Packing for Morocco

Do as I say, don’t do as I do. Because no matter how sparsely I pack, I still bring too much.

It is completely feasible to travel through Morocco for 10 days during the warm season with just a couple of dresses/skirts, 2-3 shirts, 2 pants, 2-3 undies and a pair of shoes. It’s all possible because it’s so dry that when you do wash things out, they dry immediately! The colder months (through June in the north) make it more difficult because you’ll need a wrap and your clothes will stay wet longer after washing.

It’s nice to pack lightly since there are hills and steps everywhere. Personally I’m a fan of the backpack. I like the idea of everything in a small pack so I can quickly grab it and go. But I also need a bag for miscellany and technology. Actually, this is the bag that turns out to be heaviest and most critical. In it I keep: computer, iPad, cameras, chargers, guide book, toilet paper (a must!), soap, medicines/first aid, and water. Most public restrooms don’t have flush toilets let alone toilet paper. But even when you can find a flush toilet, it’s rare you’ll find the toilet paper – – unless you pay someone sitting outside the doors for some. Usually about 20dh. So keep some coins on hand as well.

I like to shop when I’m in the souks. Invariably I’m buying a tajine, or some other kind of pottery. Neither of which is easy to pack. So I like to bring an empty sack or duffle inside my backpack for that reason. But you’ll have to figure out your airline’s requirements for bags because you might be forced to check a bag or be ready to pay the fee for excess bags, which in some cases is less expensive than the cost of shipping your items home. It all depends.

What I’ve said so far isn’t just for traveling to Morocco; it’s pretty general information. The key part about Morocco is that it is a Muslim country and while it is more liberal-seeming than other Muslim countries, appropriate dress is still recommended. I’ve seen Westerners dress in shorts and tank tops and it just seems out of place. While I’m not a stickler on a knee or shoulder showing here or there, a cleavage should never be shown. The rule of the place is modest dress. Scarves are a good way to cover-up when you feel too bare. Skirts and dresses should be close to- or over-the knee. Tops and shirts should cover the shoulder. It’s not like you have to live in fear that one of these parts of you is going to show, but it’s important to be respectful and take care to cover as much as possible. That’s no easy task for me! My summer dresses are short and low but that absolutely doesn’t fly in Morocco and it actually can cause embarrassment for your host.

An example: My host made a comment one day “Chouia colorful!” Chouia means ‘a little.’ He was making a gentle statement about my too-colorful outfit. It drew too much attention on a girl who already doesn’t blend. Another time: I was a guest in someone’s home who is very conservative. Although I was dressed in what I thought was demure (and I really was), it wasn’t demure enough for the household. The host’s nephew brought a djellaba (long gown/dress) to put on and also asked me to wear a hijab (scarf) on my head. It was fun to wear the whole shebang so I enjoyed it. But these are examples of how I was making my hosts feel uncomfortable being dressed as I was. When in Morocco…

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About seejanesblog

I travel and then write about it. Now I've purchased a guesthouse (riad) in Marrakech, Morocco, so spend a lot of my time blogging about this experience.
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