Smart budget tips for Hajj and Umrah
Whatever your financial position, it’s important to plan your budget for Hajj and Umrah carefully. Then you can enjoy the spiritual experience of visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah without worrying about money issues.
The total cost of your pilgrimage depends on many choices. Check out our tips for a great Hajj or Umrah experience at a cost you can afford.
What Hajj or Umrah packages are available?
Hajj pilgrims must book a package including visas, accommodation and transport via an agency approved by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Umrah pilgrims are free to arrange their own accommodation and transport, but may wish to take advantage of special Umrah package deals. These range from basic to VIP, so take time to compare packages and find the best one for your budget.
Prices depend on your country of residence and you may be able to find a better deal by booking accommodation in Makkah and Madinah independently – especially if you wish to stay in a luxury hotel.
Can I travel at off-peak times?
Traveling during low season and outside of holiday periods offers a more relaxing Umrah experience. It also allows you to take advantage of lower flight costs and special hotel deals. If you must perform Umrah at a busy time of year, consider traveling on weekdays instead of weekends.
Most pilgrims stay in Saudi Arabia for 15–28 days. A shorter trip will save some money – but once you have paid for your flights and visas, you may as well make the most of your stay!
What are my travel costs in Saudi Arabia?
Taxis and private chauffeur transfers are the most comfortable travel options for pilgrims with large families and lots of luggage – but for the long journeys between Makkah and Madinah, they can add a lot to your budget. For up-to-date information and tips on travel options in Saudi Arabia, check out our blog articles on the best routes to travel to Makkah and how to get around Makkah once you’re in the city.
Alone or as a group?
Large families and groups traveling together can save money by sharing taxis and booking family suites in hotels. On the other hand, traveling with children or elderly relatives may mean you need to spend more on transport, shopping and meals.
What level of comfort do I need?
Don’t underestimate how strenuous Hajj and Umrah can be, especially at busy times and during hot weather. In Makkah, many pilgrims appreciate the comfort of staying in a 5-star hotel near Al Haram with reliable air conditioning and high-quality facilities. If you budget smartly, book well in advance and look out for special deals, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a higher level of comfort and enjoy your Hajj or Umrah experience even more.
What do I need to buy in Makkah?
Shopping for gifts for loved ones back home is a major aspect of Hajj or Umrah for many pilgrims. You may also need to include ihram clothing, sun protection and fragrance-free toiletries. Haircuts and shaving are other minor costs. You have a lot of flexibility in the “shopping” part of your budget – but careful, big shoppers may need to pay excess baggage fees on the flight home!
How much should I budget for food and drink?
Eating and drinking together should be one of the pleasures of a pilgrimage, so it’s worth budgeting a decent amount depending on the type of restaurants you enjoy. Hotel rates, particularly in more upscale hotels, often include a generous breakfast and you can also book half-board or even full-board package deals. Remember to include money for snacks and drinks, as the weather in Makkah is very hot and you will need to stay refueled and rehydrated while performing your rites.
How much does the sacrifice cost?
Unless it is included in your package, you must budget for one obligatory sacrifice while staying in Makkah. You can buy a sacrifice coupon in advance or in Makkah itself, with the cost depending on the type of animal you choose to be sacrificed. If you miss an obligatory rite, you’ll need to pay for another sacrifice to expiate for this.
What does WiFi and mobile internet cost in Saudi Arabia?
Calling, messaging and sending photos to friends and family back home – as well as keeping touch on social media – are part of the pleasure of a pilgrimage. Many good hotels now offer free WiFi and you can get great deals on prepaid SIM cards for your smartphone while traveling in Saudi Arabia.