Morocco, Land of Bartering

If you are looking for a place where your dollar will really stretch then look no further than beautiful Morocco. One of my favorite countries I have been to, and a grate place to do some budget traveling. The conversion rate between the USD and Moroccan Dirham is about 10 to 1, now that doesn’t mean any unless used in context. A full meal in Morocco costs about 30-60 Dirham at a mid range restaurant, which comes out to 3-6 bucks for a full meal. I beer is about 20-40 dirham, but Morocco is a Muslim country so good luck trying to find places to drink, it’s pretty hard and not worth it in my opinion. One of the best things about Morocco is that it is on a barter system.

When you are walking around the giant Bazaars in cities like Fez and Marrakesh and getting lost throughout the windin  g streets never even think about paying the first price they offer. You will be paying upwards of a 1000% markup on those items.Do not hire a tour guide to take you through the Bazaars either, you will manage just fine by yourself. It’s hard coming from a system where you don’t barter, but don’t feel afraid, the best advice I have is to throw yourself into a situation and start practicing. If someone has an item worth 150 dirham you should start off by offering them 20 dirham, start low, I mean really low, you will be amazed at how much they will come down in price. Also, once you are at a price you are comfortable paying, change your mind and say you no longer want it. Start walking away and you will be able to knock another little bit off of the price.

Haggling with Taxi drivers, is also acceptable, there is not a lot in Morocco that you can’t haggle for. However, It’s smart to get a feel for how much things cost before you start throwing out numbers trying to bring the price down, sometimes you could end up paying more for a service then it would have originally costed. The night trains are a great way to save time and money when traveling city to city in Morocco. You can get a sleeper car for about $15-20 dollars, which isn’t bad when the train ride is 12 hours long. Make sure you get there early to book a sleeper car though, if they sell out you can be in for a very very long night.

It’s important to avoid the tourist traps in places like Morocco, the believe there know that people coming in have a picture in their head of what Africa and Morocco look like. Don’t fall into the trap of taking a picture of the snake charmers or monkeys on the shoulders of handlers. It can be tough but it is much cheaper to order the local food then western food because you are going to be paying huge markups. Go in with the mindset of trying new things, because falling back to what you are used to eating or feeling is what will cost you the most money. This goes for traveling to any place that differs from Western culture, know that it will be different and embrace it. You will be a better traveler, person, and save money all at the same time.

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