah and starting to plan the whole Umrah process well in advance can save you hundreds if not thousands in pounds. Many people leave it until last minute and then they wonder whether a DIY Umrah package will be cheaper or just booking with an Umrah agent because they don’t have the time to plan it.
If you are planning on going for Umrah start saving at least six months in advance. Look out for the best promotions on flights and hotels. Hotels and airlines offer discounts up to 40% every 3-4 months. Check this article for more on this.
What is your budget: Many people don’t start with a budget in mind, they have an idea of what it might cost them but that’s it. Or they come to me and ask me for a five star luxury with a two-star budget. I can do miracles but we do need time, so when you decide you want to go for Umrah to start thinking about your budget.
On average my readers save 25% to 40% doing a DIY Umrah package than booking with an Umrah agent.
Realistically if you look at previous articles you can see there are some great saving, even for Umrah in Ramadan 2019 if you plan well in advance. Check out this post here for an idea.
How many people are you travelling with and their ages: It is very important to have an idea of the people you will be travelling with and their requirements. For example how many children do you have? Their ages and their mobility. The same applies to elderly parents who might not be able to walk far to get to Haram. So you might have to think about upping your hotel budget for convenience for them.
We will discuss hotels further below, but many hotels nowadays will accommodate up to 4 or 5 people in a room so this is especially good for families. Note that there will be a surcharge in most cases but it will be cheaper than standard Umrah packages, plus when splitting the cost it will be less.
Are you going to be visiting Medina: It is important to know whether you will be visiting Medinah as well as Mekkah when doing Umrah. Sometimes especially during busy periods, it is better to actually fly into Medina to avoid being dropped at the Hajj terminal or having to wait two hours for immigration.
Medinah airport is smaller and closer to Masjid Al Nabawi, it usually takes less than 30min to get from the airport to the Masjid making it an easier destination to arrive first. Now, with the new train connecting Mecca and Medinah, it is easier also to travel with kids and elderly as it takes about three hours in total.
When are you going for Umrah: It is extremely important to have an idea of when you will be going for Umrah. Umrah during school holidays is much more expensive. Also, Umrah during Ramadan and especially the last 10 nights can be 20x more than going during the off-peak season.
Now, let’s be clear. Saudi Arabia received 7 million pilgrims last year for Umrah, so there is not much of off-peak season unless you can go for Umrah when it’s closed for the majority of countries. This only happens after Hajj. So unless you have some great connection (in this case, sharing is caring so please share with me) you will have to decide when you want to go.
Personally, I have found that the cheapest time to go if you can is between big Western holidays like school holidays, Christmas and Easter break. Also when Umrah season Opens it is usually a good time to go, but very volatile as many of the rules change up to a month into the season. We have had instances of people losing money because of the new rules.
I prefer to wait for the dust to settle and go end of February / March or just before Ramadan if I am on a budget.
Do you have loyalty miles or points: Loyalty programs transformed the way I travel. They have given me experiences like the five star Makkah hotel in the last 10 nights of Ramadan that I could never dream of. If you have the desire to find out how to collect miles and points for Umrah then check out the link here.
All international hotel chains are located in Makkah and Medinah and you can earn points throughout the year and redeem when on Umrah. This is my strategy and it saves me thousands every time. This, of course, is the same for international airlines since pretty much every airline flies into Jeddah airport for Umrah. You can have a look at my course on DIY Umrah and how to maximize those tips here.
Here are some more articles you can read on:
- Best Airport for Arrival and Departure During Umrah
- The Best Practical Tips You will Need When Travelling for Umrah or Hajj with Kids!
- American Express Gold Card: Why I still believe it is the best card for Muslims who want to travel
Umrah Visa Requirements
Please read the new Umrah visa Rules here.
From September 2019 the Umrah visa price increased across the board for all agents in every country.
The repeat Umrah visa fee of 2000 SAR is removed but the price went up from around £100 to around £280/£300 per person.
So those who go every year have actually saved money and those who would go for the first time including children have lost as now they have to pay regardless of whether they have been before.
Also now Saudi has introduced new rules on package options which if they stay implemented can mean that DIY Umrah will be a little harder. Please make sure you read the updates here on the Umrah visa fees post.
In the UK I personally use Prince Visa since 2012 and that first Umrah visa. You will receive a 20% discount if you mention MuslimTravelGirl when applying. Currently, the fee for Umrah visa from the UK is now £250 with the discount it comes to £120. Important to mention I don’t receive a commission from them this is more for you guys.
Umrah visa fee from the US cost around $450 and the best agency that many readers and friends have used in the United States Randevouz Travel. I don’t have an affiliation with them but I should actually ask them for a discount for my readers as I have sent them a good amount of traffic!
I will be adding more agents from other countries so if you have good reputable ones, please do let me know.
Sadly as mentioned before some countries have a massive monopoly on Umrah visa issuance and I have known some cases where if you agree to actually book your flights with them they will offer you the visa as well. Then you can book your own hotels which are where the biggest saving is.
Umrah Visa Quotas and Umrah Visa Commission by agents
Before we look into the requirements of Umrah visa I want to mention Umrah visa quotas which are basically a restriction on the number of Umrah visas a country can issue. This is mostly a problem is large Muslim populated countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. Depending on the number of Muslims in this country the Saudi Hajj ministry will offer the visas.
A few years ago they were instances where Umrah visas finished during Ramadan and some people didn’t get to go. This I assume will become rarer as Saudi is going towards their 2030 vision which is to allow more pilgrims in.
Another important part and a very frequent question I receive is if Umah visas are free by the Saudi government why do we pay for them? Sadly Umrah visas are free from Saudi Hajj ministry but they are many different admin costs we have to pay which do add up to the cost of the Umrah fee for that year. Read more about this here.
Also, there is now a new rule about a repeat Umrah visa within the last three year will pay extra 2000SAR per person. I have a super comprehensive post on this here so please go and check it out for all the rules and regulations on this Umrah visa fee.
What You need to Issue your Umrah visa
The requirements for Umrah visa are pretty similar to what you expect from any other country when issuing a visa.
First and foremost however let’s clarify you cannot apply or an Umrah visa yourself without an authorised agent. You will need an agent to issue your visa, you can’t just show up at the embassy and request an Umrah visa.
Now it is possible to issue your Umrah E-visa online with an approved agent with only sending a scanned copy of your passport in.
Your Umrah E-visa will be issued within 24 hours.
Here are important information about your Umrah Visa.
- Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months
- You will need to complete an Umrah application like this one.
- Your Umrah visa is valid for 15 days from issuance and you can stay in Saudi 15 days read here more on this. The visa says 30 but agents recommend 14 days to 20 maximum. Otherwise, you might be blocked from going again.
- You cannot also go for Umrah after Ramadan you will need to wait for the new Umrah season to open approximately 2 months after Hajj.
- Your visa will be issued electronically within 10 days and you will receive a copy of it. You won’t get a stamped visa on your passport.
- Umrah visas nowadays are electronic and take about 10days to be issued and activated by the Saudi Embassy of your country.
- In order to issue an Umrah visa, you need to be a citizen of the country where you live or have a permanent residency. You cannot issue it if you are on other types of visas. Even if your spouse is from that country.
- The Umrah visa rule says you cannot stay after Ramadan, however, I have spent Eid there and flew at night time. It would be impractical to get millions out of the country the night before. It is discouraged to stay longer and you can be fined if you overstay more than a day or so.
- You don’t need a marriage certificate even a Nikkah paper will do.
- If you are a convert you need a Conversion certificate check this post.
- You need a meningitis vaccination but you don’t have to submit for your Umrah visa, it is for the immigration authorities if they ask you. The certificate is valid for 2 years and personally, I always vaccinate myself. You must have done the vaccination 10 days before travel.
- As of 2019 rules, you will need to pay 2000SAR to your agent on top of your Umrah visa fee as a repeat pilgrim.
- Single ladies without a mahram cannot go on their own or with other women friends. You will need to find a group with a mahram Imam to take you and you must be over 45.
- If you overstay your visa your agent is fined and you are blacklisted from being issued a visa again. With electronic Umrah visa, it is even easier to monitor this.
- An important part is that currently, the application the agent completes is very detailed. However, you don’t need to provide info on your blood type or other personal things, especially in the UK and EU. We have very strick GDPR rules and this is sensitive info until further notice agents have been told not to collect it…..but some have!
Here are some posts to read on the topic:
- Umrah E-Visa
- Umrah Visa Price for 2018-2019 and Current Rules
- Who Is DIY Umrah for and What is its Future? -Should Umrah Agents be Worried?
- Here is How To Issue an Umrah Visa When Living Abroad; The Expat Guide to Umrah Visa
Accommodation and Flights for Umrah
How to Find the Best Deals on Flights and Hotels when doing a DIY Umrah
Finding flights and hotels for Umrah has become much easier during those last few years. We have so many more new hotels opened and others opening very soon. Every major international chain is in Makkah and Medinah either with one or more brands.
Finding the best flights for Umrah
Every major international airline flies to Jeddah and some fly to Medinah as well. If you are looking for prices from London to Jeddah they are about £500 direct and you can find them cheaper if you take a stopover for around £350.
Flights from the US for Umrah have also significantly decreased and I have seen options to fly for less than $800 return trip to Jeddah.
Here are my favourite options for getting cheap flights.
Booking flights during sales: Airlines have about 3-4 sales per year where you can find cheaper options even by 40% from anywhere in the world. One big mistake people make is actually booking flights when they think they have to instead of looking at the time period.
For example, deciding to go for Umrah in April people will start booking flights in February or March, had they decided to go in April they could have booked over the Christmas sale and save some cash on them.
These sales usually occur during December, April, June, September. They have validity for up to one year of travel in some cases makes it easy to plan your trips around the cheapest dates.
I always find flights with Skyscanner as I love their monthly view and their yearly cheap flight option.
Know when to book your flights: If you have missed the sale period ( oops!) you can still find a decent deal by looking monitoring your flights with Google Flights. Personally, I love this as I can see how volatile the flight prices are and how much they fluctuate.
Four to Six weeks for international travel I have found some good deals and even two weeks before travel. This, of course, is harder if you are not risk taker as prices can increase. People will usually book flights two months before travel so you will start looking at routes at the same time as thousands of others making the prices go up. If you wait for the surge in traffic and you monitor via Google Flights you can avoid this.
Use low-cost airlines and split tickets: Sometimes not booking the full ticket for Jeddah can save you money. If you are going during peak time flights can be expensive from London for example to Jeddah. Look for options to book an open jaw ticket to Medina and return from Jeddah. Many times this will save you money and hassle.
Other times I love using low-cost airlines which have become very handy and you can easily combine a holiday with them.
We do have a low-cost guide that you can check with all the airlines and their routes here. For example, a flight from London to Jeddah with Pegasus airlines can be cheaper split in half (London-Istanbul, Istanbul – Jeddah) than booking into one flight. This is because of demand and supply.
My all-time favourite tip is taking advantage of WizzAir cheap flights from Europe to Dubai and then from Dubai to Jeddah and Medinah with any of the many airlines. This way I have saved hundreds and also I have combined a post-Umrah holiday along the way.
Loyalty Programs: If you do collect miles, you can definitely use them for flights to Makkah and Medinah from anywhere in the world. Personally, I prefer to use cash if I am not redeeming for business class but you could also upgrade your travel experience from economy to business.
My best tip for the cheapest option of redeeming especially if you have a large family is to fly to a nearby country and then redeem for a business class to Jeddah. I love when I end up first out of the plane to immigration and finish before the crowd!
It is the small luxuries of loyalty programs I enjoy.
Best Hotel Options in Makkah and Medina
Makkah is opening so many new hotels that it makes me excited to just go and review them all. My poor husband was so nice last time since we went for a week and we changed three different hotels just so I can review them.
The five-star hotels closer to the Haram are becoming cheaper with newcomers such as Hilton Convention, Marriott, and Conrad.
Hotel competition is actually bringing the prices down so more people can enjoy comfort close to Haram. I am so happy for this!
One question I get asked a lot about is where should you stay in Makkah. Which side is better traffic wise and for the elderly and children while on Umrah?
A few years back the Clock Tower was the place to be, for me I personally never liked it as the traffic to the mall and the hotels always made it very busy. The lifts to the hotels took ages and people outside selling things make it even harder to move. Plus the Haram construction on that site didn’t help the situation.
However, if you want the best views of the Haram this is the place to be!
The best hotels for me for young children and elderly have to be the Intercontinental Dar Al Tawhid and the now Millennium Hotel and Towers (old Hilton Hotel and Towers). When we stayed in both properties we were in the Haram in 5 minutes and because it is in the courtyard it is easy to move with a stroller or a wheelchair.
My other preference which I will use with my family is the new Jabal Omar hotels such as the Conrad Makkah, Hyatt Makkah, and Hilton Convention Makkah. You do have to cross the road for them but it’s not a big issue and you still get to Haram in about 5-7 minutes.
I like these hotels because they are newer so they offer the 4 start standard of European and American hotels. If you are paying money for convenience you might as well pay for the comfort in a new hotel.
Also, there are many new hotels that are further away but are an extremely good value for money. Holiday Inn Azziziya is a new property, Ibis Makkah can be found for real cheap in Ramadan here and several others. Check out the post on budget hotels here.
These hotels can be found for as little as £40 per night! Yes, you do need to take their shuttle or order an Uber but if you are on a budget and you don’t take about the distance you truly can’t go wrong.
The reason why I like using International chains is that I feel safer and that I have more rights as a customer. If I go and my stay is not as expected (don’t make false complaints) I can contact their International office and make an official complain.
How many times I have had people actually email me and saying their Makkah and Medinah hotels were horrible or they lost money and nothing could be done.
Hotel Sales: Same as airlines, hotels have sales every few months. Make sure you check in advance (see above when planning) which hotel would like to stay in, the sign up for their newsletter.
One hotel starts their sale you can expect that every other one will follow in a week or so. Again competition in the travel industry is fierce.
Most of these sales have either non-refundable option or semi-flex so make sure you are happy with your dates before booking as you might not be able to cancel them.
During a sale, you can find hotels in Makkah and Medina for as little as £70 per night at Hilton and around £90 for Hyatt. Majority of their rooms can also accommodate families with children, up to 4-5 adults or kids.
Best advice on this is to actually call the hotel and make sure you ask them if they charge for children because sometimes the online system is rigid.
Loyalty points and free nights: Again, I rarely book via third party sites unless it is one stay in a place with a significant discount. The reason behind this is that my travel strategy includes staying in hotel chains to receive points which I can redeem for expensive properties around the world.
Like Makkah during Ramadan. This is how we saved over £2000 per night during our Hyatt stay in the last 10 nights of Ramadan in 2015. I used all my point with Hyatt to stay there and save.
Yes, this strategy takes years sometimes and persistence but I prefer spending a little extra for benefits like free breakfast, upgrades, lounge access than saving £20 a room. Because I know I can receive good value for my spend.
I always make sure my money goes further and return double of what I spent. I lived 8 months in hotels to earn points.
If you want to find out more on how to use points for hotel stays and saving you can check my Umrah course here.
Cashback on Hotels: If you don’t want to bother with points but still want to save money on your hotel stays I highly recommend using cashback websites like Topcashback to earn throughout the year and on your Makkah hotel of course.
Another option I LOVE for simplicity is the free night from Hotels.com which is easy to use and understand. You stay 10 nights within a year and you get a FREE night coupon with the average spend of your nights. So if all your stays where £100 per night your voucher will be £100.
You can also use Topcashback for some extra money but the % you earn if you want the free night is lower. Still better than nothing!
When to Book Your Hotels for Umrah
I usually book my hotels during the sale period with semi-flex terms even if it more expensive, because I like the flexibility, it can be about 8 months in advance. If for some reason the rates go down and it’s closer to time the time of my Umrah I will cancel them and rebook the cheaper rate.
I will finalise my Umrah hotels just before I submit my Umrah visa to my agent. This way if they ask me for hotel confirmation I will have them.
Many agents will ask for non-refundable hotel bookings to make sure you will stay where you say you will!
If you are booking on loyalty points you are usually more flexible than booking non-refundable rates. So if you need to cancel you can and you can still show them to the agent with no problem.
Overall I book my hotels for Umrah the same way I would book them for any other trip, just double checking the prices and cancellation terms before I apply for my Umrah visa.
For flights, I will book them when the best price appears and in most cases they are non-refundable so they will be confirmed flights.
Here are some posts to read on the topic:
- Amex Gold: The Best card for Muslims to travel without interest
- Best Airport for Arrival and Departure During Umrah
- Oman Air Business Class Redemption with Etihad Miles Jeddah to Muscat, the best deal ever!
- The Best Hotels to Book In Makkah for Your Next Umrah
- Amazing Deals for Umrah in Ramadan 2019 on a Budget – Last 10 Nights
Transportation from Jeddah to Makkah and Medinah
I have an extensive Umrah transportation guide which can help you with the best options and prices available for every transport option for Umrah. But in short, I would like to also cover them here and make it easier for you.
Jeddah to Makkah: The best way for arriving in Makkah from Jeddah is to take a taxi from the airport. You can negotiate with a driver once you exit the airport or you can order an Uber or Careem (the Middle Eastern version of Uber). As a techno girl, I prefer the later options. The cost is approximately £40.
Makkah to Medina: With the new train now available the best option is this for me. It is easy, convenient and comfortable plus it takes the least time. I really don’t enjoy the Saudi driving so I try to avoid it as much as possible. You can book the train online and it costs £30 per person. Read more about it here.
Your other option is the SAPTCO bus which is the government business that runs between the cities. Make sure you book these when you arrive in Makkah to get the time and date you want. You can book online but it is not reliable always. The VIP service is more comfortable and costs around £35 per person, it has a table, bigger sitting and more space. You can read here the full review.
Taxi is another option and there are plenty of choices of taxis outside the Conrad and Hyatt hotels. Personally, I don’t recommend this as drivers are tired, overworked and accidents happen.
Friends told me not to use them and although I know these incidents are rare I didn’t enjoy the drive the two times we did it. So I would rather not take a taxi but if you must the rate is about £50 for the trip. You can negotiate with them directly.
You can also negotiate with them for taking you to Ziara trips around Makkah and you can do an hourly rate as well. Start low and find a price you are comfortable with but I think around £20-30 is good for a few hours. You can also get Uber for this as well.
In Medinah, they have the tourist bus that can get you around to do Ziara and it’s a hop on and off so you can get off and enjoy the sights before getting the next one. It is the same company that runs the ones in other cities around the world.
Medinah to Jeddah: If your flight departs from Jeddah you can take the train to Jeddah instead of a taxi and then just get a taxi from Jeddah to the airport. The train doesn’t have a stop at the airport so you do need to transfer. This is faster than 5 hours driving.
Personally, I like arriving in Medinah and then departing from Jeddah. Medinah airport is smaller so easier to get out of and also the train now makes it easy to reach Jeddah. On departure, Jeddah is closer and more convenient.
Locations for Trains and Buses in Makkah and Medinah:
- SAPTCO bus station: Jarwal, Mecca 24231, Saudi Arabia
- Haramain Train location in Makkah: Al Rasaifah, Ar Rusayfah, Makkah 24232, Saudi Arabia
- SAPTCO bus stop in Medinah: King Faisal Rd, Bani Khidrah, Crowne Plaza Hotel، Medina 42311, Saudi Arabia
- Haramain Train location in Medinah: Al Hadra, Medina 42368 8183, Saudi Arabia
Make sure you read our full Umrah transportation guide
Approximate costs of your DIY Umrah
Now, we have a comparison on agent packages as above and on DIY Umrah but let’s look at how much it would cost you to price your own Umrah.
As I have said above, I price and plan Umrah now in a similar way as I do our other holidays. I know the timing of when I have to send my Umrah visa (3-4 weeks in advance) and then I just book my hotels and flights when I find the best deals.
Umrah visa fee cost: £150 / $220
This is without the repeat fee of 2000SAR per person. If you have a new passport you don’t pay for this. The Umrah fees are standard for every single country.
Flights from New York to Jeddah for Umrah: $950 (one stopover in Istanbul)
Flights from London to Jeddah for Umrah: £550 (direct) £380 (one stopover in Istanbul)
Hotels in Makkah for 5 nights
Options for 4-5 star hotels with closest to Haram first
- Makkah Millennium Towers (0.3 miles) £600 / $780 for two people
- Hyatt Makkah Jabal Omar (0.4 miles) £600 / $780 for two people
- Hilton Convention hotel (0.4 miles) £530 / $650 for two people
- Sheraton Makkah Jabal Al Kaaba Hotel (0.5 miles) £330 / $430 for two people
- M Hotel Makkah by Millennium (1.6 miles) £190 / $250 for two people
Options for 3-star hotels with closest to Haram First
- Ibis Styles Makkah (1.9 miles) £116 / $150 for two people
- Holiday Inn Makkah Al Aziziah (2.3 miles) £185 / $240 for two people
- Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem (4.2miles) £145 / $200 for two people
Hotels in Medinah for 5 nights
- Pullman Zamzam Madina (0.2 miles) £375 / $490
- Anwar Al Madinah Movenpick Hotel (0.3 miles) £600 / $780
- Millennium Taiba Hotel Madinah (0.3 miles) £410 / $540
- Crowne Plaza Madinah (0.3 miles) £334 / $ 420
- InterContinental Dar Al Hijra Madinah (0.5 miles) £355 / $460
Transportation from Jeddah to Makkah: £40 / $55 for two people on taxi or Uber
Transportation from Makkah to Medinah: £70 / $90 for two people on the Haramain train (add double for return if needed)
Ziara tours depend on you and if you would like them but around £50 / $65 for two people
Food also depends on your personal circumstances, we do spend about £10- £20 ($25) per day in the food court but I also buy from the supermarket and make sandwiches for afternoon snack and fruits.
In total performing, a Do-it-Yourself Umrah comes much cheaper than buying an Umrah package as you can make it as expensive or cheap as you wish. Plus if you use some of the tips above it can be very cost-effective.
Here are some posts to read on the topic:
- Amazing Deals for Umrah in Ramadan 2019 on a Budget; Last 10 Nights
- Price Comparison (DIY) Do-It-Yourself Umrah VS Umrah Agent Packages
- Your 4-Star DIY Umrah Package in the Last Nights of Ramadan 2018 for £1,400 for 9 nights
Practical Umrah Tips
Zamzam water: One of the frequent questions is about ZamZam water and how you can take it. Usually, ZamZam is not part of your allowance but extra. You have to buy it from the airport though so it is sealed and packed ready for transportation.
I think it was about 20SAR for the 5little one and you buy it from the kiosk outside next to departures at Jeddah airport.
If you are on a split ticket you will have to put the water into your suitcase and it will be from your luggage allowance.
You can take a few bottles of ZamZam in your suitcase but make sure they don’t leak because they will be removed. So seal them properly. This will also count towards your baggage allowance.
Mobile Phone: If you don’t have International data for your phone then you can buy a local sim card, it costs £20 / $30 and it comes with local number and data. We did this once and it was very convenient. They have those pilgrim SIM cards valid for a few weeks. You will need your passport to get them and the office in the Jabal Omar development had great customer service.
We used the Mobily network for this but I know it works on all networks. There is also an office outside the Intercontinental hotel in Makkah.
Inside the Haram: Cameras are not allowed in Haram and your bags will be searched. You can have your mobile and take photos though.
Wheelchair: For children and elderly there are free wheelchairs you can use to transport them around so they don’t walk. You can also hire one of the guys to help with this but I am not sure of the charge.
You can check this post here.
I love planning and organising my own Umrah package, it is easy and much cheaper plus it gives me the flexibility to enjoy what I value most, prayer in the Haram without feeling pressure.
I hope this ultimate guide on how to do a DIY Umrah yourself will provide you with all the confidence to try it for yourself if you haven’t done already.
If you have any more tips for Muslim pilgrims or you want to share your experiences please do so below.
May Allah invite us to his house soon, because no matter how much planning if we don’t have the invitation we can’t go.