Morocco is a destination that offers infinite possibilities, but due to unfounded fears and prejudices, it ends up holding back the desire for adventure of hundreds of travelers.
This post not only pursues the goal of convincing you to make the decision whether to travel to Morocco or not, whether you do it in a group, with your partner, or alone. My intention is to share with you some tips to make the period before and during your trip as easy and attractive as possible.
Morocco Travel Guide: Things to Know Before Traveling to Morocco
Make yourself comfortable on your seat because this is a long article, and get prepared to know what are the 10 things you should know before traveling in Morocco.
#1 You will not spend so much money:
You have probably heard or read somewhere that Morocco is a very cheap destination for travelers.
Well, I have to tell you that it is true!. I myself had the opportunity to spend a week touring the south of the country on a 200 euro budget. Even more, it included air travel, accommodation, meals, local transport, and activities such as spending a night camping in a Berber tent or practicing the famous camel rides in Morocco.
During those seven days I didn’t go hungry, nor did I deprive myself of doing everything I wanted to do.
That is to say, in spite of backpacking and always having in mind the optimization of my budget, I never had a bad time.
Every night I slept in a comfortable bed, and following the Moroccan traditions, I drank green tea all the time.
#2 Nothing will happen to you:
I am convinced that one of the reasons that currently stop you from traveling in Morocco is the fear that something bad will happen to you.
It’s totally normal to be afraid of the unknown. Although, more than a fear, you should call it respect.
In my personal experience, and of all the travelers with whom I have exchanged conversations about this wonderful country, we agree that Morocco is a very safe country, both for men and women.
Prejudices towards Arab culture and Muslims are unfortunately the order of the day. And I have to tell you that the most effective way I know to fight them is to travel.
The negative impression, false judgments, fears, and insecurity that haunted me during my first day in Marrakech, were transformed into moments of enjoyment, relaxation, and laughter on my last day in the country.
It is likely that my arguments will not end up convincing you.
In fact, I am not here to force you to do or not do something but to show you the potential benefits and let you be the one to make the decision on your own.
#3 Take some precautions:
It’s one thing for me to tell you that nothing is going to happen to you. But, for example, to start taking selfies with your new iPhone 12 at 2 AM in the dull streets and markets of the Medina is never safe.
Regardless of the destination, you are traveling to, taking some precautions and squeezing the wisdom out of your common sense is a key to avoiding bitter setbacks.
Walking alone at night through streets and neighborhoods, you don’t know may not be such a good idea.
The idea is to follow the same principles and act as if you were in your own city.
On the subject of health, here are two basic pieces of advice:
- Always drink bottled water.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before each meal.
On the way back by bus from the desert to Marrakech, I had the bad luck to get sick and spend the last hours of the trip vomiting.
Something I could have possibly avoided if I hadn’t drunk water from a desert well, washed my hands more, or eat that bread with cheese that keeps turning my stomach every time I remember it.
#4 Language barriers:
The two official languages of Morocco are Classical Arabic and Berber.
French is spoken practically all over the country, and don’t be surprised to hear them speaking in English as well. There is a reason why Morocco is the country in the Arab world where our language is most studied.
But, what will really make things easy for you to communicate is the simplicity and linguistic fluency of the Moroccans.
Walking around the medinas, you will find native speakers speaking English or Spanish quite fluently, don’t be scared if you hear them speaking German, Russian or Chinese.
I don’t know what their secret is. You, to know, stay pretty close to them, see if you can find out!
#5 You will drink so much tea!:
All my life I’ve been more of a coffee man than a tea man, but I have to admit that the balance started to shift since I made that Morocco trip.
Beer, being forbidden to Muslims, it can only be found in hotel chains or restaurants aimed exclusively at tourism, which means a high price to pay.
You have the option to bring it from home, although the best thing you can do is forget about it during your travel days.
One of the basic principles of any self-respecting traveler is to try to adapt to the local culture with the aim of learning from it and better understanding the world we live in.
So my advice is to replace beer with tea. In Morocco, you drink it all the time and it is the perfect excuse to start conversations with strangers and make new friends.
Besides, it’s delicious!
#6 You don’t have to book in advance!:
Finding A comfortable bed at a good price is very easy in Morocco.
You can find shared rooms in hostels for 5 or 6 euros, like in the Rainbow Hostel in Marrakech where I personally stayed; and double beds in cheap hotels for 15-20 euros.
Unless you are traveling in a group, avoid booking more than the first two nights as much as possible. By booking every step of your trip in advance you run the risk of finding a place that you don’t like and being forced to decide between putting up with it or losing the money you’ve already paid.
I always had applications like Booking or Hostel World installed on my cell phone to book accommodation during the flight. If a day or two before I see that the offer is wide, I prefer to avoid the reservation and judge the establishment with my own eyes.
Remember that asking to be shown the room before closing any deal is always a good option.
Besides, in Morocco, the manager or owner of the hostel will always be open to negotiating. You are in Morocco for a reason!
#7 Currency exchange:
The official currency of Morocco is the Dirham (MAD).
The current exchange rate against the Euro is 10.92 Dirham (MAD) = 1 Euro.
Avoid whenever possible the exchange of currency before the trip and in airports to save unnecessary commissions. In big cities, you will find dozens of establishments with a much more beneficial exchange rate.
If you have no idea which office offers the best exchange rate, don’t be embarrassed to ask. Thanks to consulting with the guys from the Rainbow Hostel where I was staying in Marrakech, I found an establishment very close to the hostel that offered one of the best conversions we saw during the trip. Hotel Ali was its name.
When it comes to doing mental calculations with your purchases, you have it easy. What I was doing was converting 10 Dirhams directly to one Euro. That way I saved the calculator and always had some extra money compared to the expense I had estimated.
#8 When to go:
Although you may find it hard to believe, Morocco can become quite a cold country, especially in the higher and mountainous areas.
But don’t worry, unless you plan to visit the villages of the Atlas or spend a night in the desert during the winter, you won’t feel cold.
The best time to travel to Morocco corresponds to the seasons of autumn and spring when temperatures are much more compassionate to the travelers.
In summer it is not very attractive to travel to Morocco because of its high temperatures. In the south of the country and the desert areas, these can reach up to 45 Cº.
Regarding the desert, I made my trip in October and I had no problem. It was hot, of course, but it was more than bearable. For the night I wore a sweatshirt, although I don’t think I ever used it.
#9 Avoid drugs:
One of the tendencies of a certain type of people is to travel to Morocco and get fed up with smoking hashish.
Nevertheless, this is an aspect to which it is necessary to pay special attention. The possession of cannabis can be punished with a simple fine until with a season in prison.
And I do not believe that to anybody it desires to verify the quality of the Moroccan prisons by the simple whim to stick a good buzz.
If you want to smoke, do it, but be aware of the possible consequences. Like everything in this life, the decision is always yours.
#10 You can deal with the police!:
The police will always be on your side. People I know who have already visited Morocco several times, or the very Moroccans I met during my trip, agreed that the police pay special attention to tourism.
When a country’s economy receives strong income from tourists visiting the place, no one is interested in having them leave annoyed, stolen, or cheated.
I didn’t have to deal with the police except once. Although it was not really me who dealt with them, it was my friend, with whom I shared my road trip to the desert.
If you are planning to rent a car, you can take for granted at least one encounter with the police. It is important that you pay attention to the speeds you reach since most fines come from this type of infraction.
We were stopped on our way to the desert for doing 66 on a 60 road.
Then another topic that gives you a good time to talk about is the corrupt police. Yes, the rumors are true. If you want to avoid a large part of the fine, you can openly tell the policeman about the possibility of making a reduction or “forgetting about the paper”.
It is up to you and your moral principles to act in one way or another.
Morocco is surely a safe country to travel to, as per every country, you must follow certain rules for a great experience. Traveling to Morocco is worth it, and you should not miss its hidden gems.
- Have you already traveled to Morocco? What advice would you give to someone starting his first adventure in this country?
- Do you plan to travel soon? What are your main fears and concerns?
Share everything with us in the comments!
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