Morocco was one of my favourite countries I had ever visited. I loved the unique culture, the beautiful landscapes and how vastly different each city and town was that I visited in my two weeks there. I have had so many people reach out to me since my trip to ask me for tips because they were also traveling to Morocco, and here are some of the things that are important to know and have in your back pocket!
You cannot purchase Moroccan currency in any other country than Morocco. They don’t allow for you to take their money in and out of the country, therefore you need to purchase your Moroccan Dirham once you arrive in Morocco. You can do this in a variety of ways at the airport or at ATMs or banks spread throughout the country. At the airport they have ATMs and also currency exchange desks. I always like to carry American or a common currency like Euros on me to directly exchange, but you can also just purchase currency too with your bank card (make sure you’ve called your bank prior to your trip to let them know you’re using your card in a different country). Before you leave Morocco, exchange your money back to your local currency or a common one that you can easily cash back at home.
One of the common questions you will get about Morocco is whether or not it’s safe for females. Morocco is culturally much different than more modern countries like Canada or the USA. Women aren’t treated poorly, but their cultures limit them to what they can wear and do. In countries like this, it’s common for Moroccan men to see Westerners and think that they are stereotypically more “available” (or the nice way of saying slutty) than the women in their country. This means, you’ll often attract unwanted attention unfortunately but that doesn’t mean Morocco is unsafe. Use your common sense like not walking around after dark at night alone, especially in unfamiliar or less busy areas, also, dress appropriately (more info on this below), and keep your valuables in safe places like a money belt, your hotel security box, or even one of these Waypoint scarves I recently reviewed.
Barter for your purchases
Do not, especially in medinas, pay the first price that a salesperson offers you when shopping for items in Morocco. It is common to barter in this country for goods and just like anywhere, they will quote you a really high price to start. Practice your bartering skills to get the price down lower, if you aren’t happy with the price they are stuck on, move on and leave the store, sometimes they will come running after you with a better price, or, there will always be another shop selling probably the same thing!
Hire a guide in the Fez medina
The Fez medina is a must-do for any trip to Morocco, however, once you enter this walled part of the city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll realize you’ve entered a maze and question if you’ll ever find your way out. The medina has hundreds of small alleyways, historical sites like the famous tanneries and it can not only be easy to get lost but also easy to miss really cool parts of the market. That’s why I recommend you hire a guide or join some sort of tour. A guide will be able to show you all the parts you need to see and help you make the most of your time. Also, you won’t have to stress about not being able to find your way out of this maze!
As mentioned previously, it’s so important to dress appropriately while traveling Morocco. I understand it can get deathly hot outside in certain seasons but shorts, short dresses, and showing off your shoulders is not a thing here. You’ll attract unwanted attention, and also culturally, it’s a faux pas so don’t make a fool of yourself. Be respectful of the local culture and opt for maxi dresses or skirts and cover your shoulders. Light coloured cotton clothing can actually keep you cooler in the summer months, and you won’t have a million eyes looking at you, and creepy men hitting on you. Please, please, please don’t be that person that decides to go against the culture for your own fashion statement. It just makes you look like a fool!
Don’t drink the water
This is probably common for you if you have traveled in any country that doesn’t necessarily have the safest tap water. People don’t advise to drink the tap water in Morocco so it’s important to always stock up on bottled water that you can easily find just about anywhere and it’s very inexpensive. This will help you avoid having any tummy issues while traveling. You also should use bottled water to brush your teeth and make sure to keep your mouth closed while showering!
There are a ton of different languages spoken in Morocco, and depending on where you are in the country you may hear some different ones. For example, in Tangier, in the north, you’ll hear a lot of Spanish given it’s proximity to Spain. The official languages of the country are Arabic and Berber, however, French is a common second language for Moroccans and often the language used while doing business, etc.
Keep change for the bathrooms
Bathrooms aren’t difficult to find around Morocco, however, you’ll need to usually have to give the bathroom attendant a few coins to use the restroom and often to get toilet paper. Cost varies from each washroom, however, it’s nothing more than a few cents. Just make sure you have and keep coins for this as they won’t give you change.
Morocco is such a fun and beautiful country with so much to explore. These tips will help you ensure you’re prepared for your trip and make the most of it.
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Melissa M.November 28, 2020 at 9:22 pm
Your page has helped clear up a lot of question. I do have one question though where would the best town/place be to stay? I am going next summer and I want top stay in a hotel that’s short distance to neighboring cities, price wise it seemed like casablanca was the cheapest choice to fly and stay but there’s not much to do there.
LaurenNovember 29, 2020 at 8:51 pm
Hi Melissa. Yes, I wouldn’t stay in Casablanca. Your best bet if you want a home base would be Marrakesh. It’s an incredible city and you could do some day trips from there. 🙂