Travelling through any country demands respect for the culture and the locals. And more so when there is a profoundly religious festival ongoing; this is true when tourists are in the Muslim world – nations such as Turkiye, Indonesia and the Middle East region - to name a few.

This is particularly true of Ramadan, which falls in 2024 from Monday, March 11 to Tuesday, April 9.

Tourists are urged to take a moment before travelling to read up on this religious holiday to fully appreciate the rules and customs that will be effective at this time. Different rules may apply to different countries that they are travelling in.

During this time, restaurants and some tourism facilities may be closed between sunrise and sunset, while others may be operating with a skeleton staff. Hours of operation for other facilities, such as government offices, may also be shortened.

Ramadan: An Explanation

Ramadan is largely seen as a period of reflection and self-improvement. It represents the fourth pillar of Islam. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and, occurs for 30 days and is based on the new moon arising.

At Ramadan, Muslims of adult age will abstain from drinking, eating, smoking and sex from sunset to sunrise, with additional prayers performed. It is said that Ramadan signifies the experience of hunger and thirst for Muslims. Some are also generous in charity, providing for the poor and performing good deeds. All these actions are in line with the act of cleansing the soul.

Two important meals for Muslims during Ramadan is Suhur, a pre-dawn meal usually taken between 2.30-3am. This may be accompanied by drummers and musicians wandering the streets to wake people. The second is Iftar, a Ramadan feast that occurs after sunset.

At the end of the religious month, there is a three-day festival. It is known by a few names depending on the country. In Turkiye, it may well be known as Bayram or Eid-al-Fitr (the Sugar Holiday). People will be travelling to see their families to celebrate this festival.

Travelling During Ramadan 2024 – March 11 - April 9 - The Wise Traveller - Iftar

Impact of Travellers

Patience and plenty of it will be needed. The three-day festival at the end of Ramadan will see more cars and people traversing across the country to get to their family homes. Airports and flights could be full, and land transport, such as coaches and trains, will be completely booked out.

Be aware, be responsible and be sensitive must always be the over-riding thoughts. If seen smoking, eating or even eating in front of a person who is observing Ramadan, it can be disrespectful and impolite.

During Eid-al-Fitr, it might be advisable to hunker down in a chosen area, resort or city to see the three-day celebrations through and recommence your travels. But if you are travelling through Ramadan, be respectful and stay safe.

Planning is key to ensure that your travel plans remain as unaffected as possible So, be prepared for changes and if you have to book trips, travel or flights book them before you go.

Andy Probert - The Wise TravellerAndy Probert is an independent journalist based in Turkey. He writes about travel, aviation, new tech and business. His work has appeared on the BBC, in The Daily Telegraph, Hurriyet Daily News and other newspapers worldwide.