France and Morocco: Booked!

Well, in 6 weeks I’ll be headed back to Europe – Lyon, France to be exact – for a week-long trade show with the company I work for. I’m excited to be traveling again, and am also looking forward to the vacation I tacked onto the end of the trip.

This fulfills one of my 2013 goals, which was to do one big trip this year. Originally I thought I’d be going to China, or Peru, or Nepal, or even Thailand… but it makes sense to take advantage of the company-paid flight to Europe and do something more local.

Which means, I’m going to Morocco!

I almost went to Morocco twice while living in Germany last year (once while visiting Malaga, Spain, and another was a tentatively planned trip), but in the end couldn’t justify going for such a short amount of time.

This trip will see me spend a total of 12 days in Morocco – 2 days by myself exploring Fez, and 10 days on a 12-person group tour with Intrepid Travel. I’m not really the tour group kind of person (I did it a few times in Mexico with my family, and wish I had planned it out myself instead), but Morocco is a bit intimidating for three reasons:

  1. I’m a single female traveling solo – it would be nice to travel with others and make some friends;
  2. I don’t feel like I have enough time to plan an amazing itinerary out myself;
  3. After doing some initial research, I don’t think the total cost of planning the trip myself will cost much less than if I just did a packaged tour.

To add on to #1, I’ve had a few female travelers tell me that while it’s safe to travel to Morocco by myself, I’ll likely get harassed a fair amount – even if I don’t stand out, and wear very conservative clothing. I’m okay with this, but it was a big reason why I decided to go with a tour group instead of opting for a solo trip. :)

xmsf_2013_0This trip will start and end in Marrakech. We’ll be exploring the High Atlas Mountains, checking out the Ait Benhaddou kasbah, journeying towards the Sahara Desert (including a camel expedition and camping under the stars – yes, please!), a trip out to the sand dunes, and finally traveling to a seaside town to hang out.

I think it’s the perfect mixture of adventure and relaxation – which will be ideal after a few months of stress at work. :) To start, I’ll head to Fez for 2 days by myself, then go to Marrakech and meet up with my tour group. Depending on flights, I could just end up skipping Fez altogether. But, that’s the plan right now.

All of my accommodation will be paid for with the tour, and some of my meals.

Here’s the estimated cost break-down for the 12-day trip:

Travel

$0 – Vancouver-Lyon flight
$0 – 7 nights accommodation in Lyon (# of days will fluctuate)
$60 – Lyon-Fez flight
$60 – 2 nights accommodation in Fez
$25 – Fez to Marrakech train
$1,205 – 10 day Intrepid Tour
$130 – Marrakech-Marseille flight
$0 – Marseille-Vancouver flight

Food

$350 – 3 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners (approx $14.50/meal)

Miscellaneous

$20 – souvenirs
$200 – excursions & extras
$100 – (general) miscellaneous & tips

TOTAL COST = $2,150

Expensive trip for sure. But I think it’s worth it. I’m not exactly sure how long I’ll be gone for in total, but I think it’ll be around 3 weeks. As for the cost, I anticipated whatever “big trip” I took this year to cost about $2500, so I’m coming in slightly under budget.

My hope is to keep this trip under $2,000 once I finalize and pay for everything. So far, all that I’ve booked is the Intrepid Tour, which will be fully paid for by a freelance cheque that I will receive this week. :) And as for the rest of the expenses? I’ll be looking to book them in the next week or so, and maybe (just maybe) I’ll be able to get away with using only freelance income to pay for the entire trip. That’s the goal, at least.

Has anyone been to Lyon, or any of the places I’ll be visiting in Morocco? Any must-sees, or travel tips?

About Krystal Yee

I'm a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I'm a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner's Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I'm not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.

19 comments

  1. I visited Marocco in 2009 with my mom, we only went to Agadir as it was for her work. I would love to go back and visit some more, since this was my first time outside of North America I wasn’t overly adventurous. We were not harassed to much and I stand out, very fair skinned with blonde hair and blue eyes. It is a beautiful country!! Enjoy!

  2. I think what you are spending sounds great! Sounds like so much fun, can’t wait to see pictures.

  3. Do you have specific websites you use when booking European flights?

  4. Morocco is a magical place, and i hope u enjoy your trip! I like how you specified your budget before leaving. It’ll help control expenses and hopefully nothing unforeseeable will happen that requires extra spending, as is often the case when travelling.

  5. Wow you’re in for an amazing trip (not that I’ve ever been)! Can I come? he.. Hope you have a great time!

  6. Wow~ Sounds wonderful and you get to fly there for free which is a pretty big in savings.

  7. I know someone who’s been to 43 countries or so and she told me one of her best experiences ever was camping under the stars in the Sahara. Lucky you!

    Lyon is the food capital of France… I’d be in heaven there!

  8. Can’t wait to see my $20 souvenir!

  9. Our only experience with Morocco was few hours in Tanger. Prepare for a DIFFERENT world, but such an picturesque one at the same time. The trip is indeed a bit expensive (not that much when you think about all the places you’ll see), but it’s surely worth it. Can’t wait to read articles about these wonderful locations ;)

  10. So jealous! Looks like a good cost for a 12-day vacation, not to mention a France-Morocoo vacation! I bet it will be so much fun! Post photos please.

  11. Wow, that sounds so worth it! I would absolutely love to do something like that. That’s also a really good price, kudos for taking advantage of that free flight.

  12. Super reasonable because of the transatlantic flight being covered. To keep things in perspective, I have earmarked $3000 for a 7-day trip (for two) from Halifax to Toronto this Fall!

    • Yes, it’s pretty reasonable considering my flight to Europe is covered (definitely wouldn’t be going otherwise), but adding all the expenses up at once sure is eye opening, haha!

      $3000 Toronto to Halifax for 2 people doesn’t sound too bad! But it always amazes me how much it costs to travel within North America.

  13. That trip sounds amazing. A gf of mine and I did a Machu Picchu trip with Intrepid Travel and it was incredible. If I was to do an adventure travel or a solo trip travelling with others, I would definitely go with them again.

  14. Let me know how this goes. I.’m thinking of dropping by Morocco too during my backpacking trip!

  15. Morocco is stunning destinations and there are some well price bargain you can get. Even private tour of Morocco does not have to be expensive especially if you go in group of 3 or more. There are some unique and beautiful riads, old kasbahs and auberges accommodation that one can not see anywhere else in the world. The scenery, the old towns, the culture and just the smells and vibrant colors makes Morocco beautiful and unique destination.

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