Traveling During Ramadan to Muslim Countries

Are you considering traveling during Ramadan, but aren’t sure regarding the sensitivities of it?

We’re here to tell you that it’s absolutely fine, if fact, it means that you’ll be able to join in on the traditions that come during the fasting period.

Firstly, what is Ramadan?

During Ramadan Muslims fast for Allah.

They abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and intimate relationships during daylight hours, breaking each day’s fast with Iftar at sunset. All but the elderly, sick, pregnant women and those who are traveling are expected to fast. Even children tend to take part.

Traveling during Ramadan
Traveling during Ramadan

What about traveling during Ramadan to Muslim countries?

There’s a few things to know about when traveling during Ramadan to Muslim countries.

Awareness

I think it is essential to ensure that if you are traveling to an Islamic country you are aware of whether or not it is Ramadan while you are there. Since Ramadan becomes 11 days earlier each year this may seem confusing, but in today’s world it is easy to check this online ahead of arriving.

Fasting

Generally it is not expected that non-Muslims fast during Ramadan. Fasting is tough though. I know how my mood deteriorates when I am hungry. In order to be sensitive to the local culture, it is a kindness on the part of travelers not to eat and drink openly during the day during Ramadan, by which I mean don’t walk down the street snacking or smoking. Every place differs and touristy places often still serve food and drink during the day in Ramadan.

In most Islamic countries, Muslim-run restaurants will remain closed during fasting hours. However, if cafes and restaurants are open then tourists should not feel bad patronizing them. Other countries, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, require everyone to fast in public.

Respect and modesty

Since it is a religious occasion, it is also respectful to wear modest clothing. It normally is anyway when you are in an Islamic country. Behaving extra respectfully towards religious symbols is advisable too, especially mosques, since Ramadan is a time to focus on prayer and reading the Koran.

Drums and dinner

This all sounds very limiting, but spending time in an Islamic country during Ramadan can also be very rewarding. Each evening at sunset when the fast is broken, people gather together for a meal, which is a very sociable occasion and often very jolly, since by this stage of the day people are hungry. Different countries signal Iftar in different ways. When I lived in Turkey a young boy was sent around the neighborhood at sunset, banging a drum to indicate that people could eat.

Avoiding traveling during Ramadan is unnecessary. It is a situation however, where awareness and sensitivity go a long way.

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Traveling to Egypt During Ramadan

Traveling to Egypt during Ramadan can be an exciting time to experience a unique aspect and flavour of the culture. Nowhere in the world is it celebrated with such vitality and exuberance as in Egypt.

Traveling to Egypt During Ramadan

The Islamic (lunar) month of Ramadan moves backwards against the Gregorian calendar by around 10 days each year. This year (2010), Ramadan falls from Wed., August 11th (+/- a day) and will continue for 30 days until Fri., September 10th. All Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan — no eating, drinking or smoking. Working days are made shorter to ensure everyone can get home in time to break their fast with family and friends.

Traveling to Egypt During Ramadan
Traveling to Egypt During Ramadan

What to expect during Ramadan in Egypt

The dynamics of everyday life change during Ramadan. Shops close their doors about two hours prior to sunset and for another two hours after sunset, only to re-open and remain open until way past midnight. It is a time of evening living for Egyptians, with shops and coffee houses open late at night as people eat and drink into the quiet morning hours. Hotels and restaurants throughout the city hold special promotions and shows for “Iftar” (the fast-breaking meal at sunset) and “Sohour” (the pre-dawn meal taken before fasting must begin again at dawn).

Unlike some other Muslim countries, foreigners in Egypt are still allowed to drink alcohol during Ramadan and can also enjoy restaurants, bars and nightlife as normal. And since about 10 percent of Egypt’s population is Christian, many places still serve food and drink during daylight hours, as well. This makes traveling to Egypt during Ramadan even easier!

Ramadan festivities in Egypt

At night, you will discover streets decked with festive decorations and coloured lights, particularly around traditional areas such as El-Hussein Mosque, next to the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar. Lanterns, or “Fawanis,” hang from every doorway, a tradition that began during the time of the Fatimids around a thousand years ago. At that time, lanterns were used to light the way for processions to observe the crescent moon, which marks the beginning of Ramadan, and to announce the start of each day’s fast when the candles in the lanterns burned out at dawn. Nowadays, lanterns have become part of the everyday iconography of Ramadan in Egypt, in much the same way that the Christmas tree symbolizes Christmas in the West.

The Egyptian tradition of elaborate Ramadan feasting and street entertainment at night is thought to have begun sometime in the Eighth Century, when a “Mesaharati” would walk around each neighbourhood. Their job was to wake up the residents in time for Sohour by banging a drum. Later, the role of the Mesaharati would expand to include reciting prayers, singing and storytelling.

Today, the special tents set up around the cities for Ramadan have colourful shows and entertainment for much of the night. Some of these tents are very high-class, elaborate affairs, with plush cushioned furniture and large stages for the performers. They are an excellent way to experience traditional Arabic food and music. Also for the adventurous, it is a good opportunity to sample a bubbling water-pipe or “sheesha” filled with aromatic sweet tobacco.

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Girl use laptop on the beach

Tips for Working Remotely While Traveling the World

 

Being able to work wherever you want and travel the world sounds like a dream to most people.

Usually, you’re either able to do one or the other – rarely both. However, it has become an increasingly attractive concept that many people wish to make a reality.

Whether you are a novice at remote working on-the-go, or you’re a seasoned traveler who still makes a living while traveling, we’ve compiled expert advice for all those who wish to be successful in this arena. 5 Tips for traveling.

5 Tips for Working Remotely While Traveling the World

1. Figure Out Your Working Style

Knowing how, when, and where you’re most productive is essential in making the most of your time. Although traveling can offer a stunning atmosphere, it can also be a distraction.

If you know you work best indoors, without the buzz of others around you, during daylight hours, work then. Are you more of a night owl but prefer to have your toes in the sand while working? Fantastic. There is no right or wrong work environment, only an environment that works for you. Find it, and you’re golden.

2. Plan for Your Internet Connection

Working remotely can be challenging while traveling, especially when your most important tool to work is removed. These days, an internet connection is vital to any freelancer or company-employed individual. It is simply the only way to get any work done, period.

If you know your destination ahead of time, check out the Wi-Fi situation in your nearby hotel or café. Many countries now offer internet cafes specifically for the purpose of working individuals. Also consider going to the local library for computer and internet services. Depending on your work situation and travel destination, it might be better for you to purchase a pre-paid reliable hotspot (like skyroam) for a quality internet connection.

These options might be foreign and cost a little money, but it’ll be well worth it to afford your traveling lifestyle.

3. Invest in Quality Travel Electronics

Research the countries where you’re traveling to know what specific travel adapters you need for the outlets. As a rule of thumb, most European outlets are the same (excluding Great Britain), and a lot of Asian countries have similar outlets. Take at least one spare adapter with you before you leave, and it wouldn’t hurt for you to buy a portable charging bank as well.

If you would like to create better ambiance for your travels, purchase some quality headphones or earbuds – they not only drown out excess noise, but they also upgrade your entertainment experiences.

4. Communication Skills Are Key

Although you will be on-the-go (or on an island) most days, it’s still very important to stay in touch with your coworkers and managers. Prepare your communication methods ahead of time so that you can avoid technical mishaps or general misunderstandings when you arrive to your travel destination. Most companies employ the use of video chats and conference calls at least once per week in order for everyone to stay updated on important information.

Some employers may want to err on the side of caution and enforce strict procedures for communication, or they might mandate you make physical appearances at least a few times per year. If you are bound by constricting rules, it might take away the joy of your scenic view. However, your best response is to be flexible and available whenever possible since they are being flexible with your location as well.

5. Always Have a Backup Plan

There will be a day where it’s impossible to find an internet connection, you miss your taxi, you lose an import work file, or your electronic accessories stop working altogether. Count on it.

“Have a backup plan for your backup plan,” HR Director Charlene J. Robinson of Resumes Planet. “When you’re traveling, anything can go wrong. It’s critical to have options when something does happen, such as technical issues during a conference video chat.”

These experiences are tough to swallow, but they sting much less if you prepare for the worst. If you can’t connect to the internet, carry a notebook and pen with you; jot down your most pressing concerns and ideas for the next time you communicate with your staff. If other technical issues arise, plan for an alternative way to chat online – email, Skype, or another messaging platform.

6. House Sitting – Consider different accommodation options

Why not to try to reduce costs and still enjoy a different culture? There are house owners who are looking for reliable house sitters. Like that you can work remotely and explore the world. We have a complete article about house sitting for you here.

It’s a great alternative, which not many have on their radar when they want to travel and see the world. Like that you have a proper base and all the conveniences of “home”. You can explore a region in more detail, as you stay longer in one destination, before heading to the next spot.

Some Final Thoughts

Working remotely while traveling can be an enriching experience for many people. Keep in mind these main concerns before you begin your travel journeys indefinitely in order to best prepare yourself for any obstacles that can occur on the road.

With the quality products mentioned, along with the highlighted personality traits, you will undoubtedly be successful during your remote working endeavors.