8 Lessons I Learned Traveling in Hijab

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Hey fellow travelers, travel enthusiasts and simply those who love anything travel related.

I’m Rehnumah and here’s my story…the story of one Hijabi girl with a dream of traveling the world.

As a Muslim girl, I have always taken a keen interest in my religion. Not just practicing it but also attempting to make people see the truth behind what it means to be a Muslim. I take a lot of pride in my identity as someone who tries to practice this beautiful religion in the best way possible.

My Hijab is part of my identity, it makes me who I am, and it shapes me as a person. I don’t consider it a cloth on my head, rather something that determines my actions, my thoughts, the way I want to live my life.

When I first started traveling I never thought twice about the connection between my Hijab and traveling and the repercussions this could have. So, when I started traveling, I found it surprising when people asked me questions like:

  • “Is it difficult to travel to with your Hijab?”

  • “Do you face racism because of your Hijab?”

  • “Has anyone ever treated you differently because you wear the Hijab?”

This is why I wanted to share with fellow travelers 8 Lessons I Learned Traveling in Hijab.

1. Traveling in Hijab is not simple, but it is rewarding.

And gradually I began to realize that, no, traveling the world wearing a Hijab was never going to be simple. I could either let these questions intimidate me, or I could prove to others that no one in the world should be able to judge you for your religion, your culture, your gender and the way you dress. And what better way to prove it than to travel the world itself.

Ever feel angry when you see the news and all the negativity surrounding Islam due to people representing the religion incorrectly? Try to be the person who shines a light on the darkness.

Gradually, however, it dawned upon me that due to negativity surrounding the concept of Hijab, not just in the media but within a person’s own community. Girls out there actually find it intimidating to step out of the house and to explore different countries. They are worried about the comments and criticism they may receive because of the way they dress. And this really upset me.

2. Travel without compromising your religion.

You don’t have to compromise your religion or your faith to be able to travel, rather, you should travel more so that people out there who may have misconceptions about the Hijab can realize that in no way does our Hijab prevent us from living our life to the fullest!

People often view Muslim girls as girls:

  • who need “permission” to step out of the house,

  • who are forced into covering themselves,

  • who have to wait to get married before they can even go shopping,

  • who have to rely first on their family to be able to travel.

3. Show the world how wrong they are!

Personally, I have never faced any racism while traveling (or maybe I didn’t notice it because I was too focused on the beauty around me!). In fact, I feel my Hijab and the way I dress have opened up avenues for a conversation with strangers.

Of course, it’s nice when someone approaches you and says “Oh you look so pretty, can I take a photo with you?” It’s even nicer when they ask you about your religion and why you dress the way you do: curiosity and an open mind is the beginning of all friendship.

4. Get out of your comfort zone.

It’s easy to live within a community where everyone belongs to the same culture and share the same ideas and expressions about life. It’s almost like living in a safety net. However, to step outside of that safety net and to let strangers into your world, to allow them to understand a day in the life of a Hijabi is possibly one of the most beautiful things a Muslim girl can do.

We often find that Muslim girls tend to:

  • grow up in quite a close-knit community,

  • amongst people of the same culture and religion,

  • where concepts such as solo traveling are unthinkable,

  • where you will immediately get asked whether you are going with your husband or father or brother, and

  • where traveling is mostly about staying in a nice hotel somewhere in Santorini.

5. Muslim girls, too, can travel.

Traveling for girls is seen as something non-Muslim girls do. They can climb mountains, take selfies on top of Mount Snowdon, they can explore the souks of Marrakech while wearing pretty dresses and taking bold Instagram worthy photos. However, a Muslim Hijabi traveler can’t or “shouldn’t”?

I recommend all you girls out there to go to each and every corner of the world and tell everyone, that we can and we should. As a Muslim Hijabi traveler, I love it when other fellow sisters (or brothers) approach me and tell me I inspire them to travel.

6. Being an inspiration for others.

A few weeks ago I received a message from a girl on Instagram, which said:

“Salam sister, I’ve always been worried about going to new places because I hear stories of racism. I wear the Hijab and I’m worried that everywhere I go people are judging me. But you’ve given me the confidence to step out of the house and pursue my dreams.

That in itself was my biggest accomplishment as a traveler. Not the number of countries I’ve visited. Not the number of likes on my Instagram photos. This. Because a traveler isn’t just someone who visits a lot of cities, it’s someone who has an appreciation for the world they live in, for other cultures, other religions, someone who realizes there is something bigger out there than us and our problems are very small in the face of that.

7. It is only as difficult as you make it.

We are after all a drop in the ocean. And I’d like to say to anyone who feels that being a Muslim (or even non-Muslim) means that travelling will be more difficult for them – it’s only as difficult as you make it.

It’s only difficult if you compare your life to others. Leave your laptops and mobiles and just explore the world, if not possible your country, if not possible your city, if not possible hold the hands of someone you love and walk beside the sea.

8. Traveling humbles you as a person and strengthens your faith.

As for me I always tell people, I think I could never fulfill my religion or my potential as a human being if I didn’t experience the world that I live in.

Exploring the creation of Allah (swt), experiencing the tremendous wonders he has created, the variety of people, cultures, languages, landscapes not only humbles you as a person but can strengthen your Imaan in a more permanent way than anything else possible.

Remember, “do not walk proudly on the Earth. You can neither tear the Earth apart nor are you as tall the mountains.”


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