Morocco

Introduction

Welcome to Morocco! 

Experience the desert, mountains, small villages, and big cities of this North African country as you explore Morocco like a local.   

Meander through colorful bazaars, snack on Moroccan delicacies, and stroll through tranquil courtyards. Trek to a remote village in the High Atlas mountains and embrace the Berber culture at an authentic homestay. Ride a camel to the edge of the Sahara Desert and camp for night under the stars.

Your Moroccan experience will take you from the former imperial city of Marrakech to the caramel-colored oasis town of Ouarzazate. Along your journey you will be stopping at tiny villages and taking in marvelous vistas of Morocco’s magnificent landscapes.

Duration: 8 days, 7 nights

Start: Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) -- Marrakech, Morocco
To ensure included transportation: plan to arrive on Day 1 before 4:00 pm.

Finish: Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) -- Marrakech, Morocco
To ensure included transportation: plan to depart Day 8 after 12:00 pm

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration–-please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions. 

What's Included

  • 8 days/7 nights accommodation in riads, desert camp, and guesthouses
  • 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners
  • Guided walking tour in Marrakech, Imlil, & Aroumd villages
  • Guided walking tour though Jemaa El Fna in Marrakech
  • Trip Leader led orientation walks in Marrakech and Ait Ben Haddou
  • Entrance to Bahia Palace & Photography Museum in Marrakech
  • Cooking class in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Guided mountain trek to the village of Aroumd
  • Experience the Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Sunset & sunrise camel rides
  • A short walk through Todra Gorge
  • A chance to taste authentic, home-cooked Moroccan cuisine
  • Private ground transportation throughout the whole trip
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival & Airport drop-off upon departure 
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet kick-ass people
  • Access to the Under30Experiences community  

Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Marrakech.
Optional activities are not included.

Highlights

  • Experience Marrakech like a local 
  • Stay in a traditional Berber homestay
  • Discover the High Atlas Mountains and Erg Chebbi sand dunes
  • Make Moroccan dishes with a hands-on cooking class 
  • Camping experience in the Sahara Desert

Is this Trip for You?

If you’re interested in getting a taste of the local Moroccan life, then this trip is definitely for you! Your Trip Leader will show you local secrets and take you to places locals love to go.

There will be days with long drive times throughout this trip. These longer drives will be broken up with stops at villages, giving you a chance to experience rural Moroccan cultures.

This trip will have a good mix of guided activities as well as free time, allowing you to get the best of both worlds–somebody to show you around each location and the freedom and flexibility to enjoy each city the way you choose. 

Age requirement: 21+
-Group size: 8-14
-Physical rating: Moderate. You will trek to a remote mountain village carrying an overnight bag, not your main luggage. There will be two camel rides during your stay in the desert.

Travel Community

Before your trip you'll have the opportunity to join a custom Facebook Group and connect with others members of your group. Many travelers meet in the airport, or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a country after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment, where people feel safe to truly be themselves.

After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni, and part of our larger online Travel Community where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours, to hikes, to outdoor movie nights.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Breakfasts will be served at your hotel. Dinners are enjoyed in local restaurants or directly at your hotel or guesthouse. 

Sample Breakfast Menu:

  • Omelets, olive oil, jam, honey, cream cheese 
  • Msmen (Pan flakey break), Beghrir (Moroccan savory pancake ), Batbout (Moroccan pita bread)
  • Mint tea, milk, and coffee.

Sample Dinner Menu:

  • A mixture of Tagines (Veggies, Lamb with prunes, Chicken with olives and preserved lemon, meatballs and tomato sauce, Berber omelet)
  • Salads
  • Seasonal fruits as dessert or Moroccan pastries
  • Mint tea

Vegetarian meals are quite limited to vegetarian couscous and tagine or omelettes. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets.

We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Some meals can be modified for special requests and food allergies.

Transport

You will be traveling by private, locally-owned, ground transportation. There will be early departures on some days in order to optimize time.

  • Private air-conditioned ground transportation to and from the airport (Included)
  • Private air-conditioned ground transportation throughout the trip (Included)

Taxis and other public transportation are not included unless specified on the itinerary.

Accommodation

You will be staying in shared rooms in riads, desert camp, and guesthouses for the duration of your trip. 

Please be aware that rooms and service in Morocco can differ to Western standards. Some hotels provide air-conditioning but it doesn’t always function.  For hotels that do not have air-conditioning, a fan will be available.

You will be spending one night in a tent in a desert camp. There will be public bathrooms for use at camp. 

Laundry is available at some hotels for an additional fee. Ask your Trip Leader for details.

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality. Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender. Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability (for an extra charge).

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory in order to participate in any of our trips.

When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all travelers must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of $200,000 USD for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please ensure that all the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

We recommend using either Wanderwell or World Nomads to purchase your policy. The Wanderwell “Preferred Plan” or the World Nomads “Explorer Plan” will cover all included activities on U30X trips. Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, selected by Under30Experiences.

If you have travel insurance with your credit card we require proof of purchase of the trip in the form of a receipt or credit card statement on a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage, and emergency contact telephone number.

Cancellation Policy

Very Flexible

Give us at least 30 days notice and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 30 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company as they may cover you for some expenses. We are not able to transfer trips or hold experience credits within 30 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of the Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eateries, and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!

  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill where clean water is available.
  • Bring a reusable straw to limit the amount of single-use plastic waste.
  • Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping.
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment. 

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Below includes our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with!  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and organically inspired when possible.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON DRESS ATTIRE: Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home.

Passport & Visas

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the last date of your trip. Please consult the U.S. Department of State with any more questions.

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

We recommend you don't drink tap water in Morocco, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors, drinking the tap water can result in illness. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about two to three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhea blockers are recommended for you to pack in your personal first aid kit.

Please be aware that the desert sand and dust can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma, even occasionally, we recommend having your medication with you at all times as Trip Leaders cannot administer any medication from their own personal supply and it may not be readily available while you are traveling.

Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads and has a minimum of $200,000 USD coverage.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling regarding physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Morocco from the United States but the Center for Disease Control suggests routine vaccines for all travelers. Required vaccines should go through CDC, recommended vaccines should be through your doctor.

More specific health information for travelers to Morocco can be found at the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Money & Currency

We suggest bringing $350 USD in cash to be used in establishments that do not accept credit cards. 

This is not a total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your own spending habits for additional expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

The official currency in Morocco is the Dirham (MAD). 

ATMs and exchange bureaus are available in Marrakech. Although you can withdraw cash from any ATM, it's a good idea to come with some local currency just in case. Exchanging money in the High Atlas Mountains is very limited. 

Local restaurants, markets and hotels will only accept cash as payment. Please make sure you only use banks, licensed money exchangers or hotels. We also suggest you keep your receipts. 

Remember to call your bank and credit card company and let them know you'll be traveling overseas.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange App.

Safety & Security

While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling:

  • Women should exercise caution when travelling in Morocco.  It is advised to dress moderately, with arms and legs covered, so you won’t attract the wrong kind of attention.  It is not advised to walk alone on the streets at night. Always use the buddy system.
  • Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home.
  • Avoid isolated areas when alone at any time of day.
  • Make sure you have the address of your hotel in the event that you're separated from your Trip Leader.
  • Be cautious of pickpockets and petty theft, especially in touristy areas. 
  • Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance, and passport with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.
  • Keep your passport and any valuables locked in your hotel room. Don’t leave valuables unattended. Lock your door, even when you are inside your room. 
  • Should you encounter any inappropriate behavior, inform your Trip Leader immediately.

US Citizens please consider registering with the US State Department's “SMART Traveler Program” who can contact your family in case of an emergency.

Weather

The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summers, from May to September, can be very hot, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those who are not used to the heat. Not all hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. A hat is essential.

cultural information

To respect local dress codes and customs, we recommend dressing more conservatively than you do at home.

  • Try to wear shirts that are loose and cover the shoulders and stomach. It is common for Moroccans to wear shirts with sleeves past their elbows.
  • Wearing long pants is the norm. Though younger Moroccans are wearing shorts more often these days, the custom is to wear long pants.
  • It is very uncommon to see locals wearing sleeveless t-shirts. Please cover up when out in public.
  • To respect the local conservative culture, please avoid wearing short skirts and shorts

Tipping

It is appropriate to leave a tip in Morocco if you’re happy with the services provided. 
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants: leave the loose change. For up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip, you may at times have a local guide in addition to your Under30Experiences Trip Leader. We suggest $3 USD per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however 10 MAD per person per day is generally appropriate.

Mint Tea

Mint tea is the hallmark of Moroccan hospitality, and it's a sit-down affair that takes around half an hour. If you have the honor of pouring the tea, pour the first cup back into the teapot to help cool it and dissolve the sugar.  Starting from your right, pour each cup of tea to the people in your group.

Alcohol

Morocco has a cafe culture rather than a drinking culture. Alcohol is available in big cities and in areas that cater to tourists. Please be advised that drinking alcohol in public is frowned upon and extremely disrespectful if practiced near a mosque.

Key Phrases in Morocco:

  • Hello - As-salamu alaykum 
  • Good evening - Masa' alkhayr 
  • Good night - Tusbih ealaa khayr 
  • Goodbye - Beslama
  • Please - Afwan
  • Thank you - Chokran
  • You’re welcome - Chokran Ala  Wajib
  • Yes - Ah (The `A` is long vowel)
  • No - La

Optional Activities

Optional Activities in Marrakech 

  • Majorelle Gardens - 70 MAD ($8 USD)
  • Palais Badi - 70 MAD ($8 USD)
  • Saadian Tombs - 70 MAD ($8 USD)
  • Medersa Ben Youssef - 40 MAD ($5 USD)
  • City cycling tour - 350 MAD ($40 USD)
  • Street food tasting in the Old Medina - 605 MAD ($70 USD)

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes, but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself, or ask.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with a different way of living than you’re used to,do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and alcohol consumption.If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Trip Leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because they want you to have a good time!

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.

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