I have received a lot of emails about Umrah and how can you make Umrah more affordable. Using agents is great but sometimes you just want the flexibility to be able to book your own package. So how do you do that and save money too?
If you are planning a do-it-yourself Umrah, there are certain steps you can follow to make sure your Umrah costs you less. Below are my favourite steps. I always plan when going for Umrah in order to maximize my benefits and keep costs down.
One of the reasons why people overpay is because they work on an impulse, or because they have a rough idea of when and where they wanted to go but didn’t look much further. One of the things I hear very often is ‘I will go next year insha’Allah’. They probably have an idea of the month but that’s about it. Then when March comes when they wanted to go they start looking for options and they realise everything is expensive and too much hassle. So they end up booking with an agent, which is understandable.
The most important plan on booking your DIY Umrah, especially if you want to have a cost effective option, is to start planning in advance. Start looking at how you can save money, how can you make your money work further for you. Are there any offers you can take advantage of. Are they any loyalty points you can collect to make it more affordable. This takes time but when you start early as lets say 6 months in advance then you will have enough time to go for very little money. You can download my planning pdf below to help you plan any holiday even Umrah.
Get Your Cashback
One of the best ways to save money is by using cashback sites. I know some countries may not have this option but if you do, take full advantage of the deals. Many times you can save hundreds of pounds by using these sites. If you are not familiar with what cashback sites are, have a look at one of the articles here. In essence, cashback sites give you a % of your purchase back if you visit via their link.
You can purchase your utilities, clothes, electrical goods, hotels and everything else from there too. In a year you can save on average as much as £300 or more depending on your shopping habits. This is enough for a flight to Jeddah. Now, when you save that money don’t waste it but put it into the “Umrah” jar, so you will have a free flight. That is money you would have spent anyway but by going via cashback sites you save it and use it for Umrah. I love the fact that you don’t even have to overspend.
Make Use Of the Sales
Many people don’t take advantage of the airlines and hotel sales. Sometimes they are not even aware they exist. However, they do and in today’s very competitive market there are ways to save some serious cash with them. Recently Etihad had 50% sales on their flights, Hilton had 30% off their hotel rooms and both these airlines actually are available for Umrah. So why do many people not take advantage of their sales? I am not sure, but the thing is it does save you money. With the recent sales, you could have saved £500 for a week’s stay in Hilton Makkah plus a flight with Etihad. That is not money to be scoffed.
These offers usually come around every quarter, starting from December and continuing throughout the year. You cannot imagine how many people email asking for deals just a day after a sale finished. I always say plan in advance and keep your options open.
One of the best ways to save money when going for Umrah is loyalty programs. I have saved £18,000 from my Umrah in the last 10 nights of Ramadan. That is a crazy amount of money that I would never spend on a holiday. But with loyalty programs it is possible. One of the things I love the most is the ‘easiness’ with which you can do it. I use the American express card to save points on my shopping and then use them for flights to Makkah. Taking advantage of IHG promotions is also a great way to save on hotels stays and it is this way I stayed in Medina for free, instead of paying £250 a night.
The problem is that many people believe that loyalty programs can be a scam and that they are there just to promote you things. We are bombarded with advertisements about them from high street stores to airlines. But if you know how to use them they are super beneficial. Have a look at my guide to Loyalty programs for a starter.
Read Next: The Ultimate Guide To Loyalty Programmes
One of the very expensive things when going for Umrah is transportation. As pilgrims, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to rent a car to Makkah and Medinah. I highly recommend you don’t even try driving. It’s nuts over there. But there are ways to save money. Instead of booking taxis to take you from Makkah to Medinah use the VIP SAPTCO coach. It is much cheaper at around £30 return. The VIP option has large seats, it’s air conditioned and most importantly safe. For your transport from Jeddah to Makkah, you can use an Uber, which costs about £50 and it is also safe and done through your phone’s app. If you want to cut down on cost try and see if you can find flights that arrive in Makkah and leave from Medinah. This way you don’t have to worry about return options and also saves you the 4-6 hours drive from Medinah to Jeddah.
If you haven’t used Uber before you can get £10 or your first trip for free when you sign up here.
Download: Your Umrah Transportation Guide
All the above tips can approximately save you £600 per couple, at least. That is not a small saving considering you can now have a very good Umrah for about £800 in a DIY manner. If you want to find out more tips and tricks for a DIY Umrah then make sure you check out my webinar on the 18th of September below. I will be sharing more there.