FAQ TRAVEL QUESTION

In English, we spell the word: Morocco. But in Arabic, there are no vowels, so it's really anybody's guess. If you can pronounce it, that's more important than if you can spell it correctly.

Morocco, Morrocco, Morroco? Which is correct?

In English, we spell the word: Morocco. But in Arabic, there are no vowels, so it's really anybody's guess. If you can pronounce it, that's more important than if you can spell it correctly.

Do I need any vaccinations before I go?

While this is always a personal choice, the answer about mandatory vaccines in Morocco is NO. For many people, they prefer to err on the side of safety (and the CDC recommendations), and get inoculated against such fun things as rabies and hepatitis (A & B both!).

What's the local currency? Do they take credit cards?

The Moroccan Dirham (DEE-rahm). It's been worth between 11¢ and 13¢ since about 2010, so it's a good bet's about 12¢ per Dirham. Remember that you will get money out of an ATM in dirham, and that you will often be charged a foreign transaction fee of about 3 percent by your bank, whether you get cash out or use a credit card. This dirty little secret can add up, so make sure you budget for it. Note that some credit cards have no foreign transaction fees.

What language do they speak?

The Moroccans speak a fascinating mixture of Arabic, Berber, English and French - a patois for which we have perhaps only Creole in the US as a comparison. In a single sentence, you are likely to hear several languages, as in, "Mabruk! Welcome, haltu redu café e thé?".

Do they drink/do drugs/party?

Moroccans, though most are devout Muslims, seem to do all of the above. Hashish is quite common in Morocco, and it's easy to get alcohol at many bars despite the Muslim stricture against it. In bigger cities, like Casablanca or Marrakech, you can find bars and nightclubs where they like to party until the wee hours.

Should I buy travel insurance?

These days, with things going haywire with world weather, it's probably a good idea. But remember you probably don't need a million dollar evacuation clause; you can probably see a local doctor in Morocco for whatever ails you locally, at a fraction of the cost of what it would be in the States. Almost all hotels these days have a doctor on call; just remember that the in-room visit may be a little pricy. But think of the travel story you will have! Medical insurance will often reimburse you, but note that if you are really concerned, get a policy that covers medical issues fully so that they will send a nurse. Note that the travel insurance you buy for a few dollars with your plane ticket may not cover you fully for your trip, especially if you're not on a tour. So read the fine print -- you have a short cancellation period once you purchase the insurance.

Do I need a visa to get in?

Almost all English-speaking countries (with the exception of South Africa) require no visa to enter the country, and visitors can stay up to 90 days, which is quite generous. Please note that your passport expiration date MUST be after the date of your intended return if you are a US Citizen, and if you are coming from England, it must be valid for 6 months after the intended date of departure. So check with the Moroccan embassy online in your own country just to be sure. Many countries are moving over to this second, stricter requirement, so it's best to always ensure your passport is up-to-date.
You'll need one blank page in your passport for the entry stamp which they will add at customs.

What kind of power converter do I need?

f you're coming from Europe, it's usually the same. If you're coming from England or the US, it's the kind they use in Europe, so yes, you will need a power converter. Note that it gets pretty complicated from here on out, as there are both 4mm and 5mm plugs, and some of the newer sockets use a grounding (third) pin. Many cafes will allow you to charge your device as well as having the correct converter to do so, all for less than USD $1, so if you are in a pinch, consider asking the locals.

Will my cell phone work there (and cost more than I earn in a month to use?)

Like many countries in the Middle East, it will be far cheaper for you to buy or bring a small cell phone with no bells and whistles and get a local number, than it will be for you to use your own cell phone, which will likely cost hundreds of dollars in extra roaming charges and fees before you are done. To give you an example, for around USD $20, you can get a phone, a local SIM card, and about an hour of talk time. Trust me, it's cheaper. Ask at your hotel, ask your tour guide, etc. It won't be the first time they've gotten the request. And, bonus! Your excursion to get a local cell phone is another great travel story in the making!

What food will they have there, and can I eat fresh fruits & veggies and drink the water?

Unlike the US and UK, which are moving rapidly to packaged foods, even for staples such as fruits and veggies, Morocco will have almost exclusively local produce. As a result, the selection will be smaller than perhaps you are used to, but most of it will have been grown, harvested, and brought to your table the way it would have been in the old days - fast and without any real processing. If you're worried about nasties in fresh stuff, do what the locals would do: squeeze a good quantity of lemon or lime juice on it. I guarantee there will be fewer chemicals on your salad than at McDonalds at home, and the food will taste fresh and delicious. Be smart -- if you're eating from a street vendor, you're taking your chances (that said, I've had amazing meals from a cart pulled by a donkey) and they have no regulations or even refrigeration sometimes. If you have a funny tummy at home, pack charcoal tablets and plan on eating yoghurt in Morocco to get some probiotics. Enjoy the local cuisine - that's one of the main reasons you went!

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