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Thursday, 18 September 2014 12:00 AM

Watch Out On Holiday - Agree A Price Before you Travel

Morocco, as in any holiday country, has local scams to watch out for can when on holiday there. A little knowledge can save a lot of annoyance whilst exploring this wonderful country but don’t be worried as Moroccans are very friendly and these little tricks are few and far between.

We at Naturally Morocco will create a seem less basis to your holiday–transfer to and from airport and excellent accommodation in riads or other boutique hotels – but when you are out and about exploring you are left to your own devices (getting lost in a medina is truly part of the fun) so just use a little common sense and you will be fine.

The fundamental tip below is to ensure a price is agreed before you travel locally.

Getting Help When Lost

If you have a wander in a medina you are likely to get lost. We try to ensure you have good written directions for your riad and the riad will try to ensure that you are well briefed, but one alley can look very similar to another alley so don’t worry if you do take a wrong turn.

In many places of the major tourist destinations, for example the medina of Marrakech, helpful young boys will ask if you are lost and offer their help in getting you back to where you might know. With a cheeky smile and a smattering of English it is easy to think that they are just there to offer their help gratis, but they will want some cash for their efforts. Unfortunately they won’t spell out this before they help you and your though of a small gift as thanks may often be deemed too small, so unless you are truly lost it is best just to say “thanks, but no thanks” to the boys and keep wandering until you find somewhere familiar.

Local (petit) Taxis

In and around towns and cities you will see a huge number of petit taxis, which work around the conurbation. These appear to be a simple way to get where you want to go if there’s a significant distance to travel but, whilst you will get the taxi to yourself (the downside of the grand taxi) their knowledge of destinations can be surprisingly poor – they will typically say “yes” when asked if they know a certain riad, but won’t have a clue (they will know major landmarks). So they are good if going somewhere obvious or if you know the directions, but caution otherwise and do agree the price before you travel.

Large (grand) Taxis

Grand taxis operate around towns and cities and on longer distances outside of the conurbations. As distances are typically longer ensure the price is settled first – they will try to usher you in quickly, but don’t be hurried (you will pay more than a local and they want to get that extra cash) – but also they will pick up other passengers on the way unless you have confirmed (and paid for) sole use, and this can be very time consuming and uncomfortable although part of the Moroccan experience.

Baggagistes (bag carriers)

Finally on a similar topic are baggagistes, men with hand pulled carts for carrying bags. Where these are necessary for customers of Naturally Morocco for particular riads, these will be pre-arranged and paid for, otherwise you must agree your fee before you load the cart.