Next week I will be going with a group on an art & cooking tour through Morocco. We will be visiting Rabat, Fes, Chefchaouen, and Tetouan for 10 days.
I wanted to share what I’m packing in my bag to make sure the trip is pleasant & comfortable.
Morocco is a Muslim country, but not all the women wear the hijab, a long scarf that covers the head. However, hijabs are required inside a mosque, so I will make sure to pack a light scarf that can also be used to keep shoulders warm in the chill evenings on the coasts. For every day wear, I’ll bring a few loose tunics, that will not only cover my arms during mosque visits, but help keep away the hot sun rays. It’s fine for men to wear short sleeved shirts to the mosque, as long as they fully cover their shoulders. Capri pants for women are okay for wear everyday, but I usually pack along a long skirt to cover my legs fully, again, to enter a mosque for visiting or prayer. Shorts for men are also okay for everyday but men would need to take along a long pair of pants to change into, if they would like to go inside a mosque. Also, not all mosques are accessible. Some will not let you in at all, but it’s good to plan for any that at least may allow you into the grand foyer, if you are dressed respectful.
I keep the jeans at home when I travel, as they add unnecessary weight, and pack light pants, some with lots of pockets, tank tops and casual shirts for layering, plus a jacket for evening rooftop star gazing, and a swimsuit, plus flip flops, for possible riad pools.
For walking around, I buy new walking shoes and break them in a week before. If I don’t have the budget for new shoes, I at least make sure to get new insoles to protect my heels from all that dirt and concrete pounding. To take care of the top of my head, I have packed a sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. in day pack, that can also be used for souvenir shopping.
Besides clothes, I also wear a passport holder and made sure to have room in my suitcase for a few things like a power adapter, phone and/or camera, tissues, reusable water bottle, small first aid kit, hand sanitizer, headphones, ear plugs, toiletry kit, quick dry towel, travel pillow, eye mask, and a laundry bag.
Arabs are very hospitable people and you will find many that want to invite you to their homes. It is common to arrive at a home with a box of chocolates or sweets for the adults, which I usually stop and pick up from the local corner market. I also like to pack a few extra toys to give to the kids to play with, during the adult visits. Many are curious to peek around the corner to learn more about you and I have found that reaching out with a small toy draws them out.
In the Arab world, time is different as most of life runs on prayer times. Shops may be closed on Fridays, the holy day, or closed for a bit daily so that the owner walks to his mosque to pray. Also, when responding to questions about time, Arabs often use the phrase “inshaAllah’ which means “when Allah wills it.” In other words, the person is saying they have no control over the situation and just be patient.
It’s a good time to be reminded that we live in a modern world where everything is instant, now, immediate, but we are entering a magical world that has been frozen in a medieval time, when things like food, family and friendships are celebrated everyday.
Please stop by these other posts to learn more about Morocco