From my latest trip to Morocco, I can say that, apart from it being a great adventure, I have learned a lot of valuable information about ‘travelling smart’. In essence how to save money, and have a more unique ‘live-like-the-locals’ kind of experience.
Find alternatives to a hotel
While I was staying in Morocco I made the choice to stay in a Riad (a traditional Moroccan luxurious house) instead of a hotel. The experience in the Riad was amazing; it felt like I was being hosted by a family. There were only a handful of people working there and I got to meet all of them and chat with them from day one. They were extremely friendly and polite, not only in terms of serving you inside the Riad, but also in terms of giving you advice on the legitimacy of travel deals, how to get around in town or where to eat. If you ever want to get the feel of living among the locals, your best bet is to stay in traditional accommodation, or to rent an Airbnb in the heart of the city that you’re visiting.
Eat where the locals eat!
On my first day I had dinner at a typical tourist attracting restaurant (people greeting you at the front, explaining you the menu and trying to convince you to sit inside). The food was ok but it was missing the traditional feel, plus most dishes seemed overpriced. However, on my last day there, I had the chance to eat at a local restaurant. I could tell that by the number of locals sitting down to eat there, as well as the menu not being in English. It is not an exaggeration to say that the food was 10 times more original, as well as having a homemade taste. The taste brought something familiar to the mind (like grandma’s food!) and the prices were extremely low. With only 5 pounds, it was possible to buy a such a big amount of food, that you were bound to be full.
Bargaining can be acceptable
My Morocco experience involved a lot of bargaining: From activities and tours bought, to clothing and jewelry, it was the normal thing to do before you bought anything. If other people tell you that they bargain in that particular place, then it is pretty safe that you can and should too. Some items or services are purposefully overpriced at first, as the sellers already know that there is going to be a different price settled later. In open markets, all you can do is pretend to walk off dissatisfied with the price and you will most likely be called back to negotiate paying one third of the amount.
Be cautious when receiving offers from strangers on the street
However, it is safe to say that people on the street will not guide you or show you the way to the place that you are looking for, for free. If you get lost and someone offers to help you find your way, you are most likely expected to pay them afterwards. Of course, it is up to you to choose whether you pay them or not, or how much, but if you are travelling alone, you do not want to put yourself in the difficult situation of having to deny money to a stranger.
Most of us pack a lot of clothes for traveling, thinking we’d like to plan outfits for every single day of our vacation. That may be a good idea if you are just traveling to a tourist resort or when you are on vacation to relax and sit by the beach. However, when you’re planning to explore a new country, you are most likely going to have all your days there packed with activities. From excursions to nearby towns, to something extreme like quad biking in the dessert or climbing up a mountain, you won’t have much time to think of what you will wear. Your suitcase is best to be packed with comfortable and practical outfits, to get you through the various situations. Plus, you will have additional space in your luggage for gifts or other things you might buy there.
These are just a few suggestions about travelling in a different continent. I am sure the more an individual travels, the more they get to explore new cultures, thus accumulate ‘’tips’ on how to make travelling easier and more fulfilling. We really hope this advice might help you with future travels and we’re wishing you good luck with your next adventure!
Text by Elpida Kominanou
Picture research by Donna Darafshian, featured image taken from Pinterest.