Traveling while fasting can be tough, especially in these last few nights of Ramadan. Although Islam allows the traveling person an exception from fasting, no one wants to miss a day if they can help it. But don’t worry – I have the tips for you to easily maintain your fast while you travel.
This past week I travelled up north to visit my grandmother in Canada. Because my dad works for an airline, we fly standby and can often be stuck in the airport for hours on end while we wait for a flight with seats available. On this particular trip, we had no problem getting from point A to point B; it was the smoothest possible trip we could have had – other than the fact that we were fasting.
Fasting prohibits us from listening to music while we travel, chewing gum during takeoff so you don’t get clogged ears, and taking advantage of those delicious, complimentary drinks on the flights. Plus, because you’re on the go, rushing from one gate to the next, your mouth is dry. And if you’re driving, it’s almost harder since you have no music or coffee to keep yourself awake.
No worries, I have the perfect tips to help you stay consistent in your fasting while dealing with the hassle of traveling!
1. Time it out!
Since it is known when Ramadan will fall well ahead of time, you should be able to plan your trips accordingly. If it’s a short trip, time it so that you depart for your trip soon after fajr, so that you have the energy of suhoor carrying you through your flights. Or, if you rather you aren’t fasting while you travel, depart after iftar, though late night flights are hard to come by.
2. Plan ahead!
Plan your journey so that you aren’t unprepared. Unforeseen circumstances happen all the time – traffic jams, flight delays, etc. Keep emergency suhoor/iftar snacks on hand in case you are in transit when the fast breaks/begins.
Also, make sure you know the correct times for your fast to break/begin. You don’t need to abide by the same time as the place you departed or are arriving. As long as you see the sunset or sunrise while you’re traveling, you should abide by that. If the place you’re going to has unreasonably long fasts (Iceland has 20 hours of daylight during summers), go by the Saudi Arabian timing of Mecca.
Schedule your trips so that you have less hassle on the days you’re fasting. Plan a light itinerary – in other words, don’t schedule a hike on a day you know you won’t be able to drink or eat. And make sure you know where the nearest mosques are, to make it all the more easier for you to attend prayers.
3. Don’t fast if you can’t.
Believe it or not, this is the most important tip I can give you. In Surah al-Baqarah, Allah swt has said: “(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later,” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185]. This makes it clear that those who are ill or traveling are not required to fast.
In that same ayat, Allah swt goes on to say: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship,” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185]. So if you can’t fast while you travel, don’t push yourself, for certainly Allah swt only intends easiness for his people.
Those are all of the tips I have for you! If you have any questions or other tips I can add, please comment on this post!