I recently was trying to google before my Umrah by road from Qatar. It was found that most of the information are outdated.
BEFORE YOU GO:
Before you go I would recommend you check if you have a UMRAH VISA, the car is registered under your name with no hypothecation to any banks. If your car is hypothecated to any bank, you need to get a NOC from the bank. Most banks issue a letter on terms. Some banks like Khaleeji get a security cheque from a Qatari or you keep a security deposit of the amount you owe them, all depends on bank terms.
If you are on visit visa, you will need a reentry permit. Easily availed at any immigration service center paying 200 QR.
Make sure you do a car service and check all your tires, coolant, engine oils, belts, etc..
The less luggage you have, the more comfortable you are. You may carry some snacks and tiffin with sufficient water in case you got kids.
ON THE GO:
Distance to be covered is Doha to Makkah 1550 Kms, approximately takes 18 hours driving. Very straight forward; Doha to Riyadh via Hufoof. Riyadh to Makkah. Makkah to Medina is around 4.5 hours of drive around 450 Kms. Medina to Doha is 1800 Kms via Buraidah and Riyadh.
From Doha to Riyadh is pretty deserts with sand dunes on both sides. Riyadh to Makkah route has some mountains and ghat sections. Recently most of the ghat sections are modified to straight roads by crushing the mountains. You will have great views on both sides; mountains with black and red rocks, camels, farms, etc..
Our first destination would be Meekath at Taif.
It is always great to expect surprises on the express way.
Roads are good.
Never let your tank fuel go half tank, make sure it is always full. Refill petrol once it comes down to 3/4 the tank.
There are a lot of motels in between Doha and Makkah but most of them are either dirty or not at all maintained.
Better to keep a speed of 160 and be on the middle track as you would find Saudi cars flying on the left track. Trucks maintain a speed of avg 120 kph and it is advised not to drive on the right track in a lesser speed where overtaking by a truck are real cause of accidents.
Meekath for people coming from Doha is at Taif.
You have decent place there for shower and to wear Ihram. You can also perform your prayers at the mosque. Ladies will have separate entrance. You will be able to purchase items like belts, sandals etc.. from the stalls near by. There are also book stalls that give away free stuffs for better understanding.
ONCE YOU REACH MAKKAH:
Once reaching Makkah, be sure that you make your routes understood before entering tunnels. The city is accessed via tunnels and GPS don’t work except you have a tunnel mode in it.
Parking would be an issue and some hotels they charge for parking. The place near Masjid Haram would have little place to park your car. I advise that you park your car in safe custody and walk to mosque and back during the days you stay at Makkah.
Visiting places like Rahma Mountain, Noor Mountain, Arafa grounds, and other sacred mosque is sunnah and shall be done if you have a guide who accompanies you with a tour. They charge you from 100 SR to 150 SR. Most hotels arrange private people according to your language and nationality.
Make sure you wear throw-away sandals when you go to the mosque as I have lost my sandals almost every time I kept it outside. You would be able to carry your sandals into the mosque and they have carry bags at the entrance.
In case of people with any disability or with children, there are porters who help you with Tawaaf and at Safa Marwa. They charge you 50 SR.
Basic OTC meds like painkillers, fever tabs etc..
Extra pairs of slippers.
A small bag that can be carried easily by having tied with you to carry money, mobile etc..
Best application for GPS would be “copilot”. Available on apple and android.
App called Umrah will guide you step by step with prayers and rituals.
Carry cash and not always depend on cards as most of them do not accept cards or Qatari Riyals. Better you have some Saudi Riyals.
Hotels range from 150 above and an average of 250 is tagged for a decent one. Booking.com provides good rates.
Zam sam water is available and recommended to be bought only from the authorized. They have special package for air carriage if in case you need to take it on flight from Doha back home.
MAKKAH TO MADEENA:
Makkah to Madeena is again an express way which usually is a busy road comparing to the other ones that we came across. You will find decent places in between to stop for prayers and food.
The radiant city or the Madeena-th-Nabi (pbuh) means the city of prophet.
Madeena has a lot of historic places and it would be better if you read a about the history before you come. Most sacred mosques in Madeena got some history and your guide should be able to explain them. Quba Mosque, Nabavi mosque, Qiblatain mosque and many more to visit and these are the oldest mosques in Islam.
Burial of Mohammed (pbuh) is at Masjid Nabavi. You must pay a visit. Quite often people become sentimental at this moment in time.
Again hotels are not that expensive and better you stay near Masjid Nabavi as there are certain times that women can visit the burial place of prophet. Its after Isha prayers till mid night and from Fajr till sunrise.