Morocco is often thought of as a good destination for budget travelers. And while traveling in Morocco is much cheaper than Europe, Japan, Australia, or other parts of the world, it can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be depending on your travel style. Our Morocco trip cost came to around $1,000 a day (with airfare), which tends to be the starting point for families vacationing in many cities.
However, we were NOT looking to do this trip on the cheap. Because of safety concerns and overall culture immersion challenges, we wanted to take a bit more of a luxury approach then we do on most of our trips. Instead of exploring on our own and staying in Airbnbs, we wanted to stay in nice riads and hotels. But most of all, we wanted to have a driver that stayed with us throughout the trip.
So keep in mind as you look through our Morocco trip cost that we included a number of splurges and luxury accommodations. There are plenty of ways to reduce these expenses to fit your budget — and I’ll point those out. Also, to make everything easier to source local travel guides and drivers, I worked with a company called Epic Travel (formerly Epic Morocco to put everything together for us into a package price.
This means there is a little extra padding in the budget to account for the time they put into designing my itinerary, sourcing my driver and guides, getting quotes from and securing my accommodations, and providing us with support throughout the trip.
Because we were spending nearly two weeks traveling around the country, including into some very remote areas, I was willing to pay a little extra for the simplicity and the peace of mind that comes with working with someone on the ground.
If you are just visiting Marrakech or flying city to city from Marrakech to Fes and only visiting those two cities or doing day trips, you can probably plan it all on your own. Or if you are very adventurous, you could rent a car or use the bus system to get around the country without any extra help. However, I feel that especially for families, working with a third-party expert is well worth it.
How much does a trip to Morocco cost?
Our Morocco budget is based on a family of three — two adults and one teenager — staying together in one suite or large room. We visited Morocco in March 2019 for 12 nights. We flew out of NYC and back into Boston (for personal logistical reasons only, round trip flights were available.)
For our Morocco itinerary we did the following:
- Flew into Casablanca. Met our driver and were taken directly to Chefchaouen
- 2 nights in Chefchaouen with a half-day tour of Chefchaouen
- Driven from Chefchaouen to Fes
- 3 nights in Fes with a food tour, full day tour of Fes, and a photography tour of the Medina
- Driven from Fes to the Sahara Desert
- 1 night at luxury camp including sunset camel trek and half-board
- Driven from Sahara to Skoura
- 2 nights in Skoura
- Driven from Skoura to Marrakech with stop at Eit Ben Haddou
- 4 nights in Marrakech with half day tour of the Marrakech Medina, private cooking class, Flytographer photo shoot
- Return transfer to Casablanca airport
Airfare to Morocco
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The reason we decided to visit Morocco this year is because we found a great airfare deal from New York to Casablanca. There were good deals on direct flights via Air Maroc, but I had heard a few horror stories about that airline. Turns out we also heard stories of praise about Royal Air Maroc the day before we left and regretted not taking the direct flight but c’est la vie!
Instead, we were able to find affordable fares from New York to Casablanca through Paris on Air France. Our base rate was about $500, and then we added on some seat upgrades to get extra legroom and to be closer to the front of the plane to ensure we could get off the plane quickly to help with our tight connection in Paris.
Our three tickets came to $1613.73. So I would estimate an average ticket cost of $550 per person. If you are looking to use credit card points to book your airfare, be sure to see my favorite credit cards for earning points.
Because we had a crazy travel day because of a family event (flying from West Palm Beach to NYC to Paris to Casablanca, followed by a 6 hour drive to Chefchaouen), I decided to splurge on the Express Entry at Casablanca, which provided us with priority entrance through the diplomat line at customs and immigration to get us on our way faster.
I also thought getting greeted at the gate would help us in our jet-lagged state deal with the immediate cultural immersion of Morocco. The cost for this service is 70 euro per person (in each direction but we only chose to add this service to our arrival.)Receive Low Fare Alerts for Flights with Airfarewatchdog
Total airfare & express arrivals cost: $1823.73
Accommodations Costs in Morocco
In Morocco you can stay in a range of accommodations. For an authentic experience, book a riad in the old city or Medina. A riad is a small guest house that was a large home which has been converted to welcome guests. There are usually a small number of rooms arranged around a central courtyard. Most will offer breakfast and tea, if not a full service restaurant. For riads, expect high ceilings, large rooms, and very authentic decor. Many riads are now owned by Europeans or other expats.
Riads range from basic to luxury and the prices range as well, but can generally be found for under $200 per night. You will note that we splurged in a number of locations for the nicer accommodations.
You can also find hotels in the newer sections of cities, but don’t expect to find many American brands where you can use your points. However, you will find many luxury resorts in Marrakech, such as the Fairmont and Four Seasons. It is easy to spend upwards of $1000 per night at some of these resorts. If you don’t want to spend that much, there are more affordable luxury roads in Marrakech.
I have broken out the room rates where we stayed for comparison purposes. Note that all of these prices included breakfast for three, and the desert camp and L’Ma Lodge also included dinner for three:
- Lina Ryad and Spa in Chefchaouen is one of the nicest riads in Chefchaouen but not luxury – Junior suite with an extra bed at 140 euros per night = $320 for 2 nights
- Riad Fes is a Relais & Chateaux property and a luxury riad – Junior suite with an extra bed at 4000 MAD per night = $1,260 for 3 nights
- Riad Madu luxury desert camp – triple tent at 245 euro per night = $277 for 1 night
- L’Ma Lodge – Suite with an extra bed for 241 euro per night including breakfast and dinner = $546 for 2 nights
- Four Seasons Marrakech (we received a slightly discounted rate of 420 euros per night) = $952 for 2 nights
- Riad Kaiss in Marrakech – suite with an extra bed at 335 euros per night = $760 for 2 nights
Total accommodations cost = $4,115
Morocco Trip Activities Costs
On our trip, we wanted to experience the Moroccan culture, learn its history, and explore its ancient corners. Yes, we could have just landed in a city and set out to get lost in the Medina. But since this was my first time visiting an African country and a Muslim country where I don’t speak either Arabic or French, I wanted a little hand holding along the way. Plus, we have found through out travels that we get much more out of our explorations if we take at least one tour in each destination.
Before we left, there were a few things I had on my wish list (thank you Instagram for introducing me to the Blue City of Chefchaouen.) A little research uncovered a few other “must do” experiences. These included a camel trek in the Sahara and a Moroccan cooking class.
Since we always love to explore a culture through its food, we also added in a food tour in a different city. Trying to balance out our structured activities with downtime, we ended up with one planned activity per day. Of course, you may prefer more free time on your own and skip some of the guided tours or special interest activities like the cooking class or photography tour.
Here is how our activity budget breaks down. We found that the cost of private tours is cheaper in Morocco than in many European cities, so I would encourage everyone to take a few tours when you visit.
Note: some of these are estimates as I paid a package price, which included a mark up, but they are based on the published prices of similar tours.
- Half day tour of Chefchaouen = $100
- Food tour in Fes = $180
- Full day tour of Fes = $200
- Evening photography tour of the Fes Medina = $150
- Camel trek in the desert = $100
- Guided tour of Eit Ben Haddou (200 Dirhams) = $21
- Half-day tour of Marrakech souk = $105
- Marrakech cooking class & market visit = $180
- Flytographer family photo shoot (purchased during a Black Friday sale) = $280
Total activities cost: $1,316
Transportation Costs in Morocco
If you are traveling around the more remote areas of Morocco or through the Atlas Mountains, I would encourage you to hire a driver. You can certainly arrange transfers from place to place, but you can also hire a driver to stay with you throughout the trip.
There is a cost difference between arranging transfers versus having a driver at your disposal while in a city. The other, more expensive option, is to also hire a guide to travel with you, versus picking up local guides in each destination.
That option was too cost prohibitive for us, so we chose to hire a driver from our arrival in Casablanca, through our arrival in Marrakech. This way he was available for us if we needed him in Fes and Skoura, and we were able to develop a rapport after spending a week together. From Marrakech, we arranged transfers for our return to Casablanca. This provided a good mix of budget-consciousness and luxury.
Expect to spend about $150-200 per day to hire a private driver, not including tips (we will talk about tipping etiquette later.) Basic taxi rides around the city will generally cost you about $5, depending on distance and if it is a “petite” cab (holds up to 3 people) or “grand” taxi. Just beware of taxi scams in Marrakech.
Of course you can always rent a car or use the bus and rail system to save money. But traveling as a family without speaking Arabic or French, we felt most comfortable hiring a private driver.
Total transportation cost: $1800
Food Costs in Morocco
Food costs in Morocco also vary depending on if you are eating at local food stalls, local cafes, or in the hotel/riad restaurant. For example, a cup of mint tea or a bottle of water will be about $1.00 (remember you can’t drink the tap water in Morocco) and a budget lunch will cost about $5.00-10.00 per person.
However, dinner at a nice restaurant can still run you $40-50 per adult (without alcohol) and $20 per child. For our trip, breakfasts were included at each hotel, as well as three dinners. We also timed our cooking class and food tour to cover two other meals, so we didn’t spend as much on food as we usually would.
Total food costs: $2000
Tipping in Morocco
Tipping is an important part of the culture in Morocco and everyone that helps you does expect to get tipped. Plan on carrying plenty of small bills and coins with you for tipping.
In restaurants, you should generally tip 10 percent of the bill. Guides and drivers should both get about 100-200 Dirhams per day (about $10-20). For half day excursions, 50-100 Dirhams is an acceptable amount.
At hotels, you may also want to tip the porters and housekeeping staff or anyone that provides you with a personal service. Of course, in the souks look out for those that make a living on “tips” from giving tourists directions, posing for pictures, etc.
Because we usually had both a driver and a guide on most days, we spent about $25-30 per day on tips.
Total budget for tips: $300
Of course when you are walking through the souks, you are going to be tempted to go shopping in Morocco and purchase some of the textiles, spices, Moroccan Argan oil, soaps, shoes, and other goods. Haggling is expected and you should usually be able to get the item for about half the initial offer. What you spend is up to you!
Total budget for souvenirs: $200
This post is brought to you in part as a paid partnership with Allianz Travel. All opinions are my own.
Even though we already have an annual travel insurance plan with Allianz, I wanted to get some extra travel insurance for this trip because it was such an investment and we need to pay for everything except food and tips up front.
There are just so many variables for this trip: would a blizzard stop us from getting out, would we miss a connection, would they lose our luggage, what if our camera got stolen, what if we got sick and need to get an emergency evacuation from the Sahara desert? It gave me peace of mind to make sure that we were covered and for an amount that would cover the cost of the trip.
I actually priced out a couple of options and not only did Allianz come in with the best coverage for the best rate, I know from previous experience how easy they are to work with to file claims. So while I do work with them as a sponsor, I have also become a loyal customer.
Total trip insurance cost: $430
Total Morocco Trip Cost
So how much does a trip to Morocco cost? Well our 12-night trip cost just under $12,000 including flights, nice hotels, a private driver, a full load of activities, meals, and miscellaneous expenses.
|Travel insurance||$ 450.00|
|Total Morocco trip cost||$12,004.73|