Staying halal when you’re at home comes with some challenges. It’s not always easy to figure out which foods are halal when they’re not properly labelled, for example. However, being halal at home is a walk in the park when compared to accomplishing the same feat when you’re travelling.
Now, if you’re heading to a Muslim country, it’s not so much of a problem. You can feel confident that almost every restaurant you see serves halal food.
But what if you’re going to France? Or Spain? Or the United States? These are countries that aren’t halal by nature. And in some cases, you’re going to have to deal with a language barrier that could make it even harder to find foods that you can eat.
In the worst-case scenario, you might end up eating something haram without even realising it.
We don’t want this to happen, which is why we’re highlighting some of the key mistakes to avoid when you want to stay halal when you travel.
Mistake #1 – Not Doing Your Research
There’s something romantic about turning up in a new country and just letting the winds of adventure take you wherever they may. However, doing that could leave you stranded without any halal food available.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research before you travel.
First of all, find the specific location of your hotel and search for markets and halal restaurants in the local area. Make a list of every place that’s “safe” to eat and keep it stored safely so that you can refer back to it during your trip.
When you do visit a restaurant, it’s always a good idea to confirm that it serves halal food too. You can’t always trust what you read online, so it’s always worth double-checking before you place an order.
Mistake #2 – Not Stocking Up on Halal Foods
The reason that you want to find some markets in the local area is that they give you a chance to stock up on some halal foods.
Now, you may not find it easy to find halal meats. Plus, the packaged foods that you find may have incomprehensible labels. However, they are still plenty of foods that you can buy that you know are halal, even in a foreign country.
For example, all fresh fruit and veg are on the table. The same goes for practically any food that contains no meat products. Always check the ingredients and research any that you don’t recognise. If any come from an animal, such as gelatine, in a non-halal country, it’s likely that the animal wasn’t slaughtered in a way that makes it halal.
The point we’re making here is that it’s a good idea to stock up on things that you know you can eat if you find yourself in a pinch. For example, you could take packets of dates or other dried fruits with you when you head out to explore. That means you’ve always got something to eat, even if you can’t find an ideal place.
Mistake #3 – Eating Meats Without Knowing Their Source
This is a mistake that’s easy to make, even when you’re at home. The moment that you assume that the meat you’re eating is halal is often the moment that you commit haram.
Always, always, always confirm the source of any meat that you consider eating when you’re travelling. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a label from an official halal certification body on the meat.
Speaking of which, it’s also a good idea to research which halal organisations exist in the country that you’re travelling to. Take some snapshots of their brand and look for it on the foods that you buy. You may also find that such organisations can provide some guidance in terms of where to go to buy suitable foods.
Mistake #4 – Eating Processed Foods
There are just too many variables involved with eating processed foods when you’re in a foreign country. We’ve already mentioned the ingredients conundrum above. However, some countries may not have the same stringent laws about ingredient lists as you find in the UK. As a result, it’s possible that some of the processed foods you find won’t give you the full list of ingredients used.
The best idea is to just avoid eating processed foods in general when you’re on your travels. The added benefit here is that processed foods aren’t always that good for you anyway. If you stick with eating fresh, you’re not loading your body with all of the trans and saturated fats that cause health issues.
And of course, you ensure that you stay halal.
Mistake #5 – Failing to Confirm that Your Airline Serves Halal Food
Sometimes, you could get so wrapped up in making sure you stay halal when you reach your destination that you forget that you need to get there first.
It’s always worth confirming that your airline offers halal options before you fly. Not every one of them does, especially if you’re flying with a foreign airline.
Now, a lack of halal meal options doesn’t mean you should head out and cancel the flight. It just means that you should make sure you’re well-fed before you board. And even airlines that don’t offer halal meals should still have a few snacks available that are safe for you to eat.
Just don’t assume that the in-flight meal is halal.
The Final Word
Now that you’re aware of these mistakes, you can avoid making them when you’re travelling. The simplest advice that we can give you is to be wary of the food that you eat when you’re in unfamiliar territory. Every country has a different culture and some likely won’t have a lot of halal options available.
Do your research so that you’re prepared. That preparation will give you the peace of mind that you need to enjoy your trip.
Of course, you also want to make sure that you’re eating amazing halal food when you’re at home, too. That’s where Najma Foods can help you. Our range of halal chilled meats are suitable for any mealtime. Just head to our store locator to find out who sells Najma products near you.