How to travel in style with a hijab

If you are new to wearing a hijab, or have not travelled much, it can be quite daunting for the first couple of times. The recent surge in Islamophobia in the west can make travelling, especially by air, a really difficult and often worrying experience for Muslims. Here, we take a look at some tips to help you enjoy your travels, when dressed in a hijab.

It’s important to feel comfortable when travelling, especially if you have a long journey. Chiffon hijabs work well as they are lightweight and comfortable to wear – this is good if you are travelling between two places which have very different climates too. If you’re taking a long-haul flight, travelling during the night can often be easier. This way, you can loosen your hair under the hijab, and also don’t have to worry so much about anything showing if it moves when you are resting – most other people will be asleep anyway and the lights will be dimmed. Wearing a jumper or top with a hood is also a good idea, as this can be used for extra coverage, whilst also keeping you comfortable.

The dry air inside the airplane can cause problems too, so it’s important to prepare before the flight. You might like to wash your hair and use some products which keep it hydrated, to prevent your hair and scalp from becoming uncomfortable under the hijab. You should also be sure to drink a lot of water before and during the flight, to ensure you are well-hydrated. This can help prevent headaches, and also keeps your skin healthy.

Some women like to pack a new hijab in their hand luggage, so it can be changed just before or after landing, to help them feel clean and fresh in their new destination. It’s a good idea to choose easy-care materials which are light, compact and don’t need ironing, so you can easily get changed and leave plenty room in your luggage for other things.

There are a few other items you can pack to make your trip easier and more comfortable too. It’s a good idea to take some clothing that can be used in layers, so you are ready for any weather. A cover-up can also make any outfit more modest. It’s also great if you can take an abaya to slip over your outfits at prayer times.

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Advice for a first-time traveler

I remember the first time I traveled abroad with a plane, it was such a stressful experience since I was all by myself. I had so many questions and not many answers. When I stepped into an airport for the first time it was just a big moving mass of people extremely preoccupied with getting where they need to. It is a very overwhelming experience so if you are about to travel abroad by yourself for the first time read on.  

Airport madness 

There are a couple of things you can do to make your airport experience smooth. First of all, arrive 2h early if you need to check your luggage in. Go straight to the check in counter as there might be a queue of people already. Make sure you have packed according to the rules and do not have any sharp objects that could get you into trouble at the airport.  

When walking through security don’t panic! There will be lots of people moving that way so just follow and if you need help the security staff will tell you what to do to get through the gate efficiently. When you get through definitely check the departure board to have an idea where to go to wait for the plane. And just keep occupied until the lift off! 

 Woman looking at airport flight information board 

What to bring? 

Don’t forget to exchange some foreign currency as there could always be some emergency when you land and need cash. I would also recommend getting an adaptor for the plugs in your home country because it will be too much as a hassle to get them when you land and you might need to charge your phone immediately. Keep in mind that some countries have different power voltage so make sure you know that beforehand and don’t fry your electrical appliances. 

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