Travelling alone to a foreign country as a female can be challenging. Some countries are more female-friendly than others, allowing women to roam freely without cultural boundaries. Some countries are generally just safer than others, where the crime rate is lower regardless of how you travel. So when it comes to travelling to Morocco, many aspects need to be considered. Here are some must-read tips for solo female travellers going to Morocco.
Money in Morocco
Moroccan money, called Dirhams, can only be exchanged within the country and the country kinda takes advantage of this. When you first arrive at the airport you will find a Global Exchange window right away. I made the mistake thinking this was the only place to get money in the airport so I waited in line to do the exchange. They tried to convince me to put all of the money on a debit card instead of getting cash and talked super fast and quick when trying to have me sign paperwork. I ended up getting half on the card and half in cash, not realizing the large fee they charged me in the small print.
The positive part about getting your money on a debit card is that it is safe from getting stolen. The bad part though is that if you don’t use all your money, it’s a bit difficult to get back. Plus, they charge you for the card without really telling you. Female solo travellers, you need to do your research before you decide what route is best for you.
To Travel to Morocco Means to Cover up
One way to get respect from Moroccans while also making your time easier is to cover yourself up with a scarf. If you are a blond white woman like myself, you stick out like a sore thumb, making yourself a target to everyone. I went to souks 3 times in Marrakesh. The first time without covering up and I was targeted and harassed left and right.
The last 2 times I covered up with a scarf and the experience was completely different. Yes, I was still called at and followed from time to time, but it was nothing like the first day. I even received compliments from men for being respectful with my cover-up. I highly recommend a scarf while solo travelling in Morocco.
Exploring Alone as a Female Solo Traveller
Before I left for my trip, many people made me very nervous to never be by myself in Morocco. As someone who has travelled alone to many similar countries, walking alone is something I have experience with and didn’t really worry me. If you are leaving your hotel alone, the hotel workers are very honest and will guide you on what streets to walk or stay away from. From advice from each of my hotels, I walked to and from places in Casablanca, Tangier, and Marrakesh with never having a problem. Don’t be afraid to explore alone, just be smart about it.
Wear a Fanny pack
Things can get grabby in Morocco when walking in busy areas, and it can be a bit difficult to see where hands are at all times. Wear a fanny pack or your backpack in the front of your body and cover it up with your scarf, or sweater. It is much harder to get pick-pocketed when they can’t actually see where they are reaching or unzipping. I also kept my hands over my backpack when walking through crowds. This is not as necessary if you are out with a guided hike or tour. Just mostly when walking through busy crowded areas where it is more likely for crime to happen.
To Travel to Morocco Means Get a Guide
So, yeah.. GET A GUIDE! Not only do they show you and narrate every fun fact you never thought you would ever know, but they also act as a shield from people you don’t necessarily want to encounter. There is no way to learn about a new country like learning it from a local first hand.
Half the price in Morocco
I am the worst at haggling. It doesn’t matter what country I’m in, I know what I am supposed to do but at the end of the day, yeah.. I feel sucked in. Hopefully, you are better at it! Go at least half of what they are offering. The best trick I learned was to just walk away. They will come chasing you in an instant because they know what they are trying to sell you is something you can find all across the markets. DON’T BE ME! Haggle 🙂
When you Travel to Morocco Keep an Eye Out For Kids in the Medina
To travel to Morocco means surviving the major markets watch out for those cute kids trying to sell you something or compliment you. Yeah… they are like scam artists in the making for the most part. The second I even acknowledged one trying to sell me something as I walked to my cab, 2 others came into my face and followed me for over 5 minutes trying to sell me some random trinket. Though I kept telling them to go away and ignored them… they refused. It wasn’t until I was getting ready to get in the cab that a man across the street came and smacked one of the kids. These kiddos were stealing from my fanny pack and all my money was falling out.
I was very thankful that stranger saw and helped me out by smacking them and grabbing my money off the floor to give back to me.
Let me state, I am in no way okay with smacking kids, but I am glad there was an adult to put them in their place when taking advantage of me.
If kids approach you and won’t leave you alone once you try to walk away, keep in mind they most likely have not so nice motives.
I believe they are raised to do this to tourists as a profession, and I really don’t blame the kids. I blame the scam artist parents teaching them to behave this way.
Regardless, Moroccans rely on tourism to fuel a large chunk of their economy which gives them motive and passion to help out tourist, guide them in the right way, ultimately help them out. It is the small percentage of scam artists that give the whole country the wrong reputation for being shady. Those bad seeds do not represent the majority of Moroccans you will meet who are really sweet helpful people.
Don’t Interact with Randoms
There is an unspoken rule when you travel to Morocco that if you give someone attention or allow them to help you out in any way, you therefore now owe them. They provided a service, therefore, you now need to pay. I read about this before I left for Morocco, so I knew better than to interact with strangers trying to tell me that they will help me go somewhere. Or often they will tell you that the street is closed and they will guide you to the right place. Most of the time these people are just trying to get money. The problem that sucks about this is the fact I actually got lost in the labyrinth of the souks. I was so annoyed and used to having scam artists bug me, I rejected all advice and directions from the genuine storekeepers really just trying to help me out.
It’s hard to tell the difference, but the general rule is if they work at a shop they are more likely trying to help you than some random guy waiting on the corner being aggressive. Once again, most Moroccans care about you, want you to embrace the culture and food without wanting anything in return. Unfortunately, when it comes to walking into a Medina, you will encounter these guys you need to ignore.
Sometimes with travel to Morocco can seem tricky, but just trust your gut!
Make Friends with Other Solo Travellers
One of the best parts of solo travel is the ability to meet cool people. German? Amish? who cares it’s the best. Not only do you learn about life from making friends with other travellers, but you might also actually just make yourself a new life long friend.
Overall, Morocco is a beautiful and welcoming country for women solo travellers. There are some aspects to watch out for yet equally many other things to embrace.
Like every trip as a female solo traveller. Do your research, be prepared, get excited, and have the best trip of your life in Morocco!
<3 Hot Mess