As ladies, it is best to take precaution when travelling to unfamiliar places. As Hijabis who travel, we need to take extra precaution when we travel especially to non-Muslim countries such as Rome. Here are some tips on how to travel safely in Rome as a Hijabi.
Before the start of your trip, do clarify your intentions and purpose of the travel. Most people may want to travel because they want to capture the beautiful scenery, experience different cultures or even to tick off their bucket list. However, if you make the intention of wanting to admire Allah swt's creations and to spread the good image of Islam, your travel will be much more fulfilling inshaAllah.
If you are not familiar with the country, it is best to do research early. Some factors you may want to research on are estimated the cost of meals, routes and directions, as well as the spoken language used by locals and available food halal places.
Regardless of how safe your hotel/apartment may be, it is best to keep your valuables such as money, wallet, passports and devices with you. You may want to wear a money belt, that is worn on the inside your outfit that will decrease the chances of getting pickpocket. Makes sure you do not leave your belongings lying on the table or even in the outer pocket of your bag and try to be more alert especially in crowded places.
My recommendation would be to not store all your cash in the same place. In case you lose your wallet or some of your money, you always have spare cash to depend on. It can be stressful to not have any money in a foreign country so do have a backup plan.
If you are travelling 'free and easy', it is best to stay connected to the internet. This way, you can update your family members on your location and you can use google maps in case you lose your way. In Rome, most people speak Italian and it always helps to be able to say basic greetings in the local language. Sim cards are not expensive and can be purchased at the airport or any convenience store.
Being a foreign person in a country, it is so important to stay polite. Most travelers do not realize that they are not just representing their country when they travel, they are also representing their face and their religion. Being a hijabi in a non-Muslim country, being polite is a necessity in order to stay safe and not inflict any unnecessary hate or unfair treatment.
The act of smiling to strangers may just be the bridge you need to connect with the locals. It is difficult not to smile back at someone and even if someone does not smile back to you, it is ok. You have tried to be polite. This act of smiling to strangers is particularly useful when you need to ask for directions. Only approach those who smile back, it shows that they are open to you.
Each time you leave your hotel room or your apartment, recite ayatul kursi and make Dua to be protected. InshaAllah you will be safe. You never know for sure, which 'areas' are more prone to undesired incidents, so do stay in public areas where you can ask for help in case you need one. If you are staying in quiet places, try not to return back too late at night.
Last but not least, do not forget your prayers. As Muslims, we should never forget our obligations, even when we travel to different countries. There are Muslim apps available for you to download and it contains all the prayers times of different cities. It was particularly useful to me. Always bring a mat, and prayer essentials when you travel so that you can perform your prayers as you travel. When you don't forget Allah swt as you travel, inshaAlah He will keep you safe and protected.