Travel with Sadiyah: 6 tips to travelling as a Muslimah.
As salaamu alaykum! My name is Sadiyah, I’m originally from West Philadelphia, *cue Fresh Prince theme song,* but I spent the last year in London getting my masters in urban planning. I am passionate about city exploration and street art photography, and try to embark on adventures as often as I can! Thus far, I’ve been to 25 different states and 11 countries, many times travelling solo. After a few trial and errors with my travel experiences, here are some travel tips I’ve gathered along the way!
My general rule is that if I can’t carry my bags comfortably without help, then I need to downsize. I prefer to only carry a purse or bum bag and one small suitcase. In order to reduce the amount of clothing I pack, I limit myself to one color palette of clothing – typically all black so I only have to bring one pair of shoes. If I want to feel *~fancy~* and switch it up, I might bring a colorful hijab. Packing light also ensures that you will have space in your carry-on for any souvenirs you may pick up on your travels.
This is what works for me, but of course, travel with whatever clothing or items that make you feel most comfortable and confident!
2. Never check a bag!
That is, if you can help it! This way, you avoid dealing with the hassle of lost luggage. I have had a few experiences where my luggage has been lost or delayed, and I’ve been without clothes for one or two days. There is nothing worse than having to scramble for a new wardrobe in a foreign city. In order to avoid these types of situations, it is best to take a carry-on – it also helps you to save time in the airport because you don’t have to wait around for your bag, which can take ages!
3. Have a schedule but be open to changes – the best experiences are often unplanned!
I am a neurotic planner by nature – I like to have a schedule that accounts for almost every hour of my day. This became a problem while travelling because sometimes I would be so worried about making sure I followed my schedule, that I wasn’t genuinely enjoying the destination! A vacation is supposed to be a stress-free holiday. Once I decided that my scheduling was no longer “bringing me joy” (shoutout to Marie Kondo) I got rid of the idea.
I recently travelled to Cuba, where I had no phone reception or wifi. I was forced to rely solely on a physical map and the kindness of strangers to direct me to where I wanted to go. Instead of depending on a pre-made plan, I simply wandered without a goal, and ultimately ended up finding a really beautiful masjid and connecting with a few Cuban muslim sisters! It was a wonderful experience and truly helped me to see the beauty behind simply going with the flow instead of trying to plan every detail.
4. Walk instead of uber if possible!
If you are going to a place that is pedestrian-friendly, safe for foreigners, and the weather is nice, I would suggest walking around the city to truly learn about the place that you are visiting! I’ve found that walking 1. Saves money, and 2. Also allows you to see more of a place than you can adequately see from the back of an uber.Before you arrive at your destination, check to see if there are free neighborhood walking tours available! This is a fun way to connect with other travellers and learn new things about the city you are travelling to. Walking is also a great way to get exercise, so you can eat all of the fancy foods and desserts in your locale guilt-free! If you do end up taking uber, ask your uber driver for local recommendations, as they are usually quite familiar with the city they’re driving in!
5. Stay in a place with a kitchenette
I enjoy staying in AirBnb’s rather than hotels because they are cheaper and typically provide a more authentic, culturally relevant experience. AirBnb’s also provide kitchen access, so you can make your own meals and save money! Normally I like to buy groceries and make my own breakfast and lunch, which leaves me with more money to splurge on a nice dinner outing. I am definitely about saving my #coins as much as possible!
6. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times!
If you are travelling alone or with a group of friends, it is important to keep your family back home notified of your whereabouts! You don’t have to be in constant contact, but at least a daily text with a summary of your plans – this helps to put your family at ease and make sure that you are safe while on your journey!
My last tip:
Be open to new experiences. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Take a kids-sized prayer rug with you – easy to fit in your purse if you have to pray while out! Stay hydrated and take vitamins – travel can be a tiring or stressful experience, especially if it’s a long journey! Make sure you are healthy so you can fully enjoy your time away! But most of all, enjoy your trip! You deserve the break!
If you’d like to see more of my travel adventures, you can follow me on instagram: @quesadiyah