Date: 09 Apr 2019

Staying safe is an important part of your Umrah Pilgrimage. With recent news breaking about pilgrims smuggling illegal narcotics there is a renewed interest in the authorities stepping up airport security and being more diligent about catching pilgrims bringing items in our out of Mecca that they shouldn’t – whether they meant to or not.

So, what are some simple things that every pilgrim should check before entering or leaving King Abdulaziz airport.

Double check banned items

Every airline provides a list of banned items and substances that cannot be taken through airport security. As well as following this, it is vital to understand what is and is not allowed in the KAA airport.

This includes:

- Alcohol-containing or flavoured items such as sweets, cooking wine or distillation equipment

- Radio equipment such as walkie-talkies and similar products.

- Games that could be used for gambling or contain cards and dice.

- Any books or articles that could be judged as being politically insensitive.

Any medications such as insulin or epi-pens for allergies need to be accompanied by a doctor’s note, which you should have a copy of on hand <i>at all times</i>. If you are in doubt about what is legal and what is not, always double-check the information with your local embassy or contact them via phone and email to confirm your queries.

Remembering your souvenirs

It I only natural for every pilgrim to want to share a bit of their umrah experience with their friends at home. However, it is crucially important to take the time to check what is and is not allowed as part of your umrah packing.

Current rules state that you are not allowed to bring more than five litres of Zamzam water for friends and family. While this can often be an innocent mistake, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and have your group check that there is no violation.

Know the length of your visa

It is vitally important that you understand the permissions and limits of your visa. While this would not be intentional, extended stays due to illness or other complications run the risk of causing an issue. Always take the time to check who should contact who in the case of emergencies and ensure that the correct authorities are informed.

Understand emergency contacts (and carry duplicates)

When it comes to emergencies on your pilgrimage, knowing what to do and who to contact is essential. Alongside holding duplicate copies of essential information, all members of your group should know what to do in the case of an emergency. Thankfully, modern technology has caught up with this need and a range of smartphone apps are available to take the sting out of your travel and transport issues.