When it comes to picking a tour operator, especially for Hajj and Umrah, it can be a tricky process – especially with a lot of negative light on some tour operators. People mainly rely on references from family and friends – word of mouth, but what makes a good tour operator?
Here are a few key points to identify a good tour operator, who can provide you with the experience and ease, when travelling.
1) Knowledge and experience
This is a key aspect one should always look out for – how much knowledge does your tour operator have, how much confidence are they giving you about your trip? It always helps to meet with the potential tour operator and see how they come across. Be confident to ask questions of the itinerary, hotel, tour, transportation and anything else you feel will help you understand your journey.
An operator may know about logistics of the trip (flights, transportation, accommodation etc), but an expertise or specialist within a specific type of tour is another kettle of fish, especially when it comes to Hajj and Umrah. Some operators out there believe it or not, have not performed Hajj or Umrah – it’s always a good idea to try and find out if they have. Having the knowledge is one thing, but putting it into action is another. An operator who has performed Hajj and Umrah, will know the ins and outs and will be able to guide you when performing the rituals.
3) Trustworthy/Good reputation
Always try and find out the kind of reputation an operator has. Perhaps read online reviews or get in touch with someone who has used them before. A part of this is ensuring the tour operator has an emphasis on following the Quran and Sunnah, especially as this journey is not like any other.
This is a spiritual journey, one that can have a profound effect on your life – for the good! As touched on previously, performing the rituals according the Prophet’s (pbuh) way is a must! Feel free to ask the operator questions about the rituals.
4) Dedicated tour guide
Ensure your operator has a dedicated tour guide or spiritual guide during your Hajj or Umrah trip. This is key and extremely beneficial for your journey.
5) Value for money
Value for money does not mean the cheapest price out there. As an individual you have to assess your situation and see what is the best for you. With Hajj and Umrah, there are many markets out there, from the budget/ low cost 3* packages to the premium 5* packages. The cheapest option is not always the best option. An example of this is what happened in Hajj 2014. We (Quba Travel) had our own group of pilgrims, but whilst we were in Mina we bumped into another group (who had booked with another operator) with no tour guides or religious guides. They were left stranded, they had no idea where to go and who to go to. At this point, you have to do what any decent human being would do and help the group out. We asked them to join our group and we pointed them towards the correct direction as much as we possibly could and ensured that they performed their Hajj accordingly. Similar stories are shared year in year out. An extra £100-150 can go a long way to making your spiritual journey a more pleasant one.
It goes without saying, always make sure the tour operator is ATOL licensed (minimum), this gives you the ease and peace of mind when traveling.
So, why Quba Travel? Simply because we strive to offer you a professional and friendly service, with the best possible options for you. Oh and of course the 6 points above are well and truly covered by us!