Trip Recap: Morocco - Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Trip Recap: Morocco

This trip was amazing. I had such a great time exploring Morocco. The country is so diverse, and we covered so much ground in such a short amount of time. It will take me a while to really reflect back on everything that I saw, but it’s definitely one of my most memorable trips ever. I think it was a combination of the changing landscape, the people I met… and of course the delicious food that I ate that made it so great.

Speaking of food, I was pleasantly surprised at how many pescetarian food choices there were. I had assumed I would have to eat meat, but that just wasn’t the case. And granted, some of the dishes I ate were prepared with chicken stock (our guide said it was unavoidable, especially in the small villages)… but I did my best. And I had some amazing vegetable tagines (with couscous), Berber omelettes, beautiful salads, and when we were at the coast… so.much.good.fish. Seriously. I would go back to Morocco just for the cheap, amazing seafood. :)

Many friends told me that they hated Morocco because of all the harassment they received. One woman even told me she traveled with bodyguards the entire time. Yes, it’s true. I did get harassed a lot. Not only was I traveling solo for the first two days of my trip, but being Asian, I got a lot of comments and stares. Some of then acceptable, but most of them offensive. It was fine though, and I just ignored it all and focused on taking in all that Morocco had to offer.

I’ll post some photos here, but I also shared a bunch of photos I took on the GMBMFB Facebook page, so make sure to check it out if you have the time! :)

Tour vs. Independent Travel

This was the first tour I’ve ever been on before. It was small (12 people), but I was still hesitant that being part of a group would hinder how I like to travel. I also wondered how I would get along with the other people on the tour – if I didn’t get along with anyone, would I feel incredibly alone and isolated?

I was pleasantly surprised with the kind of people I met on the tour, and ended up hanging out with 4 of them on a regular basis while traveling. They were all single females, and it was nice to hang out with other people who were quite similar to myself. I ended up spending most of my time with one other girl (hi, Lizzie!), and it was like hanging out with a younger Australian version of myself. It was really weird. She has the same hopes and dreams and personality that I had 6 years ago when I started this blog, so it was really interesting to travel and interact with someone like that. Hopefully we will see each other again in the future. :)

The positives of a tour are:

  • The ability to access remote places
  • The confidence to be where there are no other tourists
  • A guide who can speak the local language
  • Built-in friends
  • It is a hassle-free way to travel

The negatives of a tour are:

  • You don’t get to travel at your own pace
  • 95% of the time, you eat at restaurants picked out by the tour leader
  • Not enough free time to explore
  • Some of the tour you might not find interesting
  • It’s more expensive than going solo

While I’m glad that I went on this trip as part of Intrepid, I probably wouldn’t travel with a tour group again. I think I’m too independent, and too fussy to deal with a set schedule. I want to feel free, and I want to do what I want, when I want. :) I would just have to do a lot more research and trust my instincts a lot more. This tour was great because we had access to remote villages that I otherwise would have never gone to myself. Plus, spending the night in the Sahara was just amazing… but those are things I could do on my own (or with a partner or a friend) if I had taken the time to really, really do my research.

Purchases

I bought a beautiful leather jacket, ballet flats, a weekend bag, plus gobs of argan oil products (so cheap compared to prices here in Canada!) … 4 bowls, a silver necklace, and a silver ring… and some spices. That all adds up!

Budget Breakdown

Well, I had intended to spend $2,150 based on this budget I had come up with before my trip. What I ended up spending was $2,501 – meaning I was over budget by $351. Not bad! I mean, it’s not good. I hadn’t really intended on spending money on any souvenirs for myself… but with all of the beautiful things to buy, I couldn’t resist. :) And I didn’t exactly break the bank, so I’m okay with this.

I also made a few errors and last-minute changes. My intention was to stay for 2 nights in hostels, but ended up staying for 3 nights in hotels. I did this for the convenience of having my own room, wifi connection, and feeling a bit more comfortable. In retrospect, I feel like I should have stayed in hostels for 2 of the nights. I also decided to fly roundtrip from Lyon, which made my airfare more expensive… and for some reason I didn’t even factor in transportation while traveling. I guess I figured I’d walk everywhere… but I still needed to take the train to and from the airports, there were miscellaneous taxi expenses (granted, they were very cheap), and I took the bus. :|

Morocco 2013 Budget

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.

5 comments

  1. Wow~ the trips sounds wonderful and exotic other than the harrassment part. Your leather jacket is gorgeous~ I’m too much of a chicken to go somewhere remote by myself. I’m probably more of a tour person.

  2. So fun! I love the bag and shoes most of all. I did a desert trip when I was in UAE this summer – it wasn’t somewhere I’d go on my own, but it was a neat experience.

    I’m not much of a tour person either (for largely the same reasons you listed), but I also wonder if there is a more free spirited tour company that I’d like. I only did one tour ever (my first big travel experience while on study abroad) and hated it SO MUCH. I’ve successfully used short day tours (a few hours on something I’m interested in) and “self guided” tour for a hiking trips (they help plan the route and book lodgings in mountain huts).

    Anyway, looks like so much fun. I’m glad you got the opportunity to do this!

  3. Thanks Krystal. Agree completely with your comments on the negatives of tour travel. In all fairness though I have to say we have never been on a tour so I’m comparing our own independent travel with a theoretical construct of what life on a tour would be like. Although we haven’t travelled as extensively as you, we like to do our own thing in our own time. Glad you “hooked up” with an Aussie.

  4. Thank you for sharing. Yes, traveling solo can be rewarding as well as traveling with group. But perhaps booking private tour is the way to go. You have great independence and flexibility yet you are being taken care of fully with your driver and don’t have to worry about the harass by others. These tours are generally tailored made to suit you interest, budget and all other needs.

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