We are living in a world where endless attention is given to what a person is wearing. Your attire is used to judge your social status, and even mental caliber. Such judgments keep hijabi women away from traveling.
Women who want to cover their body when they go about traveling the world have to face multiple issues. When hijabis decide to travel without compromising on their religious choices, they are faced with daunting stares, criticism, and complications. However, those covering women who are comfortable in their skin reveal that things are not as bad anymore although you must understand your skin tone to choose the right hijab. The portrayal of hijabi women being exposed to troubles is a rarity nowadays.
Here are some valuable travel tips that my travel experiences as a hijabi have brought to me:
1. Avoid preconceived biases:
If you harbor biases and judgments regarding people even before you get to know them, you will never be able to build a positive attitude towards them. Just like you harbor apprehensive behavior towards them, they will mirror the same and keep a distance from you.
Thanks to the massive propaganda of mass media, wearing a hijab poses you as a religious zealot; on the top of that, if you don’t portray a friendly behavior, everyone will get repelled from you. It is also recommended to read beforehand about the culture, norms, expected behavior and interpretation of body language before you head off to somewhere new.
If you are headed to a place where your hijab might offend people, you can consider wearing a hat or hoodie on top of your hijab to conceal it. In this way, you will be able to cover up without revealing your hijab.
2. Be ready to talk about religion:
When you are traveling wearing a hijab, you portray yourself as a practicing Muslim; onlookers automatically assume that you have knowledge about the belief you are practicing. So, when you strike up a conversation with someone, it is most likely that at some point, your conversation will lead towards religion.
It is imperative to remember that not everyone will be genuinely interested or curious; some people might harbor some hidden agenda whereby they want to humiliate you or embarrass you. Be ready for any situation when talking about religion. If the conversation becomes heated at any point, it is best to divert it to some lighter topic or close the conversation altogether.
If someone wants to know about your religion or why you cover your head, do not adopt a preaching tone. Keep the talk natural and light. Let them know what you think and believe just like you would usually talk to a friend.
If someone asks you about your hijab, way of life or anything else, do not be hesitant or turn a cold shoulder. Be willing and open to talk about it. If someone appears to be provoking you, it is your obligation to reply in a polite way.
3. Use plain hijabs for traveling:
Instead of carrying hijabs that are specific for one dress, carry plain hijabs of neutral color tones that you can wear with any dress. Do not overburden your luggage with a lot of hijabs. Hijab colors like brown, grey, white or black will go perfectly with any attire.
If you use pinless hijabs from Bokitta, you do not need to worry about fixing the pins to keep the hijab in place. The material and texture of these hijabs is absolutely lovable.
4. Be open to new experiences:
If you feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar places, then you should rather stay at home. What’s the point of traveling if you are not ready to embrace new experiences. Be tolerant and patient when things don’t go as expected.
At a new place, everything would be different. Even the things that seem similar at first sight, maybe done differently. Be ready to try new things to add to your experience.
5. Everyone will know you are a Muslim:
While it acts as a good thing in most situation, but you also bear the responsibility of acting as a good Muslim. During your travel, you act as a representative of your religion. Put your best behavior on show and radiate positive energy wherever you go.
If you offer a warm smile to everyone who makes eye contact, 80% of the times, that person will smile back as well. This leaves 20% of the people who will not reciprocate your kind smile or positive response. It may not be necessary because of your hijab; there can be a million other reasons.
With these travel tips, you are all set to explore the world as a hijabi.