Welcome, prospective Hajji, to a unique journey. This journey is an invitation from your Lord to visit His House and engage in one of the most illustrious acts of worship. He picked you out of millions of people to travel across the world and ask for forgiveness in the best place on Earth. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to work on making your Hajj accepted by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He). This means that you fulfill all the requirements and avoid all the actions that nullify Hajj such that you come back home purified from all sins.
You’ve heard it before: Hajj is a beautiful journey. But this journey is a struggle. It is said the greatest physical struggle for a woman is to complete Hajj. Like any journey, being prepared in advance will help to maximize the experience and to deal with challenges. I compiled advice from different friends and experienced hajj veterans to help future Hajjis prepare physically, mentally and spiritually.
Hajj stories are very diverse—some have scary stories (don’t ask too much about the bathroom situation) while others have some hilarious moments or a few depressing encounters. Understand that every Hajj experience is different but the goal is the same. Please keep in mind that you will get advice from different people who have different goals and values. Take what you feel matches your own values. For instance: I like to prepare for things as much as I can in advance—therefore I will buy all the things I need in the U.S. instead of hunting down things last minute in Makkah/Madina. I also dislike waste and like to economize—so I prefer taking a few used items from family/friends instead of buying everything new. I also like to give away non-essential items to needy people in Mina. I prefer to use natural medicines before going to regular meds, however I made an exception during Hajj in order to minimize risks and because Hajj requires a lot of energy.
Overall, a balanced approach and positive attitude will be your best friends during this trip. The ingredients of a successful Hajj are preparation before the journey, extra patience during the trip, and sincere effort towards improving yourself after the journey. As you keep the following steps in mind, remember to continuously ask Allah (swt) to help you in the journey. He can make the difficult easy and without His help we are lost.