You know what I realized after reading countless posts about what to wear in Morocco and putting together my own packing list? Most of the advice seems quite outdated for tourists.
Hear me out. So, no, you’re not going to find many local Moroccan women in short shorts or tank-tops, and most Moroccan men we met were in long pants tunic-type tops.
However, Morocco sees so many tourists, over 11 million in 2017 alone. It’s not some sheltered country that doesn’t know what a woman’s collarbone looks like. They’re also quite aware that foreigners, especially non-Muslim foreigners, are going to dress differently and more “provocatively.”
But, won’t dressing conservatively help prevent harassment?
Frankly speaking, if you think wearing tunic tops, loose pants, and tying your hair back is going to hide the fact that you clearly are not Moroccan, my dainty white-skinned, auburn-haired friend, Autumn, would like a word. Possibly in French because she could understand when the men in Fes were yelling after us “c***” in while I was blissfully ignorant.
If you’re visiting Morocco as a foreign woman, you’re going to experience a decent amount of harassment whether you cover yourself up in a burka or wear a sleeveless dress. I saw plenty of tourists in shorts or crop tops, and while I wouldn’t go so extreme as to recommend a flimsy, short short romper, I don’t think you need to be as covered up as everyone makes it seem.
I can’t tell you if you’ll get more or not, but I initially was quite covered up and then I slowly shed the layers for a sleeveless dress here and there, and I don’t think the levels increased or decreased either way.
I kind of see it like this. When I explain to women how to dress in Korea, I tell them that basically Korean women don’t show off their shoulders or cleavage much, if at all, especially in the countryside.
However, they obviously know you’re a foreigner, and they know foreigners dress a bit differently. You wearing a high neck top vs a low neck top isn’t going to stop people from staring at you because you’re clearly not Korean or East Asian, so you might as well wear (within reason) what makes you most comfortable.
My Morocco Packing List
A Hardshell Carry-On
I strongly, strongly recommend packing in a light, small suitcase for Morocco. A lot of riads only have narrow staircases. Autumn had this gigantic suitcase because she was moving countries, and it was quite the struggle to get around.
I’d go a step further and make sure yours is a hardshell as it gets quite dusty in Morocco! I love my Away and have been using it regularly since I first got it in 2017. [Click here to get $20 off]
I finally got a real travel backpack! While my Gonex Daypack was holding up like a champ, I didn’t think it wise to keep testing out much weight it could hold with my laptop and camera. Plus I wasn’t sure how hectic Morocco would be, so I wanted to make sure I had something with padding to my protect my electronics and, as a bonus, it’d be nice to have some sort of anti-theft feature.
I really liked my TravelOn backpack and dragged it all around Italy and Morocco! Also, not that it’s the most important thing in life, but I find most travel backpacks pretty ugly, so I was pleased this one came in a nice, sleek black color! [Get it here]
Now, I do recommend still bringing a daypack. I didn’t, and I wish I had. The TravelOn backpack really is made for laptops and electronics, which means it doesn’t fit clothes or things like that very easily. I used it for my Ouzoud day trip and my night in Erg Chebbi, and it was just so bulky for the little amount I brought. The Gonex Daypack folds up into nothing, so it’s easy to just toss in with your luggage and pull out for shorter excursions!
A small zip crossbody
I’m sure this isn’t the proper way to handle your camera but, oh well. The way I normally sightsee or walk around is that I have a small crossbody and then I sling my camera on my shoulder. If I get close to a wall or am in a crowded area, I’ll just kind of cradle it to keep it safe.
Anyway, I brought my trusty Michael Kors crossbody with me to Morocco since it has a zip and fits an absurd amount for its tiny size. My style is old but this one is fairly similar.
Make sure whatever crossbody you have has a nice, sturdy zipper to prevent pickpockets. Just keep the zip side in front of you!
3-4 Longer Dresses or Skirts
I’d stick to mostly knee or below the knee dresses. Anything shorter, and you might be a bit uncomfortable. Not just with the staring but also with getting around/climbing stairs, etc. Essaouira is windy, and I can’t imagine needing to constantly keep my shorter dresses down while trying to walk around!
1 Travel Outfit
I brought one navy jumpsuit from Target for travel days as it was easy to throw on and comfortable for the long bus rides. You’re going to want your travel outfit to be something you could potentially be stuck in for almost 24 hours depending on where you are! I wouldn’t recommend yoga pants just because of how figure hugging they are. I think cotton jumpsuits, loose pants, and tops are probably your best bet.
Add on an extra travel outfit if you know you won’t have access to washing machines as often as we did! I think on some days, if my jumpsuit was dirty, I just wore one of my pant/shirt combos to travel.
2 Pairs of Linen Pants
If you wear longer pants, definitely look into linen or mixed-linen. Mine worked to keep me cooler in the desert but also were a bit nicer to wear in windier climates.
Mine are from Old Navy, but I wouldn’t recommend them as the middle wore out really quickly on the tan pair. Next time I buy a pair, I’ll probably aim for 100% linen instead of mixed. If you have a recs, let me know!
2 T-shirt Tops
I generally always travel with two tops, one in black and one in white. I have some H&M ones I like but they’re getting kind of thin! I’ve always liked Everlane’s boxy cut tops, so I just got new basic ones!
3-4 More Fun Tops
This is for button downs, more frilly tops, etc. You can change them up with your bottoms for something a bit different! I have a white crop top one I wear all the time, two button downs for layering, and and a top from Target with pretty embroidery around the neck.
I mean, I assume this is a given, right? I love the high-waisted ones from UNIQLO as they’re seamless, and my bras are just wireless ones from, again, Target.
I’d say bring 6-7 pairs of underwear in case you don’t get a chance to wash them right away, but with the UNIQLO ones you should be able to hand wash them, and they’ll be dry over night. I also have the THINX high waisted period panties just in case. This was before I got my Lily Cup Compact.
Bra wise, I had two tan ones, a black one, a sports bra, and a fun bandeau one.
You’ll want these for cool day trips, like mine to Ouzoud Falls, or for hanging out in a pool all day, like we did twice in Merzouga. Even if you don’t think you’re going to swim, bring one just in case! I had a bikini with bottoms from Target and this top from Amazon. It’s cute but the top takes forever to dry, so maybe not the smartest to bring!
If you’re packing carry-on only, you really only need two pairs of shoes! A sturdy pair of sandals and some sort of tennis shoe.
1 Pair of Sandals
Definitely bring some sandals — you’re in Morocco! You want something sturdy, none of this flimsy flip flop mess. I always swear by a solid pair of Birkenstocks as I’d had my gold pairs since 2017. Unfortunately, they totally broke in the middle of this trip, but they were also on the edge of falling apart for a few months now. Just bring something nice that you don’t mind getting dusty!
1 Pair of Tennis Shoes
This is going to sound very gross, but my feet get dry really easily, really fast. Like the kind where eventually you can probably peel off a chunk of just totally dead skin.
Anyway with all the dust and dry heat and me forgetting to pack proper lotion, my feet were, um, they were not in great shape by the time I left Merzouga. I swapped into my tennis shoes a lot just so I could keep them covered with lotion from our Ouarzazate riad and socks. Protect your pups!
If you’re planning to hike and get really outdoorsy, maybe swap tennis shoes for a better hiking shoe. I was fine in my white Pumas, and I just tossed them in the washer at my Airbnb in Essaouira to clean off the dirt. I even wore them for our hike down to the bottom of the Ouzoud Falls and while they weren’t the smartest shoe, I didn’t fall!
I mean this is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll do a quick list of everything I brought with me!
- LUSH Solid Shampoo
- Kiehls Acne Cleanser Face Wash
- Clinqiue Yellow Face Lotion
- Period Products – Tampons are hard to find and the Diva cup is nonexistent (both we found out the hard way).
- Face sun stick
I should note, I didn’t bring proper lotion or conditioner and I regretted those decisions immensely. I wound up buying lotion, using some of Autumn’s, or using some at our Airbnb. Bring yours! I also forgot body sunscreen, which I also deeply regret.
Keep in mind I really only had any makeup on me because I was in Italy for two weeks beforehand and had a conference! Otherwise I don’t think I would’ve brought anything.
- Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
- Too Faced Chocolate Bronzer
- Mini Innisfree Eye Shadow Palette
- Innisfree No Sebum Primer (lifesaver)
Should go without saying, but here’s your friendly reminder to pack or buy your power adapter! I like ones like this one because it works anywhere and has the USB charging ports on the side.
A Good Camera
I mean, it’s up to you, but I do think it would be a bit of a shame to come all the way to Morocco and see all these beautiful landscapes and not record it properly, but that’s just me. I’m not saying you need to lug around a giant DSLR like mine, but I think investing a bit in something higher quality might be worth it.
Heck, most smart phones these days are quite good quality, so if you’ve got a relatively new iPhone, you should be fine too! You could also look into something like the Sony A6000, which is still small but will give you excellent quality and RAW capabilities.
A Power Bank
This isn’t necessary, but it’s a good idea if your phone has a crap battery like mine and you rely on it heavily. Most of the buses don’t have chargers or anything like that, and our shortest ride was 2 hours, so there’s a lot of downtime. If you want to be on the safe side, I’d bring along some sort of power bank, like this one.
One of Those Wifi Signal Boosters
So from what I’ve read, you can attach one of these wifi signal boosters to strengthen your connection or find signals normally out of range. It’s always on my list to buy but I forget to until the moment I realize I need it!
The wifi in Morocco is okay. I wouldn’t recommend doing any heavy duty streaming or downloading, but I could generally work online without too many issues. Autumn did manage to download a few shows to her phone, albeit very slowly. Get one you can plug into the USB on your laptop otherwise you’ll have to deal with converters all over again.
Along the lines of killing time on your way to a new city, a paperweight Kindle has tons of battery life. If you’re a reader, bring yours along so you don’t have to read off your phone.
Do NOT forget your sunglasses! You’re going to need them all the time. Mine are this pair from Amazon. I do also have a nicer Rayban pair in the Erika style, but I don’t trust myself abroad with them yet.
Water Bottle & Filter
Unfortunately, we used a lot of plastic water bottles on our trip because neither of us had proper equipment. While the water is okay to shower and brush your teeth with, it’s not recommended to drink it straight.
We did try to buy as big of bottles as we could and then I refilled my Simple Modern water bottle, but, obviously, we could have done better. Try getting the LifeStraw or LifeStraw Water Bottle instead so you can fill up anywhere.
And there you have it! Tips on what to wear in Morocco as a tourist as well as a nifty packing list. Let me know if you have anything to add!
general morocco travel tips
If you’re still planning your trip, check out which cities in Morocco we went to, like the blue city of Chefchaouen or the popular Marrakech. You may also like my guide on how to get around Morocco to help you figure out renting a car, taking the buses, or dealing with taxis. My biggest tips to download Maps.Me and save the map for Morocco offline!
It’s also a good idea to have some sort of travel insurance for more expensive emergencies! My friend had to get rabies shots, which were luckily free, but you never know how much something worse could be. Get a quote on World Nomads.