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Muslim traveler

I am a practicing Muslim woman and I'm considering my first RS tour. I've traveled in several Islamic countries but never through Europe. I'm just wondering if other practicing Muslims found RS tours accommodating to religious requirements (specifically eating halal, prayer and limited exposure to alcohol)? (And obviously excluding the Turkey tour, which is easy!)

Thanks!

Posted by
7537 posts

I think that's a question you might want to ask of the tour department.

Posted by
4637 posts

I have been on three Rick Steves tours. There are only few dinners with the group and usually everybody has the same meal so it likely won't be halal but you can certainly ask if they can accommodate your wishes. About prayer - if it does not have to be at the certain time then (I hope) nobody will disturb you if you pray in your hotel room. To do muslim prayer on the bus would be somewhat difficult. About alcohol - nobody is forced to drink it. But it is a cultural thing so there are opportunities to taste wine in France, Italy, Spain, etc., beer in Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland, etc. I am not aware that on any of those three tours I took was a practicing muslim so I tried to answer your questions although I am not a muslim. I agree with Andrea's advice to contact R.S. Tour Department.

Posted by
13895 posts

I took the Turkey tour, and I don't know that it would be any easier or that other tours would be more difficult. It was often easier to get a beer in Turkey than a cup of coffee. Beer, wine and spirits were readily available and at one stop, alcoholic drinks were served to the group. I don't know if all the food was halal.

Vegetarian food is readily available throughout Europe. When you sign up for a tour, you can indicate your dietary restrictions. While halal isn't available, if you can manage with vegetarian or meatless food, you'll be fine.

I don't know what prayer is required. If you need 15-20 minutes at specific times of the day, that isn't likely to happen on any tour - including the Turkey tour. The itineraries are full and while there is free time, most mornings and afternoons are with the group, either on the bus or touring sites. Even the "My Way" tours may not work for you as there are long bus rides.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all for the feedback. After living in the US my whole life I am pretty used to finding accommodations for myself, finding vegetarian options, etc. but I was just hoping to hear from other Muslims who have been on the tours.

Posted by
16742 posts

I don't believe we know whether we've had any Muslim tour members, though we certainly have welcomed people from many backgrounds. The RS tour guides are very conscious of accommodating dietary restrictions in the group dinners, so that should not be a problem. Alcohol will always be available at dinner, but we often have tour members who don't use it. There might be a tour activity that you choose to opt out of altogether, such as a wine tasting or the roast-pig dinner in Segovia, Spain; these tend to be mentioned in the tour itineraries that you see online as you make your decision. Other commenters are correct that group schedule is more of a sacred thing - if the bus or walking tour is scheduled to go, it goes.

Posted by
653 posts

Another option may be searching the web for tours that are operated by Muslim owners that designs their tours specifically for practicing muslims. I will add that one of the things I like most about travel is the chance to meet other people from different backgrounds and experiencing their culture. The muslims that I interact with here in my work enviroment are able to enjoy our gatherings and special events without any issue as far as I can tell. I wish you luck in your search for the best trip for you.

Posted by
544 posts

With the exception of around the pool at the hotel in Tuscany and the beer halls in Munich, I have found that people on the Rick Steves' tours I have been on are very well behaved when it comes to alcohol. Even at a wine tasting, there will likely be snacks and other non-alcoholic bevereges to enjoy the time.

Posted by
33 posts

There are no official breaks for prayer during daytime, or earlier closing time during Rhamadan. Friday is a workday. Mosques are few and not necessarily are located near high street or in up-market residential areas. There are many office and factory workers, students and other visitors of muslim origin in Europe who know their way around. They are Turkish or Middle Eastern butcheries, fast and slow food restaurants with halal food, even certified. Many muslims in Europe avoid pork, but do not strictly insist on certified halal. Modest consumption of alcohol, during meals or socially, is part of the European (and Turkish!) culture, but there are many legal alcohol limits (driving, minors etc.). Even in beer halls, beer gardens or at Octoberfest a considerable percentage of (non-muslim) guests consume non-alcoholic drinks. But for peace of mind avoid hard-core beer halls, carnival and Octoberfest. Some sweets and dairy products contain gelatine. Those for the European market may contain gelatine from pork bones.