What do you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco? There are a few things that you better know about before you go that would make your trip better and easier.
Morocco is a fascinating country between Europe and Africa that has taken something from both worlds. Although, especially in the big cities, like Marrakech, there are modern parts, in many places Morocco is just what it is. That’s why it’s better to go well prepared, so you can avoid some headaches you might have otherwise.
Before you continue reading, though, I want to make a quick note:
Generally, Morocco is an amazing place and there are many good Moroccans as well. I have such a wonderful memories of my 3 weeks trip there. Even though there are many scams that you might happen to be a victim of if you don’t know what to expect, Morocco is still absolutely worth the visit. In the end, all of those things are what makes the country so unique and so intriguing.
Now, let’s get back to what do you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco
Some people just act nice and friendly
This is one of the most common scams that you will face in Morocco. People will act nice and friendly, they will help you, or guide you, whatever and at the end, they’ll ask you for money, or take you to their shop.
There are 3 most common scenarios that you will see below:
The nice guy – He will approach you with a smile, he will act like the nicest and friendliest guy on Earth until you get into his trap. Then, after you agreed to guide you to your hostel, or to just help you to find the way, he will start asking you for money. He will start asking you for money, or he will take you to a place where ”his people” are waiting for you, so they can show you crafts, carpets, leather products, etc that you will find yourself feeling obligated to buy. But you’re NOT.
The henna woman – Same as the nice guy, she will approach you and she’ll sound like the nicest woman you’ve spoken with that day until she grabs your hand. Don’t let her do so! Without asking you either you want it, or not, she will start making you a henna tattoo and then after she finally finishes and let go of your hand she’ll ask for her money. What??!?!
The photographer – Snakes, monkeys, or whatever it is. This guy will approach you and offer you to take a photo of you with the monkey for example. You need to know, though, that this is not for free, after he takes the shot, you’ll be charged, although that hasn’t been mentioned to you at first place.
Don’t accept random invitations for free mint tea
Talking from experience – During my 3 weeks Morocco trip itinerary, almost everyone that I met was scammed somehow. One guy ended up with a carpet and unfortunately, I’m not joking.
A friend of mine ended up buying nuts for 200 MAD, which is almost 20 euro. And that’s just because the man gave us to try and he felt that he needs to buy from him – I couldn’t believe that.
I was caught by a henna woman on my first day in Marrakech. That was thanks to my friend with the nuts who was trying to make a joke that didn’t work out. Anyway, she grabbed my hand and although I’ve tried very hard I couldn’t escape from her until she finishes and let go of my hand. Of course, right after she let my hand, she asked for money. I was not going to give her anything as like I told her I didn’t ask for it. She started cursing me and then my friend gave her some coins so she can go away. He shouldn’t have.
What do you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco is that you need to dress appropriately – especially if you’re a solo female traveller that doesn’t want to attract any unwanted attention.
Morocco is a Muslim country and women there don’t show any skin other than their face, hands and feet. And although guys can dress however they like and tourist can wear whatever they want, it’s better for the tourist women to dress more conservatively.
You should always cover at least your shoulder, chest and knees. That shows respect to their religion and traditions.
During the time I’ve spent in Morocco, I’ve seen many western girls and women that were feeling comfortable walking in shorts or short skirts. I know that it’s very hot but I find it a bit disrespectful, to be honest.
Especially, if you’re a solo female traveller stay smart and modesty. You will get enough of unwanted attention, so don’t attract even more of it.
Tip: Always wear a scarf in you!
If you’re a woman, you’ll be catcall
If you’re a woman planning a trip to Morocco, you should know that you’ll be catcall. Don’t get offended and don’t really pay a lot of attention to it. Just walk with your head up high, with your confidence and wear your sunglasses. Don’t allow yourself looking vulnerable or unsure.
I was constantly hearing behind my back phrases like ”nice ass”, or ”nice legs”. I even got a marriage proposal from a random guy on the street and another guy wanted to buy me.
Fake entrance fees
Medinas are free for everyone, period. If anyone tries to tell you the opposite and tries to charge you just go away from them. Same applies to the tanneries.
Never pay the price they ask you for, always bargain
Not to pay the price they ask you for is also what do you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco.
You might find it surprising at first, then you’ll get used to it but there are no price tags on almost anything. Basically, you will need to ask how much does it cost something all the time. Sometimes they even act like they didn’t hear you. Anyway, almost everyone will try to rip you off just because you’re a tourist. Don’t let them do so! When they tell you their price, you tell them yours, always haggle. At the end, you shouldn’t pay more than you’re willing to.
Talking from experience – I didn’t pay for anything as much as they wanted me to not even once. I’ve always had a price in my mind that I was willing to pay and never paid even a dirham more than that.
I’ve haggled for the sandals I bought and even for our desert tour.
Even if they don’t agree at first after you walk away, they will chase you to sell you something at the price you want to.
Taxis – Always make sure that you know how much it will cost you to get from point A to point B. They were always trying to charge me double the price. Anyway, I always knew how much it should cost me in advance, so I didn’t let them do so.
You need to bring toilet paper with you all the time
Bringing toilet paper with you is what you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco for two reasons. First, you might not always find a toilet and second because even if you do the chance the toilet not to be equipped with toilet paper is very big.
You should also know that often the toilets in Morocco are squat ones. Some of them even have a small fee.
Except for toilet paper, I would also recommend having with you wet wipes or hand sanitizer. The fountains in the bathrooms are not always working.
Avoid making eye contact
This is one of the best tips that I can give to anyone who is travelling to Morocco. The best way to avoid the eye contact with people is to wear a sunglasses.
Why avoiding the eye contact? To reduce the possibility of being considered as the next victim.
When making an eye contact, people, in general, will suppose that you’re interested in them, what they do, or what they have to offer. In a blink of an eye, you can end up with a snake around your neck, or something else that you wouldn’t want to.
Does it work? I believe so, yes. Avoiding any eye contact worked very well for me in Morocco.
Don’t trust the online schedules of the buses
In Morocco, there are three main ways to get around the country – buses, trains and grand taxi.
There are also two main bus companies, CTM and Supratours that tourists are using. Both of them have websites and online schedules. Don’t trust them, please.
Here’s what happened to me. I decided to travel from Marrakech to Fes with the bus. I’ve checked online for the schedules of both companies to decide which bus will be the most convenient for me. I chose one and went to get a ticket for it. Luckily, I decided to get my ticket in advance because it turned out that this bus does not exist. If I had gone there on the day, I would have been fucked.
You should also know that the bus and train stations are usually away from the centre of the city. In most of the cases, you will need to get a taxi to get to your hotel/hostel.
You might get bitten by bed bugs, or other insects even if you’re staying in a nicer place
True story, I’m sorry, but actually, there is nothing that you can do about it.
This doesn’t mean that this will definitely happen to you, of course. Anyway, you should have it in mind, lots of people are being bitten by something in Morocco, including me.
This is what you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco so you can prepare for it – I mean, getting an anti-insect spray or something.
Talking from experience – One morning, while I was still my friends, we all woke up bitten. To be honest, I don’t know if that were bed bugs, or what was it, or if it was the place that we were currently staying at. We were the only people at this place that were bitten, so that might not be the case. Actually, we read somewhere that it might take a few days for the bites to come up.
Tip – If you do get bites, you can use mint to ease the scratching. Just rub the bites with a fresh mint and you will feel relief right away.
You can’t take more than 1000 MAD in and out of the country
Moroccan currency is hard to find. I did find one place in Sofia where I could exchange as much as I am allowed to get in the country. Anyway, you can exchange your money at any major Moroccan airport.
If not, in the big cities, you can exchange your money almost everywhere. Some places even accept euros – accommodations, tours, etc.
Moroccans speak many languages
It’s always useful to learn a couple of words and phrases in the local language. However, in Morocco, you shouldn’t worry about any language barrier. Many Moroccans speak not just one or two, but three or sometimes even more languages.
Morocco has two official languages – Moroccan Arabic (Darija) and Berber.
French is used as a second language and it’s widely spoken. Nowadays, many Moroccans speak English as well. Spanish is also very common especially in the northern parts of the country and among the Berbers.
It’s easy and cheap to find a local SIM Card and stay connected
The internet connection in Morocco is shitty. The Wi-Fi’s are weak and in some places, you can’t even connect to them.
For me, it’s very important to stay connected and to be able to use internet (I know, I know, but I have to work.. ).
Even though the Moroccans mobile operators are not the best, the connection that they provide is fairly good. If you’re planning to travel in the country for 3 weeks like me, or even more, I would highly recommend getting a local SIM card.
I’ve bought my Maroc Telecom SIM Card from the street in Marrakech for only 100 Dh (less than 10 euro). That gave me enough mobile data for my whole stay. I even used my phone as a router to connect my laptop to it. I don’t remember how much MB exactly I’ve had but even if you run out of them, you can recharge.
You CAN find alcohol
Morocco is a Muslim country and alcohol is not that easy to find. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. You can absolutely find alcohol everywhere in Morocco.
Some Moroccans really don’t drink any alcohol at all but especially the young generation drinks and love to have fun.
Usually, alcohol is being sold in hotel bars and nightclubs. In these places, you should expect to pay a lot for a drink.
In big cities like Marrakech, Fes and Essaouira, you can find alcohol in big supermarket chains like Carrefour. There they have any kind of alcohol and it’s a lot cheaper than in the bars and clubs. In all those places, you can also find ”black markets” where they sell alcohol. You should just ask for it.
With another traveller, we found one bar in Marrakech where we’ve had whiskey. On the next day, we went to Carrefour and bought a bottle of wine that we drank in one of the parks in Marrakech. Something so ordinary and normal that you cannot see in Morocco.
Everything is far away
What do you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco is that everything is far away. With this in mind, you should plan your time in the country wisely.
I spent 3 weeks in Morocco and I don’t think that this time is enough. There are still places that I want to see, that I didn’t have the chance to visit. Example of a place like this is Dakhla. Dakhla is a city on the Atlantic coast in Western Sahara. When I found out that it takes more than 16 hours to get there from Marrakech, I quickly realized that it will be impossible to make it there.
The desert? On the trip to Merzouga, it takes two days to get there. You’re making lots of stops on the way and visit lots of other places so it’s fine. On the last day, though, when you’re going back to Marrakech, the route takes more than 9 hours.
Getting from Marrakech to Fes or the other way around takes 8 hours.
Vaccinations, visas and money
Do I need vaccines to travel to Morocco? – Some vaccines like Typhoid and Hepatitis A are recommended but it’s not mandatory to get any to be able to enter the country. Vaccines are a personal choice.
Do I need a visa to travel to Morocco? – Nationals of 70 countries can enter Morocco visa-free for up to 90 days. That includes all English speaking countries, except for South Africa, all EU citizens and other. Make sure to check if your country of residence is on the list of this 70 countries before booking your trip to Morocco. Also, make sure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the intended date of departure.
Money – The official Moroccan currency is dirham.
Although there are many tourist traps, Morocco can still be very budget-friendly if you be careful how you spend your money. My biggest expense was the desert trip and I’ve spent not more than 400 euros for 3 weeks (excluding flights).
If you’re planning to use ATM, you should call your bank before your trip as you’re transaction might be declined otherwise. There is also a transaction fee that depends on your bank but you can also check this in advance as well.
I’ve had all my money in cash, 1 000 dirhams and the rest in euros that are easy to exchange.
In Morocco, the power sockets are of type C and E. The standard voltage is 220V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If you’re a European citizen, they are the same and you don’t need a power converter. If you’ll be travelling to Morocco from somewhere else, you will most likely need one.
In Morocco is recommended to drink only bottled water.
Different local people were telling me that it’s only fine to drink tap water in Marrakech, others that it’s fine to drink tap water only in Chefchaouen. Anyway, you better stick to the bottled water just to be safe.
Usually, I’m a person who drinks only tap water and I’ve tried it in Marrakech, Fes and Chefchaouen and it was totally fine. That’s also a personal choice. It also depends on your body and how does it usually handle new foods for example. Do you usually drink tap water back home?
Do I need a travel insurance? – Travel insurance is highly recommended for any trip no matter the destination. You never know what might happen and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can get a quote and book yours for Morocco using the widget below.
So, that was what do you need to know before booking your trip to Morocco. Hopefully, this post, which is btw more than 3 000 words (Thank you for reading!) will help you to prepare better for your trip and will save you some unnecessary headaches.
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