8 REASONS TRAVEL TO MOROCCO WITH A BABY
If Morocco is on your bucket list, make moves to check it off the list. With a baby in tow, Morocco is a perfect place to visit, adventure, learn, and eat.There are a million reasons to go, but here's the ones that made it to the top.
The boys right before we finished a multi-day trek in the Low Atlas Mountains
1. IT'S SAFE
This is number one in my book when finding a place to go with my son. There are threats that can be easily avoided if you are vigilant and respectful of the culture. Women should dress conservatively, covering legs, arms, shoulders, and midriff (Morocco is not the place to rock your new miniskirt to show off that post preggo bod of yours). Breastfeeding in public is also something you should not do, which was difficult for me as someone who has no shame feeding my son in public stateside.
Don't just rely on your baby's cute face. Be sure to be vigilant and smart in the market to avoid being pick-pocketed or scammed
You should also avoid dark alleys (common in Moroccan medinas), take off your flashy jewels, and keep your valuables in your room or hidden on your person while strolling through busy markets. If you follow these guidelines, Morocco is a great place to bring your baby along where you'll feel safe, secure, and welcome. The people are friendly and there is always someone willing to offer you a hand, help, directions, or a cup of tea. "On edge" traveling is thrilling when you're young and kidless, but not my thing as a parent.
People inviting us in for tea (or to just show off their high pour)
2. FOOD MADE FOR A BABY
The traditional food in Morocco is cooked in a tqgine, a pot made of clay or ceramic with a lid that has a distinctive cone shape. What they cook in it is also called tagine, a slow-cooked stew of vegetables and/or meat. The shape of the lid traps the steam and brings it back down to cook the food, giving it a soft buttery texture. Ya know what's good for a baby that's new to eating? Meats and vegetables with a soft buttery texture. Perf.
Roadside tagine stop (the tagines are the pots in the background)
When traveling to different countries, especially those that are developing and do not have the same hygienic standards in restaurants as the US, you have to be extremely careful of the food and water that you give your child. Raw fruits and vegetables could easily get your baby sick which would put a damper on the trip at the very least. These tagines are perfect because the food is thoroughly cooked, soft for a baby to chew, and taken off heat when you order it so it doesn't sit out for a microscopic science experiment to occur. And a bonus—tagines typically aren't spicy either. All of this makes Moroccan food a perfect 10 for babies and parents alike.
Mountainside meal of lentils cooked in a tagine and bread
3. CHEAP RENTALS AND GOOD ROADS
A rental car for 9 days cost us less than $200. What a bargain!
It's always frightening to commit to driving before you have seen a country—not having a good understanding of road conditions or the aggressiveness of local drivers. I have been to many countries where I would have a heart attack if I had to navigate an intersection where stoplights are only taken as a light suggestion.
Morocco is not one of those countries. The roads to the tourist destinations are of quality and their drivers are respectful for the most part. Along the roads there were countless speed traps and police stops. I was pulled over multiple times, said I couldn't speak French, and they waved me along as I think they are after public transportation vehicles for the most part. But for that reason, people went close to the speed limit to avoid the speed traps. With the cost, the roads, the efficiency, and the freedom of having your own car, it's so worth the rental.
Just a word from the "wise"—use Google Maps and follow their directions. Don't think that The Googs is taking you the long way because you see a road on the map that takes you directly to your destination. I'm not saying that I ignored Google Maps, turned down a road that ended up being a small alleyway for pedestrians and motorcycles, then reversed into a cement filled metal garbage can, but I'm not saying it didn't happen. But, just take my advise.
4. IT'S DRY
This might sound like a weird reason, but hear me out. Hot and humid places are a breeding ground for tropical diseases. Though we don't completely avoid tropical climates, it's an extra weight off our shoulders knowing that our son isn't going to get malaria, dengue fever, zika, or any of those other mosquito borne illnesses.
5. THE PRICE TAG
It's hard for us to go to expensive countries. We are cheapos to the bone and would much rather go to a country where we can easily travel economically rather than blow our vacation budget on one trip. Between the availability of low-cost but beautiful riads (traditional Moroccan houses/palaces) through AirBnB, delicious but cheap meals, pounds and pounds of dates for a dollar, and low-cost excursions, Morocco is gentle on the wallet. Of course, if you're fancy, there are high-end places to stay and eat, but for a cheaper price than you would find in expensive countries.
New to AirBNB? Use this link to get $40 off your first stay!
Our AirBNB for $22 a night in Air Benhaddou
The AirBnb had breakfast included. The view wasn't so bad either
6. LOTS TO DO
From trekking in the mountains through Berber villages, to swimming in the ocean, to wandering through medinas, to camel-trekking in the Sahara desert, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Morocco. We were only there for 2 weeks, but so much more time could be spent exploring the country. I can't imagine you would get bored too quickly in Morocco.
Camel trekking and desert camping in the Sahara Desert outside of Merzouga
Mule ride during our trek in the Low Atlas Mountains
Exploring in Essaouira, a coastal town rich with history
7. A WHOLE NEW CULTURE TO LEARN
I don't know what the scientific research is, but I strongly believe that exposing your baby to new cultures, foods, architectural styles, languages and smells fosters an open, adaptable, and understanding child and adult. Morocco will stimulate every sense and allow you to watch your baby develop in front of your eyes.
Baby's first olive
Golden hour in the medina in Essaouaira
8. THEY ARE NATURAL BABYPROOFERS
Not throughout the entire country, but in Berber villages, there are entire rooms that are made up solely of pillows and cushions on the ground. If you are a parent, you understand how wonderful this is. There's nothing worse than visiting a home or entering an AirBnB and chasing your baby around, ripping breakable decorations from their hands and saying "no, don't touch that" on loop. These traditional Berber are the most perfect rooms for tired parents and energetic toddlers.
The room we stayed in in a Berber mountain village was perfect for a baby