So how do you define what halal travel means to you? You set the criteria that you are okay with, and then alter the places you dine in and reside in accordingly.
Some of that criteria for us include:
- having access to either halal or vegetarian meals
- making sure we are in an alcohol-free environment
- having at least one mosque that we can establish our prayers in
- staying in a place that allows privacy for women or Muslim couples
Note: Some people might go as far as to only fly through airlines that serve halal meals, or don’t serve alcohol on board. It all depends on your version of halal travel.
When we first started out, we felt halal traveling could best be done when we were in Muslim majority countries, because there we wouldn’t have to worry about our environment or what we were consuming.
The Muslim majority countries we felt best helped us live up to our needs were Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Maldives.
- Turkey was good because the food was fully halal. We also had access to several mosques, so we could pray in a mosque at any given time.
- Malaysia was great in terms of providing not just halal food, but also many halal options of American fast food which we miss out on while residing in the States.
- Bali was another place we realized we had a great halal experience. Though Bali is part of Muslim majority country Indonesia, it is a Hindu majority island, with almost 90% of the population being Balinese Hindus. This was an excellent experience for us in terms of navigating how to travel halal on a non-Muslim island. We came upon Muslims to guide us to where the halal hot spots were, and browsed some blogs online, as you are doing now.
- The Maldives, though it might not seem like it, is also a Muslim majority country, and is also a dry country. This means that they don’t serve alcohol on the main island, not even in their airport lounges, which is host to many non-Muslim travelers. Keep in mind, they do serve alcohol and pork whenever you visit a private resort. We were lucky at the resort we stayed at because everything was halal, but they kept some non-halal options to accommodate foreigners who weren’t Muslim. Also, the room they provided for us was on a more secluded part of the island, which was important to us as a Muslim couple.
After coming back from these countries, we realized we didn’t need to be in any particular Muslim country to travel halal.
There are several Halal Food and other apps and websites to make traveling easy for Muslims.
If you’re traveling to a destination and need a way to find halal food, you can try the ever-popular Zabihah app as well as the Crave Halal app. If you don’t have the apps installed, you can use the zabihah.com or cravehalal.com websites. We have found this to be incredibly helpful for us not just while traveling in the US, but also overseas. The cool thing about the Zabihah app is that you can also find prayer spaces and mosques close to you. Side note, if you’re looking for mosques that might not be reported on Zabihah, Google maps can be pretty useful. Just type “mosque” in the search bar and the ones that are closest to you will pop up.
Having private accommodations is important for Muslim Couples specifically and Muslim Travelers in general.
- For accommodations that allow more privacy for Muslim women and Muslim couples, I suggest choosing a private villa as your accommodation. You can choose to rent out the entire place to yourself so you don’t have to worry about anyone else invading your space. This was especially helpful for us in Bali, as we wanted to stay in a hotel with a private pool, but didn’t want to fork over hundreds of dollars. We were able to rent out an amazing villa with our own private pool, for a great price and tons of privacy.
- If you would like more service instead of staying at a place that might not have housekeeping and meals, there are also tons of Muslim-friendly hotels and resorts that you can find through halaltravels.com. I get emails from them regarding beautiful destinations that offer halal meals, alcohol-free environments, and separate pools for men and women, and many that offer tons of options for ladies’ privacy.
Looking back, we realized we had already done our fair share of halal traveling right here in North America. Canada and the USA were fairly easy to travel halal in, given the criteria that we set for ourselves. Based on those criteria, we expanded our halal travel destinations to include several countries in Europe. Some of these are Belgium, England, and Germany. England has many halal food options, including several halal fast food/casual dining options. Other countries in Europe, like Germany and Belgium, also have Doner Kebab and Turkish food (fully halal) readily available for consumption at nearly every corner.
All in all, it is quite easy to adjust your travel style with one that meets your religious requirements. How do you define halal travel?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments.