Thinking about Umrah with toddlers is quite exciting and frightening at the same time.
Last month Almighty gave us the chance to visit the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina with our two toddlers. I felt quite fortunate to be blessed with such great opportunity but at the same time, I was worried about tackling my little naughty ones on the trip.
Well, this is why I have a hand full of experienced mom traveler tips to make your Umrah with toddlers easy.
ID Cards Please!
Before going into the details let me notify you the most important tip. Whatever you do, wherever you go NEVER EVER forget to put a name tag along with a hotel card & direction map in your toddlers’ pocket or pin it up on his clothes. If you get the card in your home country then get it plastic coated and get a neck lanyard. Make your toddler wear it whenever you go out of the hotel.
Managing the trip on a budget, especially when you have toddlers along can be challenging. This doesn’t mean that more money means more comfort, rather better finance management will optimise your trip. Bearing this in mind, you should allot some money for buying toys. Yes, you read that right. Always remember, nothing can beat the excitement of new toys for small children which is why you need them to keep the kids busy and less distracting.
It’s not necessary that you always go for expensive toys, in situations like these, it’s better to buy cheap toys. They are compact, pocket-friendly and entertaining at the same time. I bought my kids little toys (made in China) on every trip to/from Haram Sharif, which made them feel gifted and focused instead of being a distraction during prayers.
Strollers and Chains
Caution! Don’t forget the stroller ever!
Yeah yeah, I know it’s not permitted inside Haram Sharif, but it surely is a blessing for walking to/from Haram Sharif. Plus it can serve as a shopping bag hanger at the same time.
Do not leave strollers unchained or unattended at any time, the house staff will swipe it away with the other things. Park them behind the women’s public toilet and near the entrance of Makkah Tower (the one with the huge clock). To be on the safe side use a chain to lock the stroller with the bathroom grills so that you can find it again in the same place. Unfortunately, we lost our kids’ stroller since it was not chained.
I suggest buying lightweight umbrella strollers, which are easy to handle during intercity or international traveling.
Use baby carriers on your Umrah with toddlers while doing Tawaf even if they can walk perfectly. It is the safest way for them to complete tawaf without getting lost or squashed.
Approach for Closer Hotels
Although hotels closer to Haram are expensive as compared to farther ones, they are costly for a reason. They save your time and hassle of traveling to and from Haram.
Anyhow, if you got the farther one, don’t worry. There are hotel shuttle services which pick and drop pilgrims from the hotel doorsteps to/from Haram Sharif.
Medicines and Multi-Vitamins
You know which medicines you and your toddlers might need in cases of upset stomach, fever, cold, cough or tiredness; pack them all safe and secure in a medicine pouch with the prescriptions (for airport checking).
Being a parent, I suggest taking some multivitamins for yourself to stay fit and energized for the trip throughout. Afterall, you are the caretaker of the family.
Avoid Rush Hours
Always opt for a time for Tawaf with toddlers which is least populated. An easy way to check the crowd situation is to keep your TV (in the hotel room) switched on and tuned to “Quran-e-Karim” channel. It broadcasts Haram Sharif live, so that you may know the right prayer timings and Mutaaf situation.
Divide your Umrah with toddlers into two parts with a short break in between; Tawaf and Sayi. I recommend taking turns especially during Tawaf, while your partner can attend the kids. This way you both can complete your Tawaf in a quick yet efficient manner, paying full attention to prayer rather than making efforts to shield your kids from getting stamped over.
In addition, toddlers will not be tired of being hung on your shoulders for a long time.
Then comes the second part SAI. It is usually easier as the kids enjoy running on the slopes of Safa and Marwah. But if you feel tired, Sai can also be done in turns.
Babies on Wheels
There are people who offer their service with wheelchairs. If you are tired by the time of Sai, you can pay them to carry your toddler or even you on wheels against nominal charges.
Comfortable Lightweight Shoes
Invest in good quality and lightweight shoes for the whole family. Because while performing Umrah with toddlers inside Haram, you have to carry your shoes in the bag. They should be lightweight so that apart from carrying your toddler, the shoes wouldn’t become an additional burden.
Soft & Comfortable Clothing for Toddlers
No matter how cute your toddler boys look in that white “Ahram”, you will have to change their clothes as soon as you reach Haram. Let’s be honest, they’re just little kids who can’t bear the distraction for long. This is why you might need to carry extra comfy clothes so that they don’t get irritated soon.
Mark a Meeting Point
Although being lost is very common in Haram Sharif, it is the most frustrating moment especially when you are with your kids.
Always decide where to meet after finishing tawaf/prayers to find your partner easily. Don’t use landmarks like shoe racks, bathrooms, Quran Sharif shelves, water coolers etc. There are thousands of them. Always go for obvious landmarks like Makkah Tower or the green light indicating Tawaf starting point.
Decide two places. In case you have to move away from the first place, go to the second decided mark.
Buy Two Mobile Sim Cards
It may sound doable and tempting enough to save money on buying one sim card instead of two, but do not compromise. Especially when you have toddlers along, you need to stay connected with your partner in cases of emergency.
Laundry Shops are for you
Toddlers and clean clothes? That’s an impossible combination. Since you cannot pack up the whole wardrobe in your luggage, consider laundry shops as your best friends. They are for you!
Pack-Up Essentials In a Sack Bag
Always go for a lightweight bag that could be hung in a cross manner or just like a backpack. Whatever you put in, don’t forget saving room for shoes; you will have to take them off at the Haram entrance. Therefore, carry only the essentials i.e.
- Feeder and powder milk
- Cell Phone
- Hotel card with its Map
You and your partner SHOULD carry two different bags. So that each one of you has at least one pair of shoes; In case you are lost you would have shoes and a hotel card to reach back safely.
Enjoying Umrah with toddlers is a unique and pleasurable experience. It is definitely not as scary as you may think. You will be surprised to see their reaction and affection towards the Holy places and the stories they bring back home from this trip.
I hope these little tips will make your Umrah with toddlers easy. Remember us in your prayers!
We would love to hear your experiences and stories in the comments below.
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