Preparing for your trip

Package: Best of Morocco, 2019

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed 4/24/2019. Please check back for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Complete your tour registration. A link to this secure form will be included in your booking confirmation email. Within 24 hours of booking
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your trip, and that the name on your booking matches your passport exactly. Immediately
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. (Fees and/or additional charges may apply.) 75 days prior to travel
Make your final payment, if any balance is due.
75 days prior to travel
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel

In addition, if you booked flights with your package:

Item Due
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) 75 days prior to travel
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Call the airline to confirm your flights and any special meal requests. 72 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Morocco

In general, to travel abroad, U.S. citizens must have a passport which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Many countries also require a travel visa for entry. Some countries issue visas upon arrival, but in most cases, you need to obtain visas prior to travel.

General Requirements & Guidelines

  • It is the responsibility of each traveler to determine passport and visa requirements and comply with them and to secure the proper travel documents. To avoid disappointment and unnecessary expenses, please carefully review the requirements so that you can obtain all necessary documents well before your trip. Requirements are subject to change, often without notice, and we suggest you verify requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate. Airlines and cruises may deny boarding and your trip may be disrupted if your passport and visa are not in order. We will not be held responsible for any charges, trip interruptions, or cancellations due to incorrect or missing visas, nor will travel insurance cover your lost expenses.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Protection Plan

If you purchased travel insurance, please print your policy documents. If you purchased our travel protection plan by Travelex, you can find the full policy here, which varies slightly by state. Carry these documents with you when you travel, as they include contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Land Only: If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for booking your own flights into Casablanca and out of Marrakesh. After you book your flights, please send us a copy of your flight arrangements for our records.

For land-only travelers, the touring program will begin at the hotel in Casablanca on Day 2 of the listed itinerary, and end at check out from the hotel in Marrakesh on Day 12. Generally, hotel check-in time is 3pm and check-out time is 12pm (noon).

Flight schedule: If you selected flights with your package, please review the flight schedule. After we issue your tickets, we will send your actual confirmed flight schedule. Please be aware that airlines may change schedules even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes.

Need to arrange connecting flights? While you may want to book these as soon as possible, we strongly suggest waiting until 75 days prior to departure (and after you make your final payment) to ensure materialization. In addition, your international flight times may change—airlines sometimes change schedules even after flights have been booked. When you purchase connecting flights, always confirm the schedule for your international flights first. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Questions about your flights before you depart? Contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 208 or air@friendlyplanet.com.

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, or email us at air@friendlyplanet.com after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights on this package. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on this package. Look for "More Flight Options" when you book online, or ask us about price and availability when you book by phone. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Airport Transfers

If you purchased this package with flights, or independently booked the same international flights used for this package, scheduled group airport transfers at the destination are included. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage.

If you purchased this package without flights, transfers are generally not included. In most cases, private transfers are available for an additional fee; contact us for price and availability. Or you may instead arrange your own ground transportation to the touring program start and end points, usually the first and last hotels listed in the itinerary.

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Flight Schedule

The flight schedule(s) below are for general planning puposes, and we try to keep them up-to-date. After we issue your tickets, we will send your actual confirmed flight schedule. Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please confirm your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again prior to departure.

Questions about your flights before you depart? Contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 208 or air@friendlyplanet.com.

Friendly Planet's toll-free number is 800-555-5765. The direct extension for our air department is 208.

Royal Air Maroc's (AT) toll-free number is 800-344-6726.

Flight Schedule for Apr 24 - Oct 2, 2019  Departures

DEPARTURE
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
AT 201 New York (JFK) Casablanca (CMN) 9:20 PM 9:10 AM (next day) 6.50 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
AT 404 Marrakesh (RAK) CMN 12:40 PM 1:30 PM .50 hrs
AT 200 CMN JFK 4:30 PM 7:20 PM 7.50 hrs

Flight Schedule for Oct 23 - Dec 11, 2019  Departures

DEPARTURE
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
AT 201 New York (JFK) Casablanca (CMN) 8:55 PM 8:45 AM (next day) 6.50 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
AT 404 Marrakesh (RAK) CMN 1:40 PM 2:30 PM .50 hrs
AT 200 CMN JFK 4:30 PM 6:35 PM 8.05 hrs

 

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: In general, our tours & packages allow per person: one checked bag, not to exceed 44 pounds; one personal item such as a purse or camera bag; and one carry-on bag, which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. If your trip includes domestic flights within your destination and/or travel by motor coach, your carry-on should also fit should also fit under your seat or in the overhead bins on those flights or coaches.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags than what airlines typically allow. It's so much easier and faster to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat.

Luggage tags: We will mail you Friendly Planet luggage tags with your invoice. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip. However, we are not responsible for lost or damaged luggage.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.

Please remember that you are traveling as part of a group, and your personal cooperation to be on time for group activities will make the trip better for everyone. Also, please note that smoking is not permitted on our tour buses.

Kindly exercise caution and sensitivity to the local customs, as many activities may be conducted differently from our own country. You will find that a polite, gentle approach and a friendly, positive demeanor will help you achieve the best results as you travel in Morocco.

While we have made every effort to secure comfortable accommodations and transportation, we ask you to keep in mind that the standards you will encounter may be different from those you are used to at home or when traveling to Western Europe. This is primarily due to the fact that the tourism infrastructure, while extensive, is still in the development stages, and therefore somewhat limited in some areas.

Several days of your trip include touring en-route to the next town, and will require an early start to your day and arrival to the hotel in the evening. Also kindly note dinner is generally served after sunset prayer. We will do our best to make dinner reservations for the earliest possible times. However, early dinner reservations are not guaranteed.  Your patience and understanding are appreciated.  

Water & Produce: As noted below in the accommodations section, the water in your hotels (from the tap) is not potable. Even if the hotel posts a sign that it is safe to drink tap water, please do not drink it. Make sure to only drink water and other beverages from sealed bottles or cans. The rule for water also pertains to ice, as it is commonly made from unfiltered, tap water. At included meals, you may enjoy the cooked fruits and vegetables, but stay away from raw items unless you can peel them. Most of our intestinal systems are not accustomed to the micro-organisms in the raw foods and water of other countries. Please do not hesitate to enjoy some of the very fine restaurants in the locations you will be traveling. There will be many, and if you exercise caution, you will avoid getting sick.

Accommodations

Our hotels are all Western-style, and your room will, of course, have a private bathroom. The water in the hotel tap system is definitely not potable. Hotels will normally provide bottled water at a small fee. Sometimes, a first bottle will be in your room upon check in. If not, you will have plenty of opportunities to purchase bottled water. However, any water that you consume from the mini-bar will be charged to your room, and you will be responsible for payment. Electrical current is 220v with 50 cycles. Wall sockets will vary. Take a travel converter/adapter kit with you, as these are not readily available.

Meals

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

You'll enjoy bountiful buffet breakfasts at the hotel daily.   Included lunches and dinners will be at local restaurants or at one of the restaurants at the hotel.  The welcome dinner and farewell dinner include a glass of wine, mineral water and coffee or tea.  The traveler is responsible for the cost of additional drinks.  The traveler is also responsible for all drinks on other included lunches and dinners.

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be locally hosted by a guide and driver who are seriously professional and very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in being given a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. 

While we have already prepaid porterage, you may find that porters will ask for additional tips. If you wish to give porters an extra tip, a dollar bill will be considered generous. Dollar bills are handy for tipping in other situations as well. Take with you a supply of dollar bills so that you can be prepared for such situations.

Naturally, tipping is personal and completely voluntary, and if you have not received good service, your tip should reflect this fact. (You should also let us know without delay.) But just as you would never think of having dinner at a restaurant without leaving an appropriate tip, you should apply the same thinking to tipping as you travel.

The recommended gratuity is $6-8 per person per day for the tour guide, $3-$5 per person per day for the driver. On some days, sightseeing tours will be conducted by a local guide for whom we recommend a gratuity of $3-$5 per person. It is also customary to tip the hotel housekeeping & restaurant staff.We recommend $1 per bag for the porter who brings the suitcase to your room and $2-3 per day for hotel housekeeping and the wait staff at the restaurants during the included meals. We also suggest a $1 tip for bathroom attendants. Tipping is, of course, a personal matter and an expression of your satisfaction with services provided to you.

Independent Activities

You can leave the group and explore on your own at any time; however, should the group have planned activities for that day, please make sure to inform your guide in advance. There is NO refund for unused group arrangements.  Also, take the name of the hotel and phone number - written in Arabic and English - with you so that you can communicate with taxi drivers. Your hotel staff will gladly assist you.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

Fast Facts about Morocco

Overview

Capital: Rabat
Population:  34.38 million
Currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD)
Languages: Arabic
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: WET (UTC 0)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Immunizations are NOT currently required for travel to Morocco. However, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions on other health concerns or requirements.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Morocco generally has a sub-tropical and diverse climate depending on the region and season. October-December and March-May are Morocco’s best seasons, when temperatures average in the low 70s F/24 C. January and February can be cool and rainy. Because of the generally moderate or warm climate, most of the hotels do not have central heating. During summer, the average temperature in Marrakesh and Fez is around the 100’s; while the coastal cities of Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier have an average temperature in the low 80s. South of the Atlas Mountains, temperatures increase greatly. Take along at least a sweater year-round for evenings in higher elevations and the desert, and warm and waterproof clothes for December–March.

What to wear

Since weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world, it’s important to pack clothing that can be worn in layers, so that you are prepared for all weather conditions. We suggest packing a folding umbrella or poncho, and a sweater and/or jacket as well. We also recommend that you bring sun block, sunglasses and at least a pack of tissues or wipes. Remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel. 

Appropriate attire when traveling in Muslim countries: Since Morocco is primarily a Muslim country, customs will be different from what you are accustomed to in the USA. When visiting mosques and for touring, you should plan to dress modestly with shoulders and knees concealed. Despite the heat, it is still preferred that women do not wear shorts or halter-style tops. Jeans and slacks or long skirts are recommended. Loose fitting shirts or tunic are also considered appropriate. Wearing a headscarf can help women blend in.

Please Note: If visiting mosques and other sacred sites, kindly ensure to dress appropriately – long sleeves, long, loose fitting, ankle length trousers or skirts for women and men. No light colored and transparent or see through clothing for women.

Money

The official currency in Morocco is the Moroccan dirham. Hotels and some stores accept credit cards (Visa and Master Card only), however, credit card transactions are subject to 3% surcharge. For “street shopping” you will need local currency for most transactions (USD is only sometimes accepted).  Hotels, banks and foreign exchange bureaus will be able to exchange cash to local currency. We highly recommend that you bring along crisp, new bills, because old, torn, or crumpled bills may not be accepted. For small purchases, we recommend that you use the ATM machines to get cash in local currency so that you can avoid using your credit card in unknown shops where there is a higher risk of having your credit card numbers “borrowed” for unauthorized purchases. Traveler’s checks are no longer widely accepted. We recommend that you use cash or credit card.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Morocco is best known for wool carpets and leather goods but most of what is sold is of poor quality. (A quick test for real wool is to take a small tuft from the carpet and burn it with a match or lighter. If it smells like burning plastic, it’s acrylic fiber.) Other items available include gems, fossils from the Sahara, thuya wood carvings, pottery, mosaic tiles, beaten brass, silk, hand-embroidered clothing, copperware, silver and gold.

You will have ample opportunity during your visit to Morocco to shop for souvenirs, including artwork, handicrafts and even jewelry.  If you purchase such items, do so with the understanding that these items may not have the same high value you were led to believe. And you may be unable to return these items later for a refund. A good rule of thumb when shopping abroad is to choose items that you love and that will remind you of the destination. If you want to shop for high value items, better do so from a trusted merchant at home unless the pleasure of the happy memory of your trip will keep you from regretting your purchase.

While we take great care in arranging the components of your tour, we have no relationship with the shopping venues you’ll encounter, and we cannot be liable for any purchases you make. Your guides will no doubt have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some sort of commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you. This is how business is done throughout Morocco and other regions around the world. Please keep in mind that many, if not most stores outside the U.S. will not allow exchanges or refunds for your purchased items. You, as the buyer, assume the full risk in the purchases you make.

Tips for Bargaining: Bargaining is a way of life in Morocco. If you want to purchase something, whether in a shop or a souk (or bazaar) and you think the price you’ve been quoted is too high, thank the vendor and walk away. Generally, he/she will come after you with a lower price. It is generally considered good bargaining policy to offer half the asking price, and negotiate from there. But the negotiations should be done in a respectful way.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plugs C & E. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are permitted, and photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will be available in major cities.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please check out the terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

Materialization: This package may require a minimum number of passengers to operate. In the unlikely event that your departure must be cancelled due to lack of participation, we will notify you prior to the final payment due date, and offer alternate dates of travel or a full refund. Please do not purchase any domestic connecting flights, or other services which are dependent upon the operation of your package, until this time.