The internet has really changed how people plan their vacations. Long gone are the days of a brick and mortar travel agency. Forgotten or left behind are paperback guide books. With online bookings for flights, hotels and activities, along with the advent of blogging and vlogging, and the ever popular social media platforms, anyone can digitally plan a vacation.
But… can you really? Can you really plan a successful trip to Morocco on your own, without knowing which mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco?
Sure, there is a lot of information about Morocco travel out there. But how do you sift through what’s accurate? What if you’re taking advice about Morocco vacations from someone whose idea of “fun” or “chill” or “adventure” is the exact opposite of your own definition? Is that Morocco travel blogger an “expert” if they came to Morocco once and but is now sharing “the best travel information” on how to navigate Morocco?
Mint Tea Tours has countless years of experience in organizing and executing successful private tours throughout Morocco. And we’re here to share the top 5 mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco!
Mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco: Too many destinations, not enough time
We get it, you’ve probably seen so many beautiful photos of Morocco, the various destinations, and of course, you want to visit them all! BUT! One of the mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco is to NOT stuff too many cities into a short itinerary.
Unless you have at least 15 days, this will be a challenge, or at the very least, a whirlwind tour of Morocco! Please know that Morocco is a large country – comparable to the size of the state of California, the size of Canada’s Yukon, or almost twice the size of the U.K.
Distances in Morocco take longer than what appears on a map, and we’re talking just straight drive-times. When planning your Morocco vacation, you must also factor in road conditions, weather and traffic, which can all add to your drive-time, as well as the time it takes you to navigate the medina to and from your riad, meet up with your private driver and pack the vehicle.
Many travelers fly in and out of Casablanca. So, depending on the time you have available to travel Morocco, it will probably be very difficult to pencil in every destination from the north to the south, and from the east to the west.
And while Morocco’s highway system is well-maintained, it is not super extensive, somewhat limited to a main axe north to south (Tangier to Agadir) and west to east (Rabat to Oujda).
This means if you want you to explore Morocco off-the-beaten-track, you’ll need to take national and regional roads in Morocco, which may be more scenic but can also be more challenging to drive. With slower speed limits, national and regional roads in Morocco take more time to drive.
Mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco: Too many activities, not enough time
If you vacation in Morocco, there so many fun typically Moroccan activities to try!
One of the most requested activities is a camel ride in the desert, and a close second is to partake in a Moroccan hammam spa experience. Add to that list a hands-on cooking class to make delicious traditional Moroccan food, hiking in the High Atlas Mountains and of course, private guided city visits such as in Fes, Marrakech or Volubilis.
BUT! If you have only a a short time to travel Morocco, but you’ve loaded your custom itinerary of Morocco with too many hours of driving, then you’ve committed another of the mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco. It will be too hard to fit in all of these authentic Morocco experiences and even more so, to have the energy to do them, while still exploring all the sites to see when traveling Morocco on a private tour.
Mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco: Choosing the cheapest private transport option
We know that many prospective travelers reach out to multiple private transport companies in Morocco to ask for price quotes. We understand – people want to see which options are out there for private tours in Morocco.
We know that people want the best deal, the best “bang for their buck” so to say. Who doesn’t??
But simply choosing the cheapest option for private tours in Morocco is one of the mistakes to avoid if planning your Morocco trip. Not all private transport companies in Morocco are created the same. Not all travel agencies in Morocco operate the same. Worse yet, very cheap prices could mean unofficial / unlicensed guides or private transport companies in Morocco!
A cheap up-front price may mean unexpected expenses later. Cheap prices may mean lesser quality vehicles or poorly maintained vehicles. Maybe it implies a poor level of English-spoken by drivers or guides. It could mean a severely limited number of hours of service, or worse yet, not a great level of service.
Morocco is definitely a country where the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true.
Mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco: Choosing the most expensive private tour option
Conversely, automatically choosing the most expensive option for a Morocco private tour is among other mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco!
For sure, quality does come with a price tag. Legally registered transport companies in Morocco have certain stipulations to follow, which adds to their expenses. Perhaps Moroccan travel agencies invest in quality web site content and web hosting.
BUT! Your private tour of Morocco shouldn’t have to break the bank! Don’t assume that just because you’re paying top dollars (or pounds!) for your trip to Morocco that you will automatically have the best trip!
Mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco: Not reserving ahead for high seasons in Morocco
Morocco has three main high seasons for tourism: spring, fall, and end of year holidays (Christmas and New Year’s)
If you don’t think to make reservations for riads, desert camps or private transport in advance during the busiest tourism seasons in Morocco, add this to the list of mistakes to avoid when planning a trip to Morocco!
For example, the nature of a traditional “riad” is that they were originally private homes then turned into guesthouse accommodations. For many, this means the number of rooms in riads is limited, perhaps 5-10 rooms only. And while there are many different riads in the various medinas of Morocco, the most popular riads will book quickly and far in advance.
Sahara Desert tours are extremely popular during the end of year festivities, but the best desert camps will run out of availability for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, months in advance!
Booking a trip to Morocco last minute for end of year holidays means competing with many other travelers for the same popular accommodations, Sahara desert camps and private transportation. This is because so many travelers have the same amount of vacation at the same time of the year, looking to travel in Morocco between just before Christmas Eve and just after New Year’s Day.
Another example, if you’re interested in private transportation in Morocco with English-speaking drivers, this is usually in smaller vehicles such as mini-vans. In normal times, these mini-vans seat 1-7 passengers, versus a large bus coach for large public tours of Morocco which can seat 50 passengers. We say “normal times”, because traveling to Morocco during this COVID-19 pandemic still has its challenges. Until further notice, there are still maximum occupancy limits for accommodations and transportation in Morocco.
If the best riads, desert camps and private transport options already book up quickly during peak tourism season in Morocco, then availability for them is even more limited during the COVID-19 because of health protocol occupancy limits.
Have you learned which mistakes to avoid when planning your trip to Morocco? Contact us today to discuss how we can work together to build the best itinerary of Morocco for your upcoming private tour!
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