Topic-icon Important Q&A about the TROID Umrah Group

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 6 months ago #2356 by troid.org admin
Important Q&A about the TROID Umrah Group was created by troid.org admin
-Help, I'm nervous, I need to ask a human being some questions!!-

Breath, relax, smile...then call our info hotline: Br. Yusuf 1.647.882.2372
We have allocated one happy and friendly brother the task of answering your questions and putting your mind at ease!!


-Costs-

[Q]: How does the fee break down?

Your specially discounted group rate is arranged by our travel agent directly with the airlines and hotels. It is not a published rate but a discounted one. The rate is broken into three parts:

1. Airline/Hotel/Transit
2. Portion for TROID (Masjid al-Furqaan) - used to send 2 tour guides
3. Portion for the Dawrah organisers (Five Pillars UK)

There is no profit in the 20 person group. The purpose of this trip is to aid the Muslims in Canada to make umrah and meet and learn directly from the scholars

[Q]: How do I make payment?

The deposit deadline is due by Jan. 31st 2014. The payment is broken into two segments

1) a $500 deposit must be made to the travel agent by Jan 31st (Cash, debit, cheque) call 1.877.284.8642 (Khalid)
2) the remainder of the payment must be made by Mar. 28th 2014 as so:

2A $380 payable to TROID (Cash, Debit, Paypal [info--@--troid.ca remove dashes], Bank Deposit BMO)
2B Balance payable to travel agent (Cash, debit, cheque) call 1.877.284.8642 (Khalid)

See [Q]: How does the fee break down? above for an understanding of the payment breakdown.

[Q]: Can I arrange my own travel and hotel and join the Seminar?

No, a list of attendees with the Canadian group is submitted to the seminar organisers (Five Pillars). If you are not part of our travelling group, you will not be able to attend the seminar.

[Q]: Why is double occupancy more than quad?

Rooms have 4, 3, 2 or 1 bed accordingly. Hotels charge by occupant not room (unlike the West) in Saudi Arabia.

[Q]: What are the fees for me to bring an infant child?

This can be explained by our travel agent. Generally, there is a charge via the airline and no charge within the room (although no extra bed is provided)

[Q]: How much money should I take with me for spending cash to be on the safe-side?

It depends on how you roll! There is no set amount. We could say at min. $800 (12 days) + some accessible funds via your bank account (debit card). This is only a suggestion, we cannot be responsible if you run out of money! Budget before you leave based on what you can spend. In general, Western fast-food restaurants are marginally cheaper than the West (KFC etc.) but local Arab establishments are much cheaper. In Saudi Arabia, food and lifestyle is catered to the ultra poor and the ultra rich so there is a restaurant for everyone. In general though, you want to avoid places that appear unclean (use good judgement). Also, avoid 'street meat' (street vendors) at all costs! Never a good idea when travelling.

[Q]: Anything Specific I should buy considering the Saudi climate?

Saudi Arabia is a hot and arid place. Early May usually sees temperatures between 35-40 degrees. Madeenah is slightly cooler at night. Usually, there is no need for a coat of any type but due to the AC etc. it would be advised to bring a light jacket or hoodie. Since the climate is so dry, skin tends to crack so wearing socks or applying lotion will prevent this. Bring along your chapstick (from Winter) to prevent dry lips cracking. Makkah and Madeenah are very, very dry (low humidity). Areas on the coast (like Jeddah), although slightly cooler in temperate are much more humid (and uncomfortable). You will want to bring a koofee and generally keep your head covered from the sun. Dhuhr is extremely hot and moving around should be done in cars etc. not on foot (it can sap all the energy from you!). Sunset is consistently around 6:00-6:30PM year round.


-Flight-

[Q]: What is the flight path/stopover?

We are flying with Egypt Air via Jeddah.

- comfortable daytime departure
- minimal stopover in Cairo
- late evening return from Madeenah (savour the last day)
- entering via Jeddah, exiting via Madeenah (no tiring coach-ride 5hrs back to Jeddah)

MS 996 01MAY YYZCAI 1245 0505+1 02MAY
MS 661 02MAY CAIJED 0720 1030
MS 678 14MAY MEDCAI 2030 2120
MS 995 15MAY CAIYYZ 0155 0725

-Hotel-

[Q]: What are the Hotels for the Trip?

Makkah: Fairmont Clock Royal Tower (top-tier 5 Star)

www.fairmont.com/makkah/

Madeenah: al-'Aqeeq Hotel (4 Star)

- newly renovated, images pending

[Q]: Can i choose my roommates for the trip?

If you are travelling as a group of four (quad room) or a group of three (triple) or two (double), it should be easy to arrange a room for your party (families will be in their own room quad, triple or double). For those travelling alone, the hotels will randomly generate who goes in which room. You can arrange to swap with others (for language reasons etc.) however, we do not assume responsibility for this arrangement, it is up to travellers to switch rooms if they can find someone to switch with.

[Q]: Is there wifi in the hotel?

We believe (although we cannot confirm) that wifi is free in the Makkah hotel. The Madinah hotel, we cannot confirm at this point. Mobily offers travellers a phone and data package, if your phone is unlocked. It is quite cheap. Also, data sims for tablets can be bought. Ask for "Daqaa'iq Ma'a Gee Bee (Minutes and Data Gigabytes [smile])." Mobily is located in the plaza at the base of the Dar al-Tawḥīd Intercontinental hotel facing the masjid.


-Umrah-

[Q]: I'm sorry to say: I don't know how to make 'Umrah?

No need to be sorry. Most people do not know the rituals of 'Umrah until they make an intention to travel. The good news is its not a long or difficult task (al-Hamdulillaah). Not much discussion is needed on this page, click on this URL to learn about the rituals of 'Umrah and various connected rulings: www.troid.ca/index.php/ibaadah/hajj-and-...o-umrah-and-madeenah


-Social-

[Q]: Will there be other things going on?

Yes, in shaa' Allaah, there will be optional group events (for the Canadian group). Trips to Chinese restaurants, book shopping, thobe shopping, abaya shopping, museums, hijaamah, etc. Before travelling we will post an itinerary of social events each day. All of these social events are optional. You do not have to attend them. They are scheduled to make your trip enjoyable in shaa' Allaah. Join us, relax, enjoy, unwind, have fun!

[Q]: How are the customs in Saudi Arabia, anything I should know?

Saudis are generally very hospitable to foreigners. In fact, their kind manners may stand out compared to the ruggedness of the West. Like everywhere, you will find kind people and rough people. As a foreigner and a traveller, you are not expected to mesh with their culture and language exactly (nor do they expect this) but, there are some things which will make you feel at home and some things what will make you stick out like sore thumb:

- Sisters, do not wear blue or brown (not that this is impermissible), the culture in Saudi Arabia is black, you will draw attention with different colours, even if they are dark
- Sisters, the niqaab is the norm in Saudi Arabia, if you do not hold it to be obligatory, you still may prefer to wear it as it draws attention (when everyone else's face is covered)
- Brothers, do not wear short-sleeve thobes (believe it or not, this is loungwear or sleepwear in the Middle-East!) A trend in the West is to wear 'summer thobes' or an izaar. Again, its not impermissible of course, but people will find it strange (funny) like you went out in your pyjamas (no exaggeration)
- Brothers, Timberland boots and Thobes don't mix in Saudi Arabia, (besides its 40 degrees!) for them, this would be like someone in Canada wearing a Gucci suit with construction boots. Sandals work (dress sandals not Nike etc.) as do black dress shoes with dress socks (note: your feet may blister and dry if you are not accustomed to sandals, you may need to bring socks)
- Brothers, generally white is the colour worn in summer months in Saudi Arabia, Saudis tend to wear only Saudi-style thobes, colours are worn in the Winter. However, it is not a problem to wear clothing from other countries (UAE, Qatar, Pakistan etc.) it just depends how much you want to blend in with the crowd
- Brothers, Wearing Western clothing (i.e. shorts and t-shirt) when you have a beard confuses Saudis as they see Western clothing to be non-Islamic/non-Muslim, something to keep in mind (wear a thobe, blend in!)

Smile and be friendly, you will enjoy the manners and customs of the Saudis, again, they are usually very warm and friendly to Westerners

[Q]: I will be in Saudi Arabia, so I can trust everyone, right?

Always exhibit caution. Watch your children. Do not assume strangers are trustworthy. Do not assume someone attends an Islamic university, therefore he is upon the Sunnah etc. (hizbees try to hunt down travellers and pull them away from seminars with the scholars - happens each trip!!) Stay close with your group leaders, do not go off on an adventure, you will be in a foreign land.

[Q]: How's the food in Makkah/Madeenah?

It is mostly fast-food restaurants. What we advise is that you enjoy the wholesome buffet breakfast, grab some fruits and nuts (especially dates) from the markets for lunch and then you will only have to eat out for dinner. The hotels have good restaurants and are surprisingly cheap ($15 often can get you a hotel dinner). There are some good restaurants outside of the hotels but they require a cab ride, we will try to post some in shaa' Allaah.

[Q]: How Do I get a Taxi?

Flag one down! But Remember! Negotiate the price first, the cabs have meters but prices are much cheaper when negotiated. Taxi drivers sometimes dramatically overcharge so learn the going rates and negotiate. Taxis are much cheaper in the Middle East compared to Canada but you must settle the price first. Knowing some Arabic or Urdu/Bengali is very useful
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