I know it’s not the best time to publish a travel post during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I meant to do this to document and as a reference for others.
These are difficult times. Yet, let’s not lose hope, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you need to. 🙂
Stay at home, if possible, to help flatten the curve. Do it for your loved ones and the people around you.
I didn’t expect I’d travel to Morocco (last year). Our initial plan required us to get two visas, and the agencies I talked with weren’t helpful as much. A friend suggested Morocco because Philippine passport holders have visa-free entry. I’m glad we went there instead. 🙂
Since we didn’t need visas, I just had to get flights and an itinerary (through a tour agency). Still not easy, however.
We traveled from Israel to Morocco. Our travel dates were from the 26th to the 31st of December. We were in Israel to spend Christmas and New Year with the family, while Morocco was a side trip, making the most of our vacation. There are few commercial fights, as far as I can remember, that fly to Morocco, most of which have at least 1 layover. We flew with Turkish Airlines and Royal Air Maroc for the first leg and second leg flights, respectively. This flight is also available from the Philippines.
Gotogate was always the first result in Google when I looked for flights. They also had the cheapest fare choices compared to other flight finder sites, and that’s where I found the option to fly with Turkish Airlines and RAM.
I’ve flown several times with Turkish Airlines. Their service has been consistently good. Their toiletry pouch has the travel essentials (including lip balm), and they have a basket of snacks and water that passengers can just get from.
RAM, on the other hand, is a government-owned airline. The airplane we flew in was new, and they had the most food serving I’ve ever had from any airline I’ve ridden.
Itinerary for 5 days, 5 nights
It’s 5 days and 5 nights because I included our first night.
I had about two weeks to come up with an itinerary. Fortunately, a private tour is more commonplace in Morocco than in Jordan and Egypt. I didn’t get much help from the Egypt and Jordan tour agencies I contacted. Honestly, those were stressful times, being told to do something about them when it was out of my control. Can someone relate?
LOL! Anyway, with finding flights done, the next and final thing to do was a tour agency. There are many options just looking at Trip Advisor. I filtered by checking the recent reviews and if there are many positive, the available and flexible tours for less than a week, and if they have English-speaking tour guides and drivers. I had five options, but I chose Morocco First Gate.
Tip: A spreadsheet is helpful if you want to compare flights and tour agencies. MS Excel and Google Sheets are useful if you are traveling with family or friends for easy sharing and for their inputs. I also took screenshots. Here’s a (not pretty) sample:
Many tour agencies offer flexible itineraries and include accommodations. In the end, it was just finding the most affordable with all the inclusions we need, such as airport transfers. Not all have it included in their rates.
Morocco First Gate’s rate was EUR 750 per person or nearly PHP 45,000. It includes hotel accommodations with breakfast, airport transfers, driver, tour guide (when requested), and flexible stops. Not a bad deal, in my opinion.
The following map shows our route and the places we went to.
Morocco Traveling Tips
Here are some of my tips for traveling in Morocco. I’ll update the list as I write the rest of my blog posts for this series. 🙂
- Before traveling to Morocco, download maps in Google Maps of the cities or towns you’ll be visiting.
- Morocco has public transportation, such as buses and taxis. It is possible to make your itinerary and travel on your own or with your group, which could mean saving a lot of money and probably more adventures. However, booking a tour agency makes things much easier, in my opinion.
- Whatsapp is the common chat app in the country. The Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport offers an hour of free wifi service. Use it to contact your driver if you arranged for airport transfer. There are also taxi drivers in the waiting area just past the airport’s exit. I remember it was rowdy, so be careful and always leave room for doubt. 😛
- Anyone can buy sim cards in Morocco, but I think sellers are hard to find outside the airport. Buy a sim card in the airport, or ask assistance from your driver or tour guide.
- About safety, it’s not too different from living in Metro Manila, as far as I know. Ensure personal items and gadgets are secure and with you at all times.
- Ladies, make sure to bring sanitary pads (or menstrual cup/s). I rarely saw a convenience store outside the city area. ;;;
- Morocco’s currency is Dirham. Withdraw or exchange money in the airport to prevent inconvenience. There are ATMs all over, however, don’t get your hopes up if you’re looking for a machine that will dispense EUR or USD.
I’ll have a series of blog posts about this trip with tons of photos, of course. 😛 I’ll update this post with links to the posts as well.