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The Getting Ripped Off and Why I Don’t Do Package Holidays While Traveling

Since this is my first ever post for “My Travel Wish list” I thought it would be quite fitting to write a post about my own philosophy to travel and why I love it so much…

I am in Morocco at the moment with my wife on our honeymoon if you’re interested

Now I may not be the most adventurous of travelers – I have certainly met a few who put me to shame:

This holiday isn’t the most adventurous either, I do love to travel, but this is a honeymoon after all, so we are currently at a very nice and slightly touristy hotel for the next couple of nights, after which we are going to stay in Marrakesh for a few more nights.

But however unadventurous such an itinerary may seem, this is not a package holiday – we booked flights and sourced 3 hotels ourselves, online. That’s all the planning we did really, we landed at the airport in Marrakesh and there was no rep to meet us, no coach, just Morocco, waiting to be explored.

Arriving In Marrakesh

So the first thing we did was getting some money out and jump in a Taxi ready to shoot off to the first hotel. We like to think of ourselves as being reasonably seasoned travelers, so we asked for a price before leaving and we attempt that price down to 66% of the original quote…

The result

 Well basically we were had – after we arrived at the hotel we realized it was much closer than the taxi driver had claimed and we had paid well over the odds, even with our hefty discount!

So what’s the lesson to be learned here?

This was a rookie mistake, and I am ashamed to be admitting to it, but what we should have done was figured out the conversion rate in advance so that we had a better grasp of what we are paying, found out how far the hotel was from the airport and figured out what we should be paying so that when the taxi driver quoted his extortionate price we would have known to just walk away.

It seems this con is pretty common actually, and whilst the ‘normal’ price to drive into the center of Marrakech is about 30-50MAD it is very common for drivers to charge tourists 500 or more.

And the moral of the story

Well, I didn’t actually bring this up to warn you all about Moroccan taxi drivers – Morocco is amazing and I recommend anyone to come here…

The point is that if you travel independently, no matter how much you do or don’t organize yourself, you will get ripped off – it’s sad, but that’s how the world is.

But I still wouldn’t want to go on a package holiday, because whilst I might avoid these annoyances I would also lose out on the experience. Travel is a learning curve and you’re never done learning, but the experiences, good and bad are what make it all worth it.

So when we go into Marrakesh in a couple of days, will we be conned again? Maybe, but will we be the wiser for this experience? Yep. And at the very least it is a story to tell.

So the moral of the story is this:

Travel with a sense of humor, accept that you will get ripped off; you will be irritated by foreign customs and discriminated against, but no matter what happens you will grow as a person and you will have a lot more fun doing so that you could ever have sat on the couch back home.

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