Some Useful Things To Know


Ease of Travel

Morocco is very accessible to most travelers.  Citizens of the U.S., Canada, China, Japan, and most European countries do not need a visa to visit, and Morocco is easily accessible with a direct flight from nearly every major European city, as well as New York, Boston, Miami, Washington D.C., and Montreal. 


Language

Arabic is the official language of Morocco, though it is a different dialect than the modern standard Arabic. French is also widely spoken, and many signs and menus can be found in both French and Arabic. As you go further south, there will be more Berber tribal dialects, and you may even see signs in Arabic and Berber. However, many in the south are exposed to many different languages through tourism, so most hotels and restaurants will have staff that can speak and understand at least enough English to conduct business. The guides often speak five or six languages!


Religion

While Morocco is a Muslim country, the religion is not mandatory. However, it is still good to consider which religious holidays may be happening during your travel time. The holy month of Ramadan and subsequent festival of Eid changes dates every year.  During this month, most Moroccans will be fasting and abstaining from water from sun up to sundown, as well as praying several times a day. This can lead to some locations being closed during the day. It is also polite to avoid eating, drinking water, or smoking outside during this month.


CLOTHING AND ATTIRE

Morocco is also a conservative country when it comes to dress. While many women in Morocco choose to wear traditional djellabas and hijabs, there are also many women who wear contemporary clothing, with or without hijab. Visitors should keep their shoulders covered, skirts should be kept around knee length or longer, and overall, clothing should not be excessively tight or low cut. This is especially true as you go further south and into smaller cities, where none of the women wear Western clothing outside the house. However, if you are in one of the large cities and heading to a nightclub or discotheque, high heels and revealing attire are more commonly seen.


Money Matters

The Moroccan dirham is a closed currency, meaning you can only obtain it once in Morocco. There are many places in every city where you can change money, including large hotels. While credit cards can be used in hotels, only large restaurants and shops are able to take them. Most shopping is done with cash. While the exchange rate fluctuates, it is generally in the range of 9dh to $1US. You should try to ensure your always have some coins, as they come in handy for tipping.

Whether it is someone serving you in a restaurant, someone carrying your bags in a hotel, or the guide showing you around the city, tipping is expected. For smaller services, anywhere from 1-20dh is appropriate. Many restrooms have attendants who should be tipped 50cents to 1dh, and in some places, it is required for using the facilities. For guides and drivers, 50-100 dh per day per person is recommended. For performers, anywhere from 10-200dh is appropriate, depending on whether it is a street performance you want to just get a picture of, or Gnawa musicians hired for a private party.


Safety

When travelling, a lot of people want to know, "How safe is this place?" In Morocco, the answer is, "Very." Violent crime is rare in Morocco. The country takes great care to ensure the safety of residents and particularly tourists. What you do need to watch out for, however, is petty theft and pick-pocketing. Tourists can be seen as easy targets for pick pocketing and bag snatching, particularly in more crowded, urban settings, with the highest threat in Marrakech. However, simple steps can keep you from being a target, such as not carrying open bags, not keeping your money or valuable in a backpack, and always being aware of your surroundings. Traveling in groups can also help deter would-be thieves. Your guide will also be with you wherever you are, keeping an eye out for any potential threats. Marrakech, Rabat, and Casablanca are like other major cities in the world in that you need to be alert and cautious, lest you fall prey to opportunistic thieves. Overall, it is no more of a threat to visit anywhere in Morocco than it would be to visit New York City.