Travel and More

Here’s What It’s Like to Be a Hijabi Traveler

By:  Sarah Ghanem

Every hijabi traveler has sooner or later in her life faced the age-old question, “what it’s like to travel with your hijab?” I personally believe that traveling is the same for all women, a hijabi or not, it’s the people around us who make it different!

The Quirks of being a Hijabi

There is surely a lot of fear associated with travelling as I often see hijabis share their concerns on different forums as they prepare for a trip. I myself was 17 years old when I took my first solo trip to the USA and I was so scared and nervous that I took off my hijab as soon as I sat in the plane. I would always feel angry because of the unnecessary questions that the border agent would ask me and not the other passengers, only because I was the one in a hijab.

So as a hijabi, you pretty much always have to be prepared for anything when you’re on the go. When I learned about the hostile attacks and violence against women in hijab, I did feel concerned and immediately enrolled myself in a self defense class, out of fear of being attacked in a foreign land. Luckily, I haven’t faced such a situation (especially considering that I didn’t particularly do very well at this class), but it’s sad that a girl has to worry about such stuff when all she wants is to travel the world and have fun.

The Perks of being a Hijabi

But while this was one of the few daunting experiences, there have been tons of great ones too. My hijab has often been a good conversation starter and led to me making some great friends. Whenever I’m on the go in a foreign land and I see a fellow hijabi, we can’t help but share a smile and this gives me a great feeling inside that’s unexplainable.

Then there is the obvious advantage that I don’t have to worry about setting my hair and they also stay clean for longer. In certain countries or societies, I feel like I’m treated with more respect and dignity because of my modest clothing. When I was visiting Canada during a terribly cold winter, I felt thankful that my layered hijab would always keep me warm and comfortable. And, last but not the least, I feel like travelling as a hijabi has given me so much more exposure and confidence that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. 

Some Tips for my Fellow Hijabis

Over more than ten years of travelling, and visiting more than 50 different countries has surely taught me some great survival tips that you can find handy when travelling. For instance, when travelling to a place where you don’t find many hijabis and feeling uncomfortable, you can try to cover your hijab with a hat or hoodie, depending on the weather.

Travelling as a hijabi also means that you need more space when packing because of the extra stuff you keep. This includes your hijabs, layering pieces and since your outfits are modest even they take up more space as compared to a girl who’s packing sleeveless shirts and shorts. So it’s always a good thing to plan all your outfits beforehand.

I also suggest that you always keep a small shawl in your handbag as it can be used as a cover-up whenever you need one, whether it’s at the beach or in case of any emergency. Another important thing to keep in mind is to take at least one athleticwear hijab with you, especially if you’re an adventurous girl who enjoys outdoor activities like paragliding or skydiving. For such activities, a light sports capster is way more practical as you can never wear a complicated hijab or one with pins.

The world is a great place

So I would conclude that even though there are some struggles that only hijabi travelers can understand, there are also a number of perks that we enjoy. And surely no problem will ever be big enough to diminish our undying love for travelling, so go ahead and explore the world ladies, because it is a great place and you can’t let a few negative people ruin that experience for you! Happy travelling!

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