I’ve been back home in Anguilla for about four months now. It has been a similar amount of time since my last travel adventure. I am definitely starting to feel the travel itch, which I satisfy temporarily by browsing through my pictures from my last holiday to Marrakech, Morocco.
A guilty pleasure I’ve been indulging in lately is browsing travel instagrams, daydreaming about holidaying in exotic destinations. I have a few potential vacation spots in mind for 2017, however the next step is finding affordable deals. This isn’t always easy when travelling from the Caribbean. I’m super optimistic though, so make sure stay tuned to see where #TBOCtravels this year.
Until then I will live vicariously through the travel adventures of others on social media haha. While my 2017 travel plans remain undecided, in 2018 my goal is to travel to Asia, specifically Thailand or Japan. These countries are known for having amazing markets. If you’ve been following my travel blogs, then you know that one of my favourite parts of travelling is visiting local markets. My most recent trip to Morocco I hit the motherload thus far, the markets of all markets. Moroccan souks! Let’s just say that if only I had more money, more time and more luggage space! Haha
I learned several great tips for navigating large markets such as Moroccan souks from my holiday in Marrakech and I thought I would share them with you guys. I know they will definitely come in handy for my 2018 adventures! Outfit Details are at the end of the blog 🙂
1. Reconsider travelling budget or else opt for checked luggage
Budget airlines are great for providing amazing deals at a fraction of the cost of regular airlines. The downside? Your free baggage allowance usually consists of one carry-on bag. If your goal is to visit local markets, whether you’re a shopaholic or not, you will regret not having the extra space. Trust me! Markets are magical places where you discover unique, creative or bargain pieces that would be difficult for you to find in normal retail stores. You will find yourself thinking, ‘Wow, that would be a great gift for X’ or ‘Quality leather at this price, what a bargain!’ and you will kick yourself (like I did) for not opting for checked luggage, even at the ridiculous prices budget airlines charge. The long term savings and the souvenirs you are able to amass in the end are definitely worth it.
2. Most currencies are accepted in the Markets (Dirham, Euros, US Dollars, Pounds)
One thing I wish I had known before travelling to Morocco was that most currencies are accepted in the markets. The Moroccan Dirham is not a currency that is usually stocked at Foreign Exchanges which means that it is ordered upon customer request. Being the last minute person that I am, naturally I waited until the day before my departure to get my cash together, only to be informed that it would take several days for me to receive the currency. I ended up purchasing Dirham at the airport in Morocco.
At the airport, travel bank cards are issued rather than cash which ultimately proved to be very problematic for me. I was left moneyless for several days until the issue was resolved. Thank God for my friends! A word of caution, beware when using ATM’s in the Souks. Let me know in the comments if you would like to know more about my travel card banking disaster. Nevertheless, other currencies are also accepted outside of the markets which provides greater flexibility and security for tourists.
3. Beware self-appointed “tour guides”
Another piece of security advice is to be cautious of persons you meet at the market offering to be your personal tour guides for free or claiming to be appointed by your hotel. This is usually a trick to lure you either to stores owned specifically by their family or friends or in other cases the reasons may be far more sinister. It is best to be safe rather than sorry and navigate the markets with your travel companions or tours arranged directly from your hotel. You can ask questions for directions, as necessary, but refrain from following strangers into unknown places. Many of these markets are usually large, busy, complex and quite easy to get lost in which can be a daunting experience but the adventure and great bargains are definitely worth it!
4. Bargain! Bargain! Bargain!
One of the best things about markets is that prices are not set in stone and consumers do possess some bargaining power. Vendors are usually very flexible with their prices. They can, at times, be overly aggressive as competition is tight with many vendors selling the same or similar items. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase quality items at fantastic prices. However, be reasonable in your bargaining as these vendors have to make a living too. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility!
5. Shop around for the best deals
DO NOT! I repeat, DO NOT buy at the first store you encounter. As previously mentioned, many stores sell the same or similar items. I was so excited to purchase “pure” argan oil in Morocco that I purchased three bottles in the first store I visited. Two stores down, I realised that I could have gotten the same items for almost half the price. Lets just say, I was not too happy about that. I would recommend browsing through the market before buying as you never know what deals you may encounter. Also be wary when purchasing items advertised as “100% pure” or “100% organic” as counterfeit products are also usually common in local markets.
Let me know in the comments below your experiences with local markets and any tips you would like to share for getting the best deals and experience!
Until next time 🙂
Stay Chic, S
TUNIC – ASOS
SANDALS – SIMILAR HERE
CROSS BODY – SIMILAR HERE
SUNGLASSES – SIMILAR HERE
CHOKER – SIMILAR HERE