Planning a trip to Morocco can be a little bit overwhelming. Of course, we did not know that before we dove head first into planning it. Morocco definitely ranks as one of the more complicated trips we’ve ever planned, but really only because we wanted to travel a good bit around the country. If you are planning a trip to Morocco and only want to stay in one place, it would be pretty straightforward and simple. Today I’m sharing all the details that went into planning our trip to Morocco, as well as some of the questions I got during our travels.
Planning A Trip To Morocco
What was your itinerary?
We flew into Casablanca, went up to Fes, spent time in Chefchaouen, went out into the Sahara, spent several days in Marrakech and then went back to Casablanca before flying home. More details in Our Morocco Itinerary.
Did you feel safe?
I got this question more than any other question during our trip to Morocco. In short, yes I felt safe, but I should also say that 1. I was traveling with Dane and 2. Dane speaks a good bit of Arabic. Was everyone friendly? No. But not everyone is friendly in the United States either. The larger cities felt chaotic at times, but I never felt at risk or in danger, and certainly no less safe than I would in Honolulu after dark.
How did you get from place to place?
We booked transfers through Tangier Taxi and they were excellent. All of our drivers were friendly, reliable, on time and super knowledgeable about the country. I would 100% book them again. We also explored the option of public transportation (buses and trains), because it came recommended, but ultimately chose private car transfer, so we could make our own schedule and not be reliant on specific time frames.
How much does a rug in Morocco cost?
This is a really hard question to answer, because it is so dependent upon size, quality, style, age, etc. Moroccan rug shopping is a true art! My best recommendation would be to go in with a size and style that you love in mind, because otherwise the entire process will be completely overwhelming. When I tell you that there is a rug shop on every corner, I am not exaggerating. Everything will start to look the same, you’ll begin second guessing yourself and it can become frustrating.
We knew the sizes we wanted and the styles we liked. We ultimately purchased two very large Berber nomad-style Moroccan rugs (around $500/each), one small Beni Ourani rug ($150) and one flat weave with partial raised weave that is reminiscent of an Aït Bou Ichaouen style that is not as good of quality (real talk: we knew we couldn’t afford the best of the best on this one!) that cost around $150.
The key with rug shopping is never taking the first price you are given and never revealing which rug is your favorite until you’re ready to buy. Dane and I had a code word for stuff we loved, because we found it easier to negotiate without showing our full hand.
When we found the nomad rugs we loved (those were the two we had in mind prior to our trip), we asked for the price. The first price the rug dealer gives you is going to be HIGH! Like really, really crazy high. Offer half of what his asking price is and go from there on negotiating. Before we left one of our friends who lived there had told us that if you aren’t prepared to pay at least half of the original offer, cut your losses and walk away.
This was good advice! Additionally, you’ll be able to tell the higher end rug stores from the street vendor rug stores. Neither are better than the other, it is just totally dependent upon what you want and are willing to pay.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at Riad Fes, Kasbah/Desert Luxury Camp, La Mamounia, Riad Dar Anika and Four Seasons Casablanca. To note, the week after we stayed at our desert camp, we got word that all desert camps in Erg Chebbi and Merzouga were being dismantled by the Moroccan government, so definitely triple check before booking anything!
How did you bring home souvenirs?
Dane and I knew this would be a big shopping trip for us, so we planned ahead. We packed several large duffel bags in our backpacks that we could fill along the way. Admittedly, I was not prepared for just how much shopping would go down in Morocco! Read more: Shopping In Morocco
How did you send back large items from Morocco?
We purchased a DHL crate to ship the larger items home (furniture, lanterns, etc).
**UPDATE** As of 3 weeks post trip, we still had not received our items, so we tried contacting the store owner who demanded more money. This has become an ongoing dispute and issue with our credit card, so not sure I would do it again!
What did you pack?
My Morocco Packing List is hopefully helpful, but let me know if you have any questions. Basically – conservative and simple!
How far in advance did you start planning?
6 months. I shared before that this trip required a good bit of research and intense planning, but I’m glad we did it, because we got to see nearly everything we set out to given the time we had.
What kind of camera do you use?
I took all of my camera gear on this trip except the drone (no drones allowed in Morocco) and most of the Instagram stories I shared were taken on my phone and edited on the fly. I’m lucky that Dane takes and edits photos, too, so we can share!
What is a good ballpark budget for a trip to Morocco?
This is also a tricky question to answer — how many cities do you want to visit? Where are you staying? Will you be shopping? Can you get a good deal on airfare?
Like Kenya, Morocco can be as affordable or as expensive as you set out to make it. We got a very cheap deal on airfare (less than $1k total from Hawaii), so we splurged in other areas.
We found the riads and food to be extremely affordable. Our car transfers between cities with Tangier Taxi were between $150-$350 each way, but buses and trains are much, much cheaper. Our desert excursion was all inclusive (guide, car/transfer, Kasbah stay, desert camp stay, camel trek and food) and was about $550/per person (without tips).
Our big splurges were staying at La Mamounia (about $700ish/night) and shopping.
How long was the flight from Hawaii to Morocco?
I wish it was direct, but sadly – not so much! We flew from Honolulu to Chicago (8 hours), Chicago to Montreal (2 hours), and Montreal to Casablanca (8 hours). We also have a 10 hour layover in Chicago and a 4 hour layover in Montreal. On the way home, we flew Casablanca to Montreal (8 hours), Montreal to San Francisco (6.5 hours) and then San Francisco to Honolulu. In San Francisco we had a 14 hour layover.
Hopefully this was helpful insight for anyone who is planning a trip to Morocco or thinking about planning a trip to Morocco! If you have a question I didn’t answer, feel free to drop it in the comments 🙂