Trin standing by one of the city towers surrounding Chefchouen, Morocco

Safety and Cost of Traveling in Morocco

As we travel I research information about the culture and history of each country before arrival. It helps to put what I see into context. It also helps during our interactions with the locals that I know something about their history, and convey that I care enough to know and seek to understand. My goal, however, is to arrive with no expectations or opinions about the people. It is best to observe seeking to understand their culture within their own living context.

I wasn’t so successful at arriving in Morocco with no expectations. Too many stories of harassment, poor treatment of women, and pushy or outright dishonest salespeople had come across my reading, and my guard was up. We planned to spend three months in Morocco and I hoped that it would be better than expected.

The living and travel expenses for three months in Morocco are at the bottom of this post.

How big is Morocco?

The Kingdom of Morocco is 446,550 km2 (172,414 sq mi). It is slightly bigger than the state of California, USA which is 423,967 km2 (163,694.74 sq mi.), but almost twice the size of the United Kingdom which is 242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi).

What document is the longest unbroken relationship in US history?

Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize the US as an independent country after the War of Independence. Morocco officially signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the US in 1786. This document represents the longest unbroken relationship with the US. (from

Trin walking towards the terminal in Fes when we first landed in Morocco.
Fes Airport

First Impression, Fes Airport

Our first step in Morocco was at Fes International Airport. The door of the plane opened to the pleasantly warm air of a Moroccan afternoon. From there we followed the cone-lined path into a beautifully adorned airport. All the passport control lines appeared to be open and ready to process us all quickly. It was so efficient and fast I barely had time to admire the artistic design of the ceiling or the filtered sunlight from massive windows gently reflecting off the spotless tile floors.

At passport control, they asked where we were staying and smiled happily to find out that Trin knew some French. Our passports were stamped without a hassle. The checked bag arrived on the belt directly behind passport control with surprisingly little wait time. Trin exchanged money for some dirhams (we could not find the ATM there) and within moments we were walking through customs where we were waved through. It was the easiest airport I’ve ever navigated, including domestic.

Angry Cab Man

We walked out the door and looked for another couple to split a cab fair with. A cab driver came over and yelled at me that we were not allowed to split a cab. I stared at him blankly, then we turned around, walked back into the airport, and found a couple to split a cab with. The cab driver we found with the other couple was friendly and gave us the price upfront. The price he quoted was even a little less than we had expected. The conversation wasn’t pushy, he was upfront, honest, and fair.

As our time in Morocco passed we found that the first angry guy seemed to be the exception and the second one more of the norm. We often had to negotiate prices, but that is part of the culture.

Woman buying vegetables at the market in Fex
Friendly people at the Fes Market

Meeting our First Host

Upon arrival in town from the Fes airport, we walked to a cafe where we were to meet the host of our apartment. It was Ramadan and the cafe was closed but the owner invited us to sit there anyway while we waited. He even let us use his Wi-Fi to contact our host.

When our host arrived he led us to our apartment and showed us around.

“It is okay?” he asked.

“Yes, it is beautiful,” I answered. The smile that spread on his face at my response showed that he was proud of the effort he put in to make this a nice place. It is a good pride – the kind that is a reward for hard work.

So far I wondered if we were just lucky, or if Morocco was going to be much better than expected.

Traditional Outfits of Morocco

Dying vats in Fes, Morocco
The dying vats in Fes, Morocco

Favorite Places & Experiences in Morocco

The tower of the Hassan II Mosque looms over the massive tiled square leading up to it.
Spending three months in a country is not enough to fully understand a culture but Read more
A watchtower in the old city wall above Chefchaouen at sunset
Ducking under the curved archway and walking into the alley felt like entering a cave. Read more
Bonnie throwing sand in the air while sitting on a dune in the Sahara desert
Endless miles of red sand dunes etched with patterns from the wind as far as Read more
Trin standing above the oasis at the base of the Monkey Fingers of Dades Gorge.
We pushed our backpacks into the corner of our small private room in "My House" Read more

Women’s Clothing

Women in Morocco dress conservatively, but according to the law, they are not required to wear a head covering. During our three months here I believe I only saw a handful of women wearing a full Burka. A small percentage wore the Niqab.

The most common covering for women in Moroccos was the Hijab. It was not uncommon to see women with no head covering. Shoulders are usually covered and there are no plunging necklines. Skirts or dresses to the ankle are common, but loose pants also seem to be acceptable even with the Hijab.

Illustrations of the Niqab, Hijab, and Burka differences.
Image adapted from

I saw tourists in all sorts of undress. While they got second glances from the locals as is natural when someone sees something unusual the locals don’t seem to bother the tourists about their dress. Here one can seemingly wear whatever they want, but since I have a choice I choose my most conservative clothing and in some small towns I wore a scarf around my waist as a small skirt over my pants out of respect. Sandals and open-toed shoes seem to be just fine.

No matter what one is wearing a smile given to a local passing on the street is often returned. Even if I could only see the eyes of the other woman I could see them smile in return.

Monsieur Djellaba

The djellaba is a traditional outfit worn all over Morocco by both men and women. It is a long, straight robe with a pointy hood. It hides the shape of the human body but it also protects the wearer from sun and sand.

Trin loved the djellaba, especially with its pointy hood. Our friend Mark pointed out that it looked like a Jedi robe. Since then, I can’t help but see Jedi walking around all over Morocco.

We shopped for a djellaba in the Jewish Quarter just outside the Medina in Fes. Outside the Medina, quoted prices start less than half of the prices in the Medina. We inquired about the price from a few stores to get an idea and then made our choice.

When we made our initial, low-ball offer to the shop owner, he broke into derisive laughter that might be off-putting to many. But there was something else, a sort of theatrical nuance to his reaction, and we realized that the traditional practice of bartering, a tradition meant to stay light and fun, had just begun, and it was game on.

Back and forth they went, Trin and the shop owner trading counter offers, all in French mind you, until they arrived at a final price and we agreed. Everyone smiled. The shop owner laughed when I pointed out that Trin’s new gray and black outfit matched his salt-and-pepper beard.

The djellaba is perfect for this environment. It keeps the sun off Trin during the day and keeps him warm on cool evenings. He had so much fun wearing it everywhere. It spawned an alter-ego that he likes to call Monsieur Djellaba Mann.

How was I treated as a woman in Morocco?

Standing at a bus stop a man came over and began to harass me. It was in a city and I think he was homeless, this could happen anywhere. Not two seconds after he came towards me two other men immediately walked over and shooed him away, that does not happen in just any city.

There have been no rude calls or overt gestures from the men. The women smile and nod. The shop owners freely talked to me as they did Trin. We were welcomed by many people, from shop owners to kids on the street. One boy came over to talk to us as we watched the sunset one evening. He asked if we liked Morocco. When we told him that we loved it and that it was very beautiful his chest swelled up with pride and he got the biggest smile on his face it was heartwarming.

Three boys doing handstands in Chefchouen

One Incident

One hot afternoon while waiting for a bus Trin went off to find some food while I waited in the park with our packs. A male approached me while I was sitting there alone. He began asking me questions, but I didn’t understand the language. He pointed at me and then turned to his friend laughing. His hands made their way all over my legs as he leaned up against my knees. Then he tried to take my phone.

This male however was only around three or four years old and adorable. His adolescent brother looked at me with a nervous smile as if asking if his brother was bothering me. Whatever the little boy saw in this foreigner made him laugh. I would love to know what he was saying. The innocent questions of children are very sweet, even if that same question would be inappropriate coming from an adult.

I never felt as if I were treated poorly because of my gender. This, of course, is just my experience as a visitor. I understand that what happens in homes and practice might be different, but only once did I feel that I was in an unsafe position.

Artwork of a woman wearing a Niqib.

Mandates on Women

King Sidi Mohammed bin Hassan al-Alawi (Mohammed VI) of Morocco, soon after being crowned king formed a commission to reform the family code with the intent to free women and protect children. He has since mandated that 10% of lower government seats be preserved for women.

Morocco is still an Islamic country, one can not escape the five calls to pray every day but it is more relaxed than many of the other Islamic countries.

Sunset in Asilah, Morocco

Honor Killing

Honor killing is a practice whereby a female is killed by a male family member because they have “tainted” the family honor. It is practiced in some Muslim countries but is illegal in Morocco.

According to the penal code in Morocco, murder is murder no matter what reason it is committed for. The perpetrator of an honor killing can be sentenced to death. There is only one mitigating circumstance allowed in a murder case.

Article 418 states; “Mitigating circumstances are applicable in cases where a husband or wife commits a crime of murder, injury or violence against his or her spouse and/or against the accomplice of that spouse on surprising the latter two persons in the act of adultery” (except under Dahir No. 1.03.207, promulgated on 11 November 2003, in application of article 1 of law No. 24.03).

The same mitigating circumstances apply to both the man and woman equally.

“Murder is a crime under Moroccan law. In cases where women or girls are murdered for reasons of “honor,” neither mitigating circumstances nor exemption from punishment may be applied.” (from Justice and Prison Reform Articles)

Man resting on the curb with his donkey behind him.
Soon after snapping this shot in Moulay Idriss, Morocco, the donkey began nibbling on his owner’s head. The interaction between them was entertaining.

Marriage and Divorce

In 2004 the family code was updated to loosen the marriage and divorce laws giving women a more equal footing. This new code also outlawed child marriage.

It is still illegal for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man and marriage between partners of the same gender is illegal.

A clowder of cats waiting for fish from the fisherman in the market
A clowder of cats anticipating the fish they are about to receive.

Treatment of Animals

How a country treats its livestock and strays to me says a lot about the culture. Comparing Morocco to all the other countries around the same economic level we have visited, I give Morocco a five-star rating for their animal treatment.

We did see an occasional skinny working animal, but the owner was often just as thin. There was also the occasional sick stray, but they were the exception.

Stray cats are in abundance here, but they were cared for. Locals placed food out in the street for the cats and we even saw fishermen cutting up some of his for a clowder of cats.

Bowls of water are placed on various street corners for both cats and dogs to stay hydrated. Many of the dogs had tags on their ears signifying that they had been fixed, an excellent way to keep the city from getting overrun. Even though dogs are considered unclean animals in the Islamic faith they were not mistreated.

There is a care for life here, even for the strays and I find it quite beautiful.

Stray cat resting on an ebike in a Moroccan alley.

Cost of Travel in Morocco

Our total spending in Morocco was $3,283 USD for 98 days in Morocco. This averages to $33 USD a day including all living expenses (except health insurance and charity).

Total cost for 98 days in Morocco was $3,283 for an average daily cost of $33 USD.

Staying longer than 90 days

Visitors with a USA passport receive an automatic 90-day visa for Morocco. Since we needed to be out of the Schengen area for a little longer than 90 days we extended our time by visiting Ceuta, Spain 38 days into our stay. Our passports were stamped out of Morocco and into Spain. We spent one night there then walked back into Morocco. This “border hop” restarted our 90-day allowance in Morroco. We stayed another 60 days for a total of 98 days.

Map of the tip of Morocco with a red circle around Ceuta, Spain
At the very tip of Morocco is a little piece of land owned by Spain.

The border crossings in and out of Morocco have been the easiest crossings so far. The agents smile and are personable. You can actually walk up to them looking happy and they will love it. We tried that in Spain and the shady border agent became indignant and didn’t want to let us through. None of the agents in Morocco gave us a hard time. They welcomed us to their country – as did so many strangers on the street while we were there.

Beautifully colorful room in Morocco with a door to the balcony and mosquito netting for the bed.
Lodging in Morocco


We booked our accommodations through Airbnb and Bookings. Our reservations were almost evenly split between the two. The per-night average was $18 for both Airbnb and Bookings. Two nights were “free” as one was on an overnight bus and the second was in the airport.

We are not a fan of hotels. The diversity of staying in homes for us is a much better experience. The Riads made us feel like we were in the home of a Sultan, while the clay and straw homes in the country gave us a cool comfortable place to stay in the desert.

All of the homes we stayed in had toilets. A friend of mine told me that twenty years ago, when she explored Morocco they just had a hole in the floor. So we joked that we were doing our trip in luxury with thrones every night.

Showers are often not separated in the bathroom. The shower head is affixed to the wall and there is a drain in that corner of the bathroom. When staying in places like the Sahara it didn’t matter how wet the entire room got, it was dry within an hour or less.

Two farmers on a buggy loaded with green harvest pulled by a healthy horse


We used local buses, trains, and Grand Taxis. Grand Taxis are shared taxis that run regular routes but not at regular intervals. Upon showing up at the taxi stand we would find the guy in charge and let him know where we needed to go. We were then directed to the van headed that way and would have to wait for it to fill up. The longest we waited for a Grand Taxi to fill was an hour. If we wanted to leave sooner we could just pay for the empty seats. We generally waited.

The Lonely Planet Guide for Morocco was quite good. Of all the Lonely Planet guides that Trin has read this was his favorite.

Find your blue door

For us, the idea of a “blue door” is about choices we make that change the direction of our lives. When we were both 43, Trin and I made the big decision to retire from our corporate jobs and travel the world. Since then I can’t stop taking pictures of blue doors. Morocco is a treasure trove of blue doors.

Blue doors from all over Morocco
Find your blue door

11 thoughts on “Safety and Cost of Traveling in Morocco”

  1. What a trip! Great to see you both doing so well and really getting under the skin of the countries and cultures you visit. Take care and have fun. We will meet again but it really could be anywhere next time!

  2. Hi – I will admit I stopped reading your blogs after skimming in horror the one about the lambs being slaughtered. I just don’t know why you had to share that story. I know, I know, it’s part of your travel experience but that haunted me for awhile. So when I saw this blog I almost didn’t read it, but then skimmed the headers and was delighted to see there was content I was VERY interested in and none seemed to involve the killing of any animals.
    Thank you for talking about how a women feels in this country. And how you dressed and how others dressed along with eye contact and how you were treated. Wonderful news to hear overall. I know it could be different for others/me, but after so many days in a county like you experienced, I feel you have a good pulse on the situation. I had a horrible experience in Zanzibar and said I’d never travel to a muslim country again. Your blog helped me reconsider Morocco.
    I was wondering how you traveled? Maybe I missed it, but did you rent a car at all or was all of it through bus, train and grand taxi? that’s amazing if it was. Would you recommend a car and do you feel that would be safe?
    thank you!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Sorry about the animal killing. It is ancient, yet brutal, I tried to say it gently, but I guess there is no gentleness in the act. Even after all that, thank you for coming back. 🙂

      We did use public transportation the entire time and did not rent a car. Unlike more developed countries the public transportation goes everywhere we wanted to go (funny what we call developed). The trains, buses, and grand taxis are also very cheap and we really like the people we met. So unfortunately, I don’t have a car recommendation, but I do feel that the public transportation is safe. We only did a private taxi once or twice, riding with a group just felt safer and more interesting.

      Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in Zanzibar, but I do hope you consider Morocco. It was so much better than I expected.


  3. Both of you help to inspire the rest of us to seek a vagabond lifestyle. Whether envy or admiration we know you are both living your best lives recognizing that travel is the best form of education. The world would be a better place if everyone had the fortitude and willingness to trade in their business computer for the real world! We recently dined with friends at the Jersey Shore in a nice restaurant. After we ordered drinks a young couple in their early thirties were seated at the table next to us. They were dressed in upscale clothing with the aroma of new money. The couple sat down, extracted their iPhone’s, and did not speak another word unless queried by the wait staff. Society is devolving into individuals roaming the world without any interest in the rest of the world let alone their diner companion. No wonder society in America is becoming more fractious every day! I cannot wait for the next installment of your travel journal. Everyone get outside and see the world even if its crosstown or across land or sea, get out of the lazy boy and start living.

    1. Thank you, Gordon. We have enjoyed time off grid. It is great to get away from the bombardment of advertisements. I have to admit however we have been the couple in a restaurant looking at our phones. We don’t generally get local sim cards or data so it might be our only internet connection for days. But I get your point. All this technology to make our lives easier and all it seems to do is make people more lonely.

      At some point we will pick a place (or two) to settle down and be part of the fabric of a local culture again.

  4. First up, absolutely loved the video. Awesome edits and yes, Jedi vibe throughout, especially with the animal whispering. Really interesting read and appreciate the female perspective on the cultural aspects. We’re about to leave Australia and travel back to the U.K. via somewhere (no fixed thoughts at this stage) for the next 7 months. Lots to consider. Will be re-reading some of your posts for inspiration. Glad to see you’re both doing well. Sending hugs.

    1. Thanks, and the animals in Morocco were wonderful. We especially fell in love with the goats. How do you feel about leaving Australia? Are you ready to go or sad to be leaving? Maybe a bit of both? I’m excited to see where you will end up next, so many options.

Please share your thoughts below

Scroll to Top