How to Travel in Ramadan

Experience Ramadan in countries that celebrate it can be an amazing and rewarding travel experience, even as a non-Muslim traveler. Gain more insight into its rich culture to gain more appreciation of this special month.

Travel etiquette during Ramadan requires not eating or drinking in public to show respect for Muslims who are fasting. Nonetheless, international hotels typically have designated eating areas where you can consume meals during daylight hours.

1. Be prepared

Ramadan marks a period of sustenance and togetherness for Muslims around the world, serving as an opportunity to practice all five pillars of Islam – declaration of faith (Shahada), prayer (Salat), charity (Zakat), fasting (fast) and pilgrimage (Hajj).

Ramadan celebrations vary according to country. Some areas have stringent laws regarding non-Muslims eating and drinking in public during daylight hours, and this may pose challenges when making travel plans during this time. If this applies to you, it would be prudent to plan trips at other times of year or choose destinations where Ramadan won’t have such an adverse impact.

However, some countries with large tourist industries or where Muslim visitors account for a significant portion of visitors continue business as usual during Ramadan – such as Morocco and Turkey where most facilities remain accessible to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Ramadan celebrations typically peak during its final few days as families and friends come together to mark the end of fasting with family, friends, food, drink and snacks stocked up for Iftar dinner which marks the break-fast meal each evening. Be sure to tip generously during these times – this helps support local restaurants and businesses during this special time!

2. Know your rights

During Ramadan, Muslims are required to abstain from eating or drinking publicly between sunrise and sunset unless traveling, pregnant/menstruating/menstruating period ending, elderly/ill. Muslims traveling should consult a religious authority or travel expert should they require guidance regarding fasting while travelling.

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Non-Muslims should observe Ramadan by refraining from eating and drinking in public spaces from dawn to dusk, especially during daytime hours (dawn to dusk). This is especially important in Muslim-majority countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE where failure to do so may result in fines being issued against you.

Even in more liberal countries, restraint should be exercised during Ramadan. Wear clothing appropriate to public places – no short skirts or tops that expose shoulders or midriff – avoid short skirts that expose too much skin and any display of affection in public. Homosexuality remains illegal or forbidden by most Muslim countries so avoid showing too much affection publicly during this month.

Turkey and Malaysia (especially larger cities) both boast large Muslim populations, making it possible for non-Muslim travellers to enjoy themselves during the day without offending anyone fasting; dining areas might be restricted or hidden behind curtains, and alcohol might only become available later in the evening. Furthermore, keep an ear out for Adhan, the call to prayer that’s sounded five times a day; though foreign travellers might find this challenging at first, many find its sound to be soothing and inspiring.

3. Respect local customs

Travel is always an enriching experience, but when visiting during Ramadan it is especially essential to respect its culture.

As part of Ramadan, it is customary for Muslim people to refrain from eating and drinking in public during daylight hours. Travellers must respect this tradition by refraining from indulging in food or beverage consumption while Muslim are present – this includes airplanes (though some airlines may provide meals during flights from or to Muslim countries during Ramadan), restaurants, public restrooms etc.

Dress modestly when visiting Muslim countries. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and legs; women could consider wearing hijab or abaya as part of this practice. In addition, learning simple phrases from the local language will show respect to locals as well as help navigate your way through more easily.

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As it is common for businesses and markets to close early during Ramadan so Muslims can make it home in time for iftar, it is wise to make reservations in advance at banks, restaurants and other establishments before going. Checking online beforehand also lets you know their operating hours – otherwise it could be hard finding one open or even getting a table!

4. Plan ahead

Those traveling during Ramadan should remember to be flexible. This is particularly pertinent for non-Muslim travelers as some restaurants and public transit may close early during the day or become congested before breaking of fast at iftar in the evenings. Furthermore, museums, attractions, or businesses may operate with reduced hours during this period.

Muslim culture dictates that at dawn Muslims consume a light meal called “sahur”, typically consisting of dates, yoghurt and water, to prepare their bodies for fasting. According to International SOS advice travellers should steer clear of foods high in fat and sugar during fasts as these will be more difficult for the body to process during fasts. If travelling somewhere where there may be limited options for foreigners in terms of food options for sahur meal consumption – for instance in countries without many restaurants or street food stands – then make sure you pack some snacks or breakfast bars just in case.

Emirates airlines provides special Iftar boxes onboard flights for purchase by all cabin classes. When the time for breaking fast approaches, passengers should ask cabin crew for help with preparation and eating of Iftar meals. Traveling during Ramadan can be an amazing experience for those willing to be open-minded while respecting local culture and traditions.

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