Most of us shall go to Umrah via package that are being catered by the travel agency.
In Malaysia we have lots of travel agent that can cater for the Umrah service but you must check whether they are reliable or not and what kind of services are they providing.
Examples of activities that are normally included in the agency services are:
- Arrangement if getting the Umrah visa
- Flight arrangement
- Prepares the itinerary while in Makkah and Madinah
- Prepares the ‘mutawwif’ so that the Jemaah won’t be loss there
- Prepares the food
- Prepares transportation/logistics
- Prepares Umrah courses
If money is not your issue, we would suggest you book Umrah that can give you maximum satisfaction and normally the price is between RM 9,000 to RM 12,000 per person. This package will provide you with the nearest hotel which is on 50m in Makkah and around 80-100m in Madinah.
Bear in mind that the price of the hotel differs by the distance. The further the hotel from the mosque, the cheaper it will be.
Anyways, we are listing 12 tips for your consideration.
- Survey the package price
If we google, we can get Umrah package as cheap as RM 3,000 and as expensive as RM 12,000 or beyond. On average, the package is around RM 5,500 to RM 6,800.
Our suggestion is, please get a few quotations (at least 5). Do ask what is provided and not just look at the cheap price only. Better get all the issue being covered in Malaysia rather than in Makkah as you don’t want to be swearing there.
One trick that the agents will use in Makkah and Madinah is:
“ this is a test by Allah.”
Whenever there is issue, they will say that Allah is testing. By saying that, they tend to avoid any misunderstanding from the pilgrims.
Umrah package can be high during peak season such as Ramadhan and school holidays.
- Don’t fall for the ‘freebies’
We Malaysian loves the freebies. Well, who doesn’t right?
Normally, the agency will offer free ‘travellers luggage bag’, ‘small bag’, ‘pouch’, ‘zamzam 10 liter’, ‘telekung’, ‘ihram’ and many more. For you who doesn’t know, all this is already inclusive in the agency price that you pay them.
Technically all agents provide the same ‘freebies’.
So these freebies do not guarantee whether the agent is good or bad.
Make a wise decision instead of falling for the freebies.
- Number of days in the package
At present, most agents provide 10 – 12 days and the fee is around RM 5,800 to RM 6,500.
Not every agent provides the same number of days. Therefore, you need to check on this to ensure you are spending at least 1 Jumaat in Makkah and 1 more Jumaat in Madinah of possible. Or if you can get to Jumaat in Makkah is already a big bonus.
- The condition of hotel in Makkah and Madinah
The first question we always asked our customer if they are going to Makkah is:
“How was is the hotel from Masjid.”
“What is the price you are paying”
From this 2 questions, we can know if they are getting it right or not.
For example, if you are staying at 300m away from Masjid in Makkah, you better check what kind of hotel is that. Is it located on top of a hill or on flatland. Reason is, you don’t want to lose energy when climbing the hotel. It will be even troublesome if you bring parents who are weak.
Hotels are being charged based on the distance. The closer it is to the masjid, the more expensive it will be.
It is the time factor that is being factored in.
Besides the location of the hotel, the price of hotel is also based on the number of pax in the room. It can be 2, 3, 4 and up to 6.
It also varies if you share room with strangers or staying with families.
So, planning is crucial in terms of hotel room as it can make the price differs.
- Method of payment
In order to avoid any hanky-panky, payment must be made to the company’s account number and not to personal account number.
Please also ensure that if there is additional payment needs to be make while performing the Umrah. You don’t want to be shocked with additional payment later.
Again – ask until you are assured of this.
- Which Airlines will be used
There are various airlines that can bring pilgrims to Umrah.
Among the famous one at the moment is MAS, Saudi Airlines and also AirAsia.
The best airlines is those who provides direct flight which is from Malaysia straight to Jeddah or Madinah.
If you take other airlines, perhaps there will be stopover which can eat up the number of days. Although the transit won’t be that long, you will need to ensure that your time is well spent at Makkah and Madinah instead of the flight alone.
- Service of Mutawif
If you are first timer, mutawif service is really crucial as they will be the one that will guide you over there. Some of the Umrah agents engage mutawif from Indonesia and students who are staying in Makkah and Madinah.
Some, they have local (Malaysian) mutawif who will fly together from Malaysia and come back together.
This is better as you will have someone to refer to if there is any query.
- How many times Umrah can be performed
This is one of the important thing for first timer.
Normally, an agent will provide 1 Umrah wajib and a few more Umrah sunat.
Reason you need to check is because, if the agent only provides one Umrah, thus you need to spend on your own for another Umrah. You will need to book your own van, taxi etc.
It is cheaper if you go to Tanaim and a bit costlier if you go to Jagrana.
So far, Andalusia is the best in terms of proving this services.
- Itinerary of package
Please get the copy of the itinerary of package in Makkah and Madinah.
From here you can see what places they will bring and whether is there any additional payment required.
- Is there Umrah courses provided
For first timer, it is wise to get a comprehensive course before you perform your Umrah.
You don’t want to go there as a first timer not knowing what to be done.
Normally if there is any course, it should be before you fly there. Besides that, there are also agents that brings an Ustaz for the Umrah trip and you can also learn while performing Umrah.