A lot of you messaged us after our trip to Morocco asking us to provide more info on our partnership with Encounters Travel and many of you also asked for some tips on visiting the beautiful country! So what better way to answer your questions than in a blogpost?
If you have been following our insta-stories, you know that we recently had the opportunity to explore Morocco – on a budget. We went on the “Morocco on a Shoestring” tour with Encounters Travel, which took us through the famous cities of Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, and Marrakech. The tour lasted 8 days and is highly recommended for anyone considering Morocco for their next trip!
We were highly impressed with Encounters Travels’ professionalism, historical knowledge, and the overall organization of the tour. The company has tours all around the globe, and it goes without say that we will definitely be considering additional tours with them in the near future!
Faizan and I had never taken a tour with a group before (since we tend to plan out our own trips and customize to our liking). So, to be completely honest, we were a little hesitant in taking a group tour at first. But we are so glad we did! Encounters Travel did not disappoint! They really took the stress out of trip planning. We didn’t have to worry about renting a car, getting scammed, getting lost trying to find the famous monuments (although we did get lost – more on that later), booking hotels, etc. It was all taken care of. We could focus on taking photos, making friends from across the globe (Italy, Greece, New York, UK), and immersing ourselves in the true Moroccan culture. It was truly a different experience. Although there was structure (waking up at 7 AM almost every day), there was also some free time in the evenings and afternoons for us to explore on our own. It was the best of both worlds.
This just goes to show that we should always be open to trying new things! If we went on our own, we wouldn’t have been able to see half of the places we got to visit with the tour! Now, let’s get into some details! We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you prepare for your trip to Morocco.
#1 Bargain, Bargain, Bargain!
I definitely learned a lot about bargaining on this trip. I got lucky because Faizan turned out to be a natural – me, not so much. Few tips for bargaining: start by telling them you’ll pay half of what they are asking for, walk away slowly once they don’t agree (wait for them to follow you), and keep exact cash in hand so you are able to show them your final price.
Be prepared to see cats everywhere. In restaurants, bazaars, salons, hotel lobbies – EVERYWHERE. They don’t bite, or bother you, but sometimes we did get startled as they would show up out of nowhere. Side note: I ended up having some nightmares about cats crawling around my room after the trip!
#3 Buy a SIM
We went with INWI and were very satisfied with the coverage. Even when we were in remote areas (near the Atlas mountains), the service was superb! Also, our SIM was a lifesaver when we got lost in the souks of Fes. We got separated from the tour group and if you’ve heard anything about the narrow streets and maze-like-layouts of the Souks in Morocco, you’ll know it was impossible for us to be reunited with our group without some help. So we remembered we had a contact number in our welcome package and were able to reach our tour guide. He found us within 10 minutes and ensured we didn’t miss out on the rest of the tour for the day!
#4 Dress Modestly
Since Morocco is a Muslim country, it is important to respect the religion and culture. Since we went in March, it wasn’t too hot, so people covered up for the most part. If you are traveling in the summer, just remember not to wear shorts/tanks to the mosques, as it is a form of disrespect. Also, consider keeping a shawl on you to ward off any unwanted attention, and to blend in with the locals. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised to see women in jeans, t-shirts, and heels. Not your stereotypical Muslim country!
#5 Authentic Restaurants
Our tour included 2 meals each day (1 breakfast and either lunch or dinner). Often times, the group would stop for lunch at famous (and pricey) restaurants to take part in their prix fixe menus or buffets. Although we did this on the first day, we quickly came to the conclusion that we would rather wander the nearby streets and eat with the locals – to get a true sense of Moroccan cuisine (and save some cash while we’re at it too)! This was probably one of the best decisions we made on this trip. We had an hour each day for lunch and we would ask locals for recommendations on the best kebabs, tagines, freshly squeezed juices, and pastry shops in the neighbourhood. People were so welcoming and friendly that we not only got a true sense of the cuisine, but experienced the Moroccan culture first hand as well.
Hope you found these tips useful. If you are interested in reviewing a detailed itinerary of our trip, you can find it here (see tour notes on the right hand side). Overall, we believe it truly depends on where you are going. If you are exploring Asia, Africa, or even Europe, we definitely recommend checking out Encounters Travel to help you plan your next trip!
Let us know if you have any questions!
/ In Partnership with Encounters Travel