The Holy Month is set to start any day now, and while we may be familiar with the traditions held in the UAE, it’s important to educate yourself on being a smart traveller and what to expect while travelling during Ramadan. Here are our top tips for travelling during Ramadan.
1. Understanding Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar and every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast. The Holy Month is a month to observe self discipline and sacrifice and focus your attention to Allah. This means that in Dubai and across the GCC and most countries throughout the Middle East, including Turkey, will be observing the Holy Month. To ensure you are respectful of local customers, it is recommended during the Holy Month to dress conservatively (that is covering the shoulders and knees) as well as obtaining from playing music as well as eating and drinking in public.
2. Plan your day
While business will run as usual at FCM, many businesses will be running on skeleton staff - make sure you plan your business errands in advance to avoid any disappointment such as shorter than normal office hours. While travelling throughout the GCC, we recommend planning your daytime meals in advance. Most international hotels will serve food, however, you may not have the luxury of picking up food easily between business meetings so planning ahead is recommended.
Furthermore, while you may carry water and snacks with you throughout the region, refrain from consuming them in public; this is to both respect those who are fasting as well as adhere to local customs. We also recommend planning your trips to and from the airport carefully, according to the time of day. For example, many taxi drivers will be observing the Holy Month and it can sometimes become difficult to find taxis close to Iftar timing. Ask you travel coordinator in case you need additional support to organise transfers during Ramadan.
3. Breaking your fast while travelling
Most airlines in the Middle East will offer snack boxes to break your fast; Emirates airline distribute the special boxes in all cabin classes on select flights, including to and from destinations in the Gulf, as well as for Umrah groups travelling to Jeddah and Medina. When the sun goes down, the aircraft's captain will inform passengers of the Iftar time. Cabin crew on Middle Eastern airlines are familiar with the traditions of Ramadan should you require any special assistance.
4. Embrace local traditions
Ramadan is a special time in Muslim countries - the occasion of Iftar is celebrated at many international hotels that host Iftar tents. Taste the special drinks and sweets that are prepared specially for the Holy Month. It’s a joyous period to share with friends and family and there’s nothing like sharing Iftar while travelling with hospitable hosts looking to share in their wealth and happiness with you.
For more information on travelling during Ramadan speak to your travel coordinator.