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Friday, 22 July 2016 12:00 AM

Buying Currency For Your Moroccan Holiday

It’s the age old question, which we get asked time and time again – what’s the best way to buy Moroccan Dirhams (the currency of Morocco) for my holiday (we discuss what currencies to take in more detail in our FAQs).

For larger items, such as hotel and restaurant bills, it is far simpler to pay by card than it is by cash if the hotel or restaurant allows it – for the simple reason that carrying a lot of cash is prone to risks such as losing it.

However, for day to day expenditure there is no way round carrying some currency – Moroccan Dirhams – which can be bought in many places. We note the various ways below.

The old holiday maker’s problem will always exist, specifically how much currency to buy – too little and you have to spend time exchanging more; too much and you will get left with some at the end of the holiday and, if significant enough and you are not planning on returning to Morocco in the foreseeable future, you have to reconvert at a very poor exchange rate (most airlines do not accept Moroccan Dirhams for on-flight purchases).

Ways to Buy Moroccan Dirham

On my most recent trip to Morocco in late August I chatted to another holiday maker who was very keen to tell me of the great exchange rate he got in the UK from a shop he always used in London and always gave great rates – the London “great rate” MHD 12.8 : £1

I didn’t want to disagree with him so just nodded politely and said “well done” but I have always thought that rates offered in the UK were poor so I thought that I’d note down some other rates being offered for comparison.

The spot rate that day fluctuated a little but was around – spot rate MHD 13.99 : £1 .

The exchange counters in the Gatwick departure area - MHD 10.441 : £1 .

In Marrakech arrivals area (airside) counters - MHD 13.233 : £1 .

In Marrakech airport arrivals area (public side) counters - MHD 13.61 : £1 .

In Marrakech the best roadside forex booth - MHD 13.75 : £1 .

Buy Dirham In Morocco

This was just a snap shot on a particular day but the results ring true from my many previous trips to Morocco. Buying Moroccan Dirham in the UK is very expensive, so is only a last resort if you are arriving into Morocco in the dead of night and immediately travelling to a remote destination in Morocco where other holiday makers do not go (so forex services do not exist).

Buying Moroccan Dirham on the public side of arrivals gives a very good rate (also there are normally queues on the airside part of arrivals) so this is a good option as you come through into the arrivals area and are met by your driver – just ask for a few minutes to buy some currency, not forgetting to ask the cashier for a number of smaller denomination notes. In and around Marrakech (in particular) you may occasionally see excellent rates, but this is not guaranteed and depends on how needy the counter is god business.

A quick note on using a debit or credit card. I understand that holiday makers are advised to pay in local currency on their card, rather than accept the option of having the bill converted to Sterling before payment – this avoids excessive conversion charges and relies on the usually excellent forex rate applied by the card provider.