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Your Ultimate DIY Umrah Checklist: Step-by-Step Guide to Booking Your Umrah Journey

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Planning your Umrah pilgrimage can feel overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. Questions like, "What are the regulations?", "How do I perform the rituals?", "Can I travel with a minor as a mahram?", "Which hotel should I choose?", "What essential services do I need?", and "Are there accommodations for wheelchair pilgrims?" are common concerns. We get it! We've all been through these uncertainties until we embarked on our own Umrah journeys and guided many. That's precisely why we're here, ready to guide every step of your pilgrimage.

Delve into our flagship offering, the 'Umrah Journey Wizard,' a game-changer for your entire pilgrimage experience. This innovative booking engine doesn't just simplify your journey; it transforms it entirely. Whether it's booking flights, securing hotels, or meticulously handling every aspect of your trip, this booking engine empowers you to take charge of your pilgrimage from beginning to end. With complete control over your expenses, you can rest assured that your entire itinerary is securely stored in your member's profile.

What's more, we provide you with a wide range of competitive rates and numerous options, ensuring that your savings are maximized at every turn.

If you're still uncertain and prefer our expert assistance in crafting your complete journey, don't hesitate to reach out to us. For a service fee of $49.99 per person, in addition to the cost of the package and services, we will work closely with you to create your personalized Umrah experience.

Follow the checklist below to gain a comprehensive understanding of the DIY Umrah journey and take charge of your pilgrimage.

Additionally, it's important to note that there are times when Umrah is not permitted or policies change. Please become a member, so that we keep you updated on the latest updates.


Step 1: Book Flight (Refundable and Pay in 6 months with no interest option)

Use Travelexpro's flight search engine to find affordable flights. For added protection, consider refundable tickets. Our booking system offers a six-month, interest-free payment plan through a payment partner, or pay directly with your debit card to avoid credit card interest, against Islamic beliefs. The payment plan can help if you're on a tight budget or need more time to secure funds. Booking early can save you money, especially in low seasons such as summers after Hajj. We recommend performing Umrah between November and February but expect slightly higher ticket prices during this time.

Step 2: Book Hotel (Refundable and Pay in 6 months with no interest option)

Utilize our hotel search engine to locate accommodations within a 0.10-mile radius of the Kaaba in Makkah. If your budget allows, consider opting for a half-board hotel situated in the iconic clock tower. We are pleased to offer interest-free six-month payment plans through our secure payment gateway. Additionally, we recommend selecting a hotel with a cancellation option, just in case any visa-related issues arise during your planning process.

For those planning to visit or stay in Madinah, we suggest reserving a hotel within 0.5 miles of Prophet Muhammad's mosque to fully immerse yourself in this sacred site. Explore our 'Makkah and Madina Hotels Blog' for a comprehensive list of accommodations located within 0.10 miles of the Holy Kaaba or the Prophet's Mosque.

While it may be tempting to book accommodations further from these holy sites to save money, we strongly advise booking within walking distance of Alharam for the utmost convenience. Many pilgrims have found themselves sitting outside the mosque due to the challenges of going back and forth between their hotel and the sacred sites. Your pilgrimage experience will be greatly enhanced by staying close to these revered locations.

Step 3: Apply for E-Visa / Umrah Visa

Let's begin by highlighting the distinctions between the Umrah Visa and the Saudi Visit (Tourist) Visa. These differences primarily revolve around their intended purposes and the duration of stay they offer.

The Umrah Visa is exclusively designed for individuals seeking to undertake a religious pilgrimage known as Umrah, while the Tourist Visa caters to those with a desire to visit Saudi Arabia for tourism, leisure, or personal reasons. It's worth noting that individuals with a Tourist Visa can also perform Umrah during their stay. The Tourist Visa allows for a maximum stay of 90 days per trip and remains valid for one year. It tends to be a more cost-effective option with the freedom to explore more. In contrast, the Umrah Visa is typically issued for a 30-day duration and restricts travel to only Makkah and Madinah, prohibiting visits to other cities in Saudi Arabia.

As a U.S. citizen, you have the option to obtain an Umrah Visa. However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also offers an Umrah-specific version of the tourist visa, which is accessible to citizens of eligible countries, regardless of their religion, and is generally a simpler process to apply for. You can check your eligibility here.

In terms of Zamzam water and the Umrah Visa, it's important to note that Umrah Visa holders have the privilege of taking ZamZam water out of the country. This exclusive benefit is not extended to individuals holding a Saudi Visit (Tourist) e-visa. However, we have also heard from different sources that individuals returning from Madinah on Tourist visas were allowed to buy Zamzam at the airport. 

Ultimately, the choice between the Umrah Visa and the Tourist Visa depends on your specific purpose and preferences.

Generally, visa approvals take between 3-5 business days. However, please keep in mind that processing times can vary depending on the time of year and whether or not additional information is needed to complete your application. Be sure to have the following items on hand when applying: a scanned copy of your unexpired passport, a passport-size photograph, your resident card (if applicable), as well as your air and hotel booking information.

Step 4: Plan the Route of Your Trip

The next crucial step is to meticulously plan your trip and make all the necessary arrangements before your departure. If your Umrah journey includes a visit to Madinah, it's imperative to factor in transportation logistics and associated costs.

Traveling between Makkah and Madinah: Consider utilizing the Haramain high-speed train, which connects Makkah and Madinah seamlessly. This modern train service offers a convenient and efficient mode of transportation between the two holy cities. Opting for the train ensures a comfortable and time-saving journey, allowing you to dedicate more of your focus to your spiritual experience.

Airport to Hotel Transfers: When it comes to transfers from the airport to your hotel, there are several options available. While rental cars and airport taxis are readily accessible, we advise against using ride-sharing services like Uber. Language barriers can be a significant challenge, as many drivers primarily communicate in Arabic, making it difficult to convey your destination. Instead, we recommend stepping outside the airport, where you'll find numerous local drivers. For larger groups, private car podiums at the airport are an excellent choice. While they may be slightly more expensive than regular cabs, they offer exceptional service and well-maintained vans/cars.

It's important to note that as your departure date draws nearer, the cost of a Haramain train ride to or from Madinah tends to increase. To ensure a smooth and cost-effective experience, we encourage you to book in advance. We have a wide range of options tailored to meet your specific needs.

Step 5: Download Nusuk App: Book Umrah (Makkah) & Riyad-ul-Jannah visit (Medina)

No need to physically visit Madinah or Makkah to download the Nusuk app. Check compatibility with your phone provider beforehand. Screenshots of Nusuk Umrah reservations are recommended but not monitored by anyone. However, we have heard about cases where Pilgrims were asked to show Nusuk reservation before entering Al-haram.

Reserve Riyadul Jannah in advance as well. 

Each phone only allows one login. Take a screenshot in case of a phone malfunction. If no available time slots, keep checking.

Step 6: The Journey and Ihram Ritual

To be considered "Muhrem" for completing Umrah, the basic ritual of Ihram must be done, and it is recommended to read about Umrah and its rituals beforehand. Both genders undergo Ihram, but men have specific dress code rules. Ihram can be initiated at one of the five "Miqats," airports, or even on a flight. Alternatively, Ayesha Mosque provides an option for those who missed or wish to perform multiple Umrahs. Personal hygiene should be taken care of before pronouncing the intention for Umrah, as hair and nails cannot be cut during the rituals.

Step 7: Arriving in Makkah

Upon arrival in Jeddah, travel directly to Makkah via the Haramain train, which takes approximately 45 minutes.

If the train station is too far from your terminal, a cab can bring you to your Makkah destination or meet with a pre-booked driver. Use WhatsApp to communicate with most drivers.

After checking into your hotel, immediately proceed to Masjid-al-haram for Umrah since you are in Ihram. Before leaving, perform Wudhu and preferably Ghusul. Remember where the mosque entrance is to navigate your way back to the hotel.

Step 8: Perform Umrah Immediately

Sharing a short video with you that explains how an Umrah is performed. We also have guides and many other online resources. Watch them so that you feel prepared. If you decide to hire an Umrah Guide then he will walk you through each step.

Travel Insights

Shopping: Remember to avoid bargaining in a state of Ihram in Makkah and wait until after Tahalul (cutting of hair after Umrah) to begin shopping. Shopping in Makkah offers a chance to purchase unique Islamic products while also exploring the holy city.

Waqf King Abdul Aziz Mall offers a comprehensive shopping experience, featuring everything from a small Karak tea stall located outside the mall near Ajyad gate to prayer rugs in a variety of colors and sizes, small souvenirs, magnets, traditional garments for all age groups, and even incense (Bukhur). The sellers at this mall were particularly open to bargaining and engaging in friendly conversation.

If you have Madinah on your plan then do shopping there. If you are looking for where to shop in Madinah, there are several options available. One of the most popular shopping destinations in the city is the central market, also known as the Souq Al-Alawi. Here, you can find a wide range of products such as perfumes, dates, traditional clothing, and Islamic souvenirs.

Another popular shopping destination in Madinah is the Dates Market, which is located near the Prophet's Mosque. As the name suggests, this market specializes in selling dates in various varieties and flavors.

Additionally, there are several shopping malls in Madinah, including the Al Noor Mall, which offers an extensive range of products from local and international brands. The Taiba Commercial Center is also worth visiting for its unique collection of Islamic products.

Food Options

While there are a few popular food joints in Makkah like Al Romansiah, ALBAIK, and Al Tazaj, the best specialty restaurants are usually found away from Al-Haram. You can find some great Saudi, Yemeni, Egyptian, and other cuisine options in nearby areas. However, we will recommend going for Half-board (Breakfast and Dinner) as this will save you time and is convenience and let you focus more on 'ibaada'.

Beware of Fraudsters in Makkah

Sad but true!

Fraudsters in Makkah are a common sight. These individuals tell stories and ask for money and food, preying on the kindness of people who have come to the Holy City for pilgrimage. Their target demographic is often people from other countries who are unfamiliar with the environment and customs of Makkah.

These scammers have a group of tried and tested stories that they use to extract money and food from pilgrims. One common story is that they are from an impoverished family and have come to Makkah with the hope of performing Umrah. However, they did not have enough money, and now they are stranded with no food or shelter. They then ask for money, or even food, to help them survive.

Another common story is that they are handicapped or sick and need money for medical treatment or surgery. They play on the emotions of people and ask for pity to get the money they need. In some cases, they even carry fake medical reports to support their claims.

Unfortunately, such fraudsters exist even in Allah's house. It is sad that people use religion as a means to scam others. Despite their manipulative tactics, you shouldn't feel guilty for denying their requests. In Islam, we are encouraged to give to those in need, but we are also advised to be cautious about who we give to and how much we give.

If you encounter such scammers, it is essential to be vigilant and verify their story before giving them any money or food. You can do this by asking questions and seeking out additional information. You can also seek help from officials or security personnel if you suspect that you are being scammed.


Ziyarat, or visiting religious landmarks and sites, is an important aspect of Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah. Browse through this list of ziyarat in Makkah and Medina and plan your journey accordingly.


In addition to the above-mentioned items, it is also essential to pack necessary medications, travel documents, and sufficient cash or credit cards for expenses during the trip. It is recommended to carry a backpack or a small carry-on to store these essential items while traveling between different holy sites.

Moreover, it is important to keep in mind the weather conditions during the Umrah journey, as temperatures can vary depending on the time of the year. It is recommended to pack appropriate clothing according to the season, along with a jacket or sweater for the cooler nights.

Lastly, it is important to pack a positive attitude and an open mind, as the journey of Umrah is a spiritual experience that requires patience, respect, and humility. With the right preparation and mindset, the journey of Umrah can be a life-changing experience that one can cherish for a lifetime.


Travelexpro understands the vital role that comfort and convenience play in making an Umrah journey memorable. Our comprehensive Umrah Journey Wizard caters to every aspect of our client's travel needs, ensuring an enjoyable and stress-free experience. Reach out to us to explore our custom Umrah packages, travel accessories, and other products that guarantee a smooth journey.

Our commitment to providing a personalized Umrah experience that aligns with your unique preferences is unmatched. Our team upholds the values of patience, kindness, and respect to ensure a seamless and hassle-free execution of your Umrah trip.

At Travelexpro, we seek to make your Umrah journey a truly unforgettable and enriching experience. Let us help you shape your dream of performing Umrah into a reality.


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