Know Before You Go | Highlights of Morocco
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Highlights of Morocco

Know Before You Go

For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.

COVID-19

To view the most up to date entry requirements for this tour, please visit this page.

Travel Documents & Tour Preparation

Complete Your Checklist
Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 617-619-1411. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.

Travel Documents

  • Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
  • Visa: U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist or business stay of 90 days or less.
  • Travel Insurance: While travel insurance is not required, we strongly encourage all travelers to obtain coverage before departure. Check out cost-effective Travel Protection, designed to meet the needs of EF travelers, here.

Tour Preparation

  • Talk with your doctor: It is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.
  • Traveling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals.
  • Request a roommate: Double-check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
  • Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan for your mobile device so you can stay connected while on the road. Free Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
    • Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply and it may be slower than in the U.S.
    • Wi-Fi is not available on the bus.
  • Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.

Arrival Information & Transportation

Flight Preparation
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. Using your 6-digit reservation code, you can reserve your seat (this is typically available 30 days to 24 hours before departure) and check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, that’s okay, too. Regardless, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time.
  • If you sleep in and miss your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case.

Arriving in Marrakesh
If you booked flights with EF Ultimate Break, your transfer to and from the hotel when you arrive in and depart from Morocco is included. Note that you’re responsible for going through customs, gathering your luggage, and leaving the arrivals hall on your own. Your Tour Director will tell you where to meet them or another EF representative in the airport.

Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers
Your Tour Director will communicate through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!

If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.

Getting from A to B
Transfers between cities are via private motorcoach, and they can take anywhere between 2-8 hours with stops in-between. You’ll also receive a public transportation pass in most major cities where necessary. Transportation in cities that offer no pass may require more walking. Prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.

Note: Bring a great book with you to pass the time on transfer days. Try bringing a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting! We recommend The Sacred Night, The Last Storytellers, or A House in Fez

Health

General Recommendations
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But there’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:

  • Sleep: Flying across the globe, changing time zones, and being constantly on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs. If that means missing a night out for some well-earned rest, or having a little afternoon nap, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Be Prepared: We recommend bringing a small first aid kit including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
  • Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience, and there’s nothing quite like exploring a foreign country with a group of like-minded people. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Here are a few mindfulness apps you can take with you on the road:
    • Insight Timer: Meditation apps are very in right now. This one is especially amazing because there are 80,000 free daily meditations to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress.
    • What’s Up: If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, What’s Up can help you manage these feelings with interactive games, forums, and a thought tracking diary.
    • Talkspace: No need to make appointments or commute to a therapist’s office. Talkspace gives you 24/7 access to real, licensed therapists. You can talk, text, or video chat with them right from your phone.

Destination-Specific Information
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Morocco. However, we recommend you consult your physician or local travel clinic at lease 60 days prior to departure for the latest updates and entry requirements. See more tips for staying healthy below:

  • Drink only bottled water. Avoid tap water even when brushing your teeth or showering.
  • Temperatures in many of the places you're visiting can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit – hydrate and use sunscreen!
  • Certain medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) are banned in foreign countries. Consult your physician at least four weeks prior to departure to make sure any drugs you want to bring with you are legal.
  • Public restrooms in Morocco can be quite bare. We suggest carrying bathroom tissue and hand sanitizer with you. And be sure to keep some coins on hand, as you may have to pay to use public restrooms.

Safety

With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. But, it’s equally important for you to maintain your health and safety while abroad. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, drink plenty of water, get sleep when you can, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:

  • Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
  • Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
  • Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
  • At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi, and always have cash on hand.
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
  • Pick-pocketing is fairly common in bigger cities. Always watch your belongings and keep an eye out for one another.
  • Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411

Scams

Scams are prevalent in Morocco. Below we have listed a few of the most common ones, and tips for avoiding them.

  • Locals might approach you and offer their services as a tour guide. We encourage you to decline these offers, because often they will lead you to their family’s shop and expect you to pay for the tour services or make a purchase.
    • Similarly, people may offer to lead you where you want to go through the maze-like medinas or try telling you somewhere you're headed is closed and offer to lead you to a different attraction. In both cases, they will likely expect a tip afterwards.
    • If you need help with directions, asking a shopkeeper is a better option since they likely won't be interested in leaving their storefront.
  • Throughout your trip, your Tour Director may bring you to shops with prices that are higher than those you find while wandering the medinas. This is because your Tour Director can assure the authenticity of the items in those shops. You by no means have to make any purchases during these stops, but please be advised that you could be taking your chances with fraudulent products elsewhere.
    • Keep in mind, prices are usually still open for negotiation in more expensive places.
  • Please be aware that children can often be involved in scams as well.

Women in Morocco

Female travelers in Morocco may face treatment different from what they are used to back home:

  • Local Moroccan women are expected to dress modestly, especially in rural areas. In larger cities like Marrakesh and Fez, it’s more relaxed. Visitors aren’t expected to dress like Moroccans, but showing respect for the local culture goes a long way.
  • If you have hair that isn't black or brown, you may get more attention from locals. These aren't common hair colors in Morocco, so be prepared for looks or questions.
  • As a woman, it’s very common to be catcalled in Morocco. Years of feedback and advice tell us that it’s best to ignore the calls and keep walking forward. Even if they follow you a fair distance, remain calm and duck into the nearest shop for a moment.
  • Walking in groups of more than two, or with a man, will help deter harassment.

LGBTQ+ Community

Same-sex relations are illegal in Morocco, and being found guilty can land someone in jail. Although neither transgender nor gender non-conforming individuals are mentioned in this law, authorities often conflate gender identity with sexual orientation. Discretion in Morocco is highly advised for the LGBTQ+ community.

Packing

Your airline ticket includes one checked bag (approx. 27" x 21" x 14") but years of customer feedback tells us that the lighter you pack, the better. Double check the luggage size requirements on your airline’s website, but we recommend traveling with one small backpack/purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag. See more packing tips below:

  • A light jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing days
  • Sandals to keep cool during city sightseeing
  • Closed-toed shoes for activities in the desert
  • 2-3 pairs pants, shorts, or skirts
  • 4-5 shirts / t-shirts
  • 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine
  • Sunscreen (You can bring two travel-size sunscreens in your carry-on)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Phone or camera
  • Passport
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash
  • A power adapter – type “C” or “E”, or a staff favorite is the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)

Note: Pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothing you can easily layer to accommodate high and varying temperatures.

Electronics
Morocco uses type "C" and "E" electrical sockets. We recommend a universal adapter; the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com).

Money & Tipping

We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the travelers responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.

Currencies used:

  • Morocco: Dirham (MAD or dh)

Budgeting
Budget around $80-$100 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities.

Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour.

Managing Money
The Moroccan dirham (MAD or dh) is a closed currency. This means that you can only exchange your USD to the local currency once you arrive in Morocco. You cannot exchange to this currency in the United States, so we recommend exchanging your dollars to dirhams at a Bureau de Change in the airport upon arrival, at a local Morocco bank, or in most hotels.

You should also bring a debit/credit card with you, which you can use to withdraw cash at local banks if needed. However, note that cash is preferred in Morocco.

Tipping
For your Tour Director, we recommend tipping $44-$66 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined, plus tips for local guides.

Tipping is not customary in Morocco, but many locals just leave 1-2dh, for exceptional service for guides or taxi drivers, and 3-5dh in restaurants.

Language

Many Moroccans also speak French, Spanish, and English. However, Berber and Arabic tend to be their first and second languages. It’s fun and helpful to try your hand at the local language, but you don't have to try all of them! Here are some popular words and phrases in Arabic:

  • Hello: Salam
  • My name is (your name): Ismi (your name)
  • How much is this?: Bekam Hada?
  • Yes: Na’am
  • No:La’a
  • Thank you: Shukran
  • Where is the bathroom?: Ayn el-merhad?

Note: Download Duolingo or some language-learning podcasts to practice your skills, and use Google Translate to help you while on the road!

Local Life

Morocco is well-known as the “gateway to Africa”, and it lives up to its name. As you prepare to spend time in a new continent, country, and culture, prepare yourself for ancient cities, mouth-watering cuisine, and other-worldly architecture. Read on to learn more about Moroccan and Muslim culture and see specific tips to help you make the most of your trip.

  • Morocco is a Muslim country; 99% of its population identifies as Sunni Muslim, but religious minorities are widely respected.
  • Cities like Marrakesh and Fez are more relaxed with clothing, but Morocco is a conservative and religious country so you should be mindful of covering more “private” body parts on this trip.
  • Any gesture you make in Morocco should be done with your right hand. The left hand is considered impure and is saved for bathroom duties and cleaning chores.
  • If you are not Muslim, you are not allowed to enter most mosques in Morocco. You should also be wary of taking photos or peering through windows of mosques
  • Moroccans are extremely friendly and hospitable. It’s common to converse with locals and be offered a cup of hot mint tea or couscous.
  • Be considerate when taking photos of locals, and know that some people, especially women, might not want their photo taken at all, or will ask for a payment in return for the photo. Also note that taking photos of royal palaces, guards, and police is off-limits. When in doubt, just ask the person if you can take a photo of them.
  • Haggling is part of the culture, especially in the souks markets in Marrakesh. Be prepared for a lot of back-and-forth when purchasing an item, especially if you don’t want to pay 4x too much! A rule of thumb is to start bargaining at 1/3 of the price you’re initially quoted. Give it a try!

Food & Drink

You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips when dining in Morocco, and delicacies you must try in every city.

  • A favorite local pastime is people-watching in a street café with a coffee or mint tea. This is also the perfect way to kick back, reflect on your travels so far, and get excited for what’s to come!
  • Expect to be seated on a floor mat around a knee-high table, or on couches around a large round table when dining
  • Expect more food to be offered to you once you stop eating. If you are completely full, simply pat your stomach and shake your head while saying La, shukrran (“No, thank you”).
  • B’ssara: This is a cheap, local soup of dried broad beans with olive oil, cumin, and fresh bread
  • Tagine: A tagine is the clay cooking pot that serves a variety of dishes. Try a chicken or kefta tagine; You’ll find it at roadside cafes, restaurants, and homes! And of course, served with bread
    Couscous: We know you’ve heard of this one. Couscous is a fine wheat pasta rolled by hand. Usually it’s steamed and served over a stew of meat and veggies, garnished with a raisin preserve or buttermilk
  • Zaalouk: Zaalouk is one of many Moroccan vegetable salads. It’s is a smoked aubergine dip seasoned with garlic, paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Best served with… you guessed it… BREAD.
  • Mint Tea: Mint tea is THE drink of Morocco. It’s usually sweetened with sugar from a sugar cone, and poured into a tea glass from a tall height in order create the famous froth
  • Bread: If you’re on a no-carb diet, we have bad news. Moroccan khobz (bread) is typically served at every meal, and you may even see families baking their dough at communal wood-fired ovens around town
  • Olives: Morocco is the 5th largest producer of olive oil in the world, and you may get a small bowl of spiced olives before every meal, or find olives in almost every dish!

Free Time

If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log into your Online Account and do so on tour. You can also talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can help you get enrolled. If you’d like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time. Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add ons.

We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.

Bon voyage!

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