The following is a fairly comprehensive list of things you will need to take with you to make your journey and subsequent stay in Saudi Arabia safe, convenient, and relatively care-free. Since personal needs and preferences vary, you may want to make changes in this list to suit your own requirements.
Ihram – FOR MEN
The Ihram consists of two pieces of white, unsewn and; plain cloth, either 100% cotton or light terry-cloth. These are cool to wear and also provide for better absorption of the heavy perspiration you will inevitably experience during Hajj.
Gastrointestinal and respiratory infections are very common during Hajj. People from all over the world bring with them all kinds of infections, and the unavoidable closeness of the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims facilitates easy spread of these illnesses. Fatigue, and lack of sleep from the physically demanding regimen of Hajj rites as well as the over-enthusiastic exertions in prayers and devotions, lower one's immunity and resistance, thereby making one more vulnerable to disease.
However, you can take elementary precautions to minimize your chances of becoming ill, and also to ensure that you will get back on your feet faster should you get sick. Getting and staying in good physical shape by regular exercise prior to your departure is a good first step. You can also carry certain medicines with you for use later.
Carry a reasonable supply of over-the-counter drugs:
Pain killers such as aspirin, or paracetamol
Sleep-aids such as Tylenol PM
Pain relieving creams such as VOLTAREN GEL OR DEEP HEAT OINTMENT (for muscular pain)
Antidiarrheals such as Imodium
Emetrol (for nausea)
Cough drops, multivitamins, antibacterial creams and plaster dressings (for cuts) are also useful items to take with you.
It is important to carry a warning card if you suffer from diabetes or heart disease etc.
Keep valuables (documents, money, travellers’ checks, keys, credit cards, and so on) in the fanny pouch around your waist at all times. Do not ever leave your home without it. Be especially careful and wary in crowded places. Unfortunately, there are thieves and pickpockets even inside Al-Haram Ash-Shareef! Hold on to the pouch with your hand in crowds, while doing Tawaf or when visiting Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (The Prophet’s Mosque) in Madinah. Buy a good quality fanny belt or pouch. It is a small but very good investment.
Hard-case high-quality luggage with a built-in locking system is highly recommended. Do not use a soft, vinyl suitcase with outside hasps for locks. Both the suitcase as well as the locks can be easily cut and the contents stolen. Many people have the mistaken notion that every one in and around the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and Al-Haram Ash-Shareef is an Allah-fearing, devoted Muslim. Therefore, they feel immune from criminal activity. Unfortunately, that is just not true.
In spite of the severe punishments awarded to convicted criminals by Saudi authorities, crime does exist. Pickpockets and crooks find it easy to prey on unsuspecting pilgrims whose guard is down because of their preoccupation with Hajj activities.
Everything should be marked with your name. All luggage should be marked both inside and outside with Passport name, address, phone number, and country. Contents of luggage should be inventoried and kept in a safe place. (Also note brand, type, and color of luggage.)
Always keep your suitcase locked and do not ever leave money, important papers, or other valuables in it. Cleaning staff will periodically clean your residential room, and the best way to keep everyone honest is not to offer any temptation. Take two sets of keys for your suitcase. Keep one set in the waist pouch and the other in a separate, safe.
Saudi Arabia is a very hot part of the world most of the year. The presence of two to three million pilgrims during Hajj in rather congested spaces and with the inevitable pushing and shoving adds to the discomfort. The Hajj rites, ziyarat (visiting places of religious or historical interest), shopping, and so on require considerable walking and physical exertion. Consequently, light and airy clothes for street wear are the best.
Take enough changes of clothes to make your stay comfortable, but be careful not to overburden yourself with unnecessary items. In the hot Saudi Arabian weather, one set of clothes lasts only a day. Professional laundry facilities are available in Saudi Arabia, though coin-operated laundries are a rarity. Getting your clothes cleaned professionally is quite expensive, particularly as the prices tend to skyrocket during the Hajj season.
Some do-it-yourself light laundry may be necessary and is highly recommended. It is a good idea to pack some laundry detergent and wash your ihram garment and other light items yourself. You will have a considerable amount of spare time before and after Hajj. Use it for "housekeeping."
Depending on the time of the year, you may want to pack a light sweater for early morning wear in Madinah, which tends to be cool at that time of day in November and December.
YOU’RE BAG FOR THE 5 DAYS OF HAJJ
For the five days of Hajj, and travelling between Mina, Muzdalifa, `Arafat, back to Mina and Makkah, you will require a small to medium lightweight suitcase that is easy to carry. A backpack is ideal. Anything larger is going to be awkward for you to carry around. However, before packing, let's look at what you will be wearing for the five days of Hajj.
Ihram is easy for a woman. You will need to set aside one full set of clothing that will be your ihram. Keep this on the side.
Into your suitcase will go:
A second full set of clothing (underwear, pants, `abaya (loose fitting dress), hijab, socks, and so on). The emphasis on Hajj is to forget about your physical appearance, so extra clothing is unnecessary.
A light-weight sweater or a shawl that can double as a blanket for the cool nights in Muzdalifa.
A small hand towel.
An extra pair of slippers/sandals.
Unscented lotion or Vaseline.
A small umbrella: a light-collared one will reflect rather than absorb light
Tooth-brush, miswak and tooth-paste (although you can only use the latter after you come out of ihram). Snacks, such as energy bars, dried fruit and nuts. Refillable water bottles.
A spray bottle is indispensable for making wudu’ when getting to the taps is difficult in the crowd. Hajj manual, a small copy of the Qur’an and books with du`aa’, and so on. Check with your travel agent if they will be providing meals and blankets, otherwise you may need to take a sleeping bag/blankets and disposable plates.
An old sheet; which many sisters have found useful as a cover as well as for dividing a tent and creating a barrier from men should the need arise; Essential medication and a small first-aid kit containing Band-Aids, painkillers, and so on.
Toiletries such as deodorant for when you come out of ihram. Glasses, hearing aids, contact lenses
May Allah SWT accept your Hajj, give the best of rewards and make it easy for you. Ameen!