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Assalam alaykom! I am trying to gather some information regarding Umrah logistics when travelling from the USA. I have already gone for Hajj, alHamdolillah and am trying to arrange for a short trip to Makkah only for Umrah. For Hajj, of course, you have to go in a group so all logistics are arranged through them. But for Umrah, I would like to go individually (meaning, not with a caravan / group) and stay at a hotel that is right in front of the haram. (My parents recently stayed at Al Safwah - Royal Orchid? and it was super convenient for them.) Does anyone here have any experience travelling for Umrah on their own and can give any advice? I am a frequent traveller within the US, and so booking hotels, airfare etc is a piece of cake for me. It's the out of country part that has me a bit scared. :) Specifically, I am looking for the following information: 1) I know I have to get Umrah visa through a traveler agent. I went for hajj with Mohajerin, but cannot find any contact info (a U.S. phone #) to ask about their Umrah visa services. Any recommendations for a reliable agent who can get me visas? 2) How much should I expect to pay for processing fees for the Umrah visa (which is free) and what should I expect the travel agent to include in their services assuming I purchase airfare and book my own hotels? (P.S. Will be flying into Jeddah from Dubai to go to Makkah.) 3) What website or other method do you recommend I use to book hotel accomodations? My stay will be for 4-5 days in Mecca only, after which I will fly out of Saudi Arabia from Jeddah. I am thinking of staying at either Hilton Towers or Safwah Royal Orchid (sp?) as they are both really, really, really close to the Haram, but please feel free to recommend another hotel. The hotel must be within 0-3 minutes of walking distance (lol). 4) I am slightly confused about the Meqat situation: Flying in from Jeddah, is my Meqat Masjid Johfa even for Umrah? (My Marja is Ayatollah Sistani.) If Johfa is not my Meqat, then what is? (I am travelling from the US to Jeddah via Dubai) 5) What is the best way to reach the Meqat and then to Makkah and how much should I expect to pay for the fare? Please keep in mind I will be travelling with a disabled adult, so I'm looking for medium-fast to fastest route while not hurting my bank account TOO much. If you've read through this entire post, may Allah bless you and if you're posting a reply to me with helpful information or even with contact info of someone whom I can talk to, may Allah bless you 100x more!!!
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