Halal friendly Road trip

There’s nothing quite like jumping into a car and heading off into the sunset on an adventure. Better yet, why not make the car a convertible and let the wind blow through your hair (or hijab!) while you explore a new country, culture or cuisine? These are some of our favourite drives around the world, and there are lots of ways to make them halal friendly too.

New Zealand:

nz-glacierIf you have the luxury of time on your side, spend a couple of weeks exploring New Zealand’s breathtakingly uniquescenery, from the naturally awe-inspiring Middle Earth (or the North Island for those who aren’t mildly – ahem – obsessed with Lord of the Rings) to the engineering marvel that is Christchurch’s distinctive cardboard cathedral. New Zealand is an extremely diverse country, and there are plenty of mosques, prayer rooms and halal restaurants to be foundif you know where to look.

One of our favourite drives starts at Rotorua on the North Island, which is surrounded by 17 stunning natural lakes and thermal springs and sits in the middle of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Great if you like things hot! From there, you can spend a few leisurely days or weeks puttering down to Wellington, Christchurch or even Queenstown, stopping off at the many of hundreds of fishing lakes, national parks, caves, rivers,forests and waterfalls. Along the way, check out the many mosques and halal friendly restaurants that are frequented by Kiwis and tourists alike. Visit our halal friendly New Zealand tour page here

The UAE:

There’s much more to the United Arab Emirates than just Dubai, and a 4 or 5 day road trip will give you the time to uncover all that this enigmatic country has to offer.

If you’re really adventurous, you could start your journey in neighbouring Qatar, and drive from Doha through the very eastern tip of Saudi Arabia, but we suggest flying into Abu Dhabi and hiring a car from there. If you want to blend in like a local, go for a huge 4×4 or super expensive speed machine!Abu Dhabi itself has some beautiful natural scenery as well as man-made marvels, and best of all, halal food and mosques on almost every corner. Why not pray asr at the majestic yet serene Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, then head into the desert to witness a sunset like no other on top of a sand dune?

mosque-dubaiFrom there, head north east via glittering Dubai (may be stopping off for some retail therapy along the way!) and onto Sharjah, the most traditional emirate of all. Sharjah is also the cultural and artistic capital of the UAE, and a great place to learn more about Islamic history and art.You can continue up the coast to Ajman, Umm al Quwain and Ras Al-Khaimah, but for something different why not go east towards KhorFakkhan? A great way to round off your road trip is to spend a few days swimming, snorkelling, fishing and sailing in the Gulf of Oman, or relaxing on the pristine beaches. Again, halal food is never more than a few steps away, and there are thousands of mosques across the country so finding somewhere to pray is always easy. For more information on the UAE visit our dedicated page for halal friendly travel inspiration 

The USA:

There are thousands of miles of classic road criss-crossing the United States, from north to south, east to west and any other direction in between. Our favourite route starts in New York (home to hundreds of halal restaurants) and winds along the Atlantic Coast until it reaches the unique island of Key West in southern Florida. Along the way, why not try a halal hot dog in New Jersey, ride the rollercoasters at Ocean City in Maryland and pray jummah near the beach at Hampton in Virginia? There are also 400 years of history to explore along the coast, and lots of photo opportunities of funny place names like Nag’s Head and Cape Fear!

Of course, the most iconic drive of all is Route 66, following what John Steinbeck called “The Mother Road” in his vivid seminal novel The Grapes of Wrath. The road runs over 2000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, and encompasses typical Americana, with its hundreds of diners, motels, petrol stations and cafés. It also takes in some of America’s most classic roadside scenes, from flickering neon signs, to rusty old truck stops. As the song says, you definitely “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Whichever country or route you choose, there are always options to make your journey halal-friendly. Before you leave, do some research into halal restaurants and mosques that you might encounter along the way. You’ll be surprised at the quality and variety of eating, sleeping and praying options most places can offer.

Aalia Mahdi
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