Forever roaming the world https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com Your home for long-term solo and (or) budget travel Sat, 15 Sep 2018 13:14:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 https://i2.wp.com/www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/cropped-logo-homepage.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1Forever roaming the worldhttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com 32 32 123292940 Surfers Den Hostel, Ericeira Review!https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/surfers-den-hostel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=surfers-den-hostel https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/surfers-den-hostel/#comments Sat, 15 Sep 2018 13:10:45 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=16045 Surfers Den hostel, Ericeira, Portugal: Review! *Disclaimer – This is NOT a paid or sponsored post, this honest review is based on my own experiences in this hostel*  Surfers Den hostel, Ericeira, Portugal: Review! We, backpackers, know how hostels can make a difference to our trips, so we know the importance of finding a good […]

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Surfers Den hostel, Ericeira, Portugal: Review!

Sometimes a hostel deserves a review, so this is why Forever Roaming the World has put together one for Surfers Den Hostel

*Disclaimer – This is NOT a paid or sponsored post, this honest review is based on my own experiences in this hostel* 

Surfers Den hostel, Ericeira, Portugal: Review!

We, backpackers, know how hostels can make a difference to our trips, so we know the importance of finding a good one.

Hostels have the power to make an ok trip into a good one, a good trip into something more special but also how it can have the opposite effect if the hostel is, well – shit!

Sometimes we find a little gem and we just feel at home, like that hostel was made for us. This is exactly what happened whilst I backpacked through Portugal, I arrived in a little beach town called Ericeira and stumbled upon this little hostel.

Now, regular readers will know Forever Roaming the World isn’t a blog that just writes any old post, nor does it just write reviews for the hell of it.

However, on this occasion, I feel Surfers Den Ericeria deserves one. This gem of a hostel turned my time in Ericeira from special to memorable.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world

Oh, and don’t be put off by the name, if you’re not a surfer there’s no problem – I’m not one either!

A hostel veteran

It’s fair to say since I started backpacking way back in 2010, I’ve stayed in more than my fair share of hostels all over the world. I’ve been in every type, and for different lengths of time from few days, weeks, months and even lived in some. There have been fantastic ones, some became homes and others?… Well, the less said about them the better.

I’ll honest, I stumbled upon this hostel by accident, I had planned to stay somewhere else but with it being in a difficult location, I found this one and decided to stay for the first night and head up to the other the next day.

However, as with backpacking, plans can change on a whim, you stumble upon places and fall in love with them – and that is exactly what happened here.

You can leave, but you can’t check out!

So why did I end up staying longer? Well, let me ask you, have you ever walked into a place where you’re instantly engulfed and sucked up in a big ball of positive energy, happiness, smiles, and laughter? – Well that exactly what happens to you from the moment you walk through the gates and greeted by Enrico or Federico. This hostel isn’t just about the physical look or its facilities – It’s about the charm, the warmth and special atmosphere it thrives maintain. And that is why I ended up forgetting all about that other hostel.

Don’t get me wrong, over the years there’s been other hostels I’ve loved, felt a special atmosphere in, felt at home but Surfers Den hostel just grabbed hold of me and every other guest I met during my time there. So much so, we even nicknamed it Hotel California, if only for the one line in the song – ýou can leave but you can’t check out’

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world

I can honestly say, I’ve long left the hostel but I don’t think I’ll ever check out. There is only one other hostel that grabbed me like this.

Where is Ericeria and the hostel?

Ericeira wasn’t originally on my radar, but a fellow backpacker had pointed me in it’s direction, and if you’re a backpacker who tries to avoid over-touristy places then this small fishing beach town has a place for you. Whilst it’s not over-touristy, it does attract its fair share of both local and foreign tourists during the summer and surfing seasons.

You will find Ericeira on the coast of Portugal, south of fellow surfing spots of Peniche and Nazare, above Sintra and 50 KM from Lisbon.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world

The hostel itself couldn’t be in a better position; less than a 100 yards from the main bus station (it’s next door) So perfect for those of you who don’t like booking in advance, want to treck up steep hills or go hunting around the town for hostels. The towns main attractions, shops, funfair, restaurants, cafes, bars, and main beaches are all within walking distance. And, the main center only a 5 minute walk away.

A brief history of the hostel.

Surfers Den Hostel was only opened in July 2018 by two Italian surfer friends Frederico and Enrico. I have to say, it was so good and refreshing to meet two owners of a hostel who care so much for their guests, passionate about making their hostel a memorable experience for you and just how dedicated they are.

The two of them built the hostel up by themselves after acquiring a plot and a rundown building. They grafted, cleaned, built and decked the hostel themselves. They literally put their own sweat and blood into making this hostel ready.

I’ve met plenty of owners who feel once their hostel is open their work is done, they don’t see their guests as people but just bookings and money. There are owners out there who couldn’t care less about the atmosphere, the physical state of their hostel nor give two shits about you.

These two are not like this at all!

All about the guests

Enrico and Federico, they will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, try to involve you and try to get to know you – Even though they are always on the go. They are both constantly looking for ways to improve the hostel, they are happy, very appreciative to take on feedback from their guests, and do what they can to keep improving.

Along with the cleaner, the two of them are the heart and soul of the positivity and charm of the hostel; their radiance just rubs off on their guests. Yes, I understand I seem to be waxing lyrical about them, but when you meet two owners like this, then that’s all you can do!

In their own words:

“The Surfer’s Den is our dream come true. After years of surfing trips around the world we ended up Ericeira, the only World Surf Reserve in Europe. As many do, we immediately fell in love with this magical place, and finally decided to move here. In little time we managed to create a place where to share our love for the surfing life with anyone who will join us!”

Surfers Den hostel, Ericeria Facilities.

Before I get into the hostels physical aspect, the facilities, and amenities – I would like to remind everybody it only opened in July 2018.

While everything in the hostel is brand new, it’s kept very clean, everything works as it should but it is in its infancy. So you shouldn’t expect this hostel to have everything a more established hostel would have, I mean all the extras with all the trimmings. You shouldn’t expect the hostel to have every single facility and amenity you can think of. It does, however, have all the basics a hostel should have, and much more than some hostels I’ve stayed in has.

The rooms and prices

Surfers den hostel has a big and spacious 6-bed dorm and 4 private rooms. The hostel welcomes everybody, it doesn’t matter if you’re solo traveling, a couple, traveling in groups nor your age.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world
photo credit booking.com

The Dorm comes equipped with private draws with a padlock, a clothes rack, individual night lamps, and plenty of sockets. The beds themselves are comfortable without being overly luxurious. There is no fans or Aircon in the room but it doesn’t need them as the big window not only lets in plenty of light but also plenty of flowing air to keep the room cool. Extra sheets and pillows can be requested too.

If dorms are not your thing or you want your privacy, you can also choose from one of their 4 private rooms too, which again are very spacious and come with all the basic amenities you need.

While the rooms are not completely soundproof, and as in most hostels there will be some noise, it’s not overly loud and can sleep in peace.

Room Prices vary throughout the year depending on seasons – Check out their website for live prices.

The bathrooms

The hostel contains four main unisex bathrooms, which are all very clean and well kept. They are cleaned on a regular basis, equipped with power showers and sockets in the bathroom. The size of the bathrooms are a bit small and may be a concern for some but I’m nitpicking here.

The kitchen.

Even with the Surfers Den Hostel in its infancy, they provide all the basics in the kitchen. The kitchen and dining room is very spacious, with plenty of light so you can sit comfortably on a large dining table.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world

It comes equipped with a fridge, space to store your own food, a couple of electric hobs, a toaster, kettle, and microwave. Although there is not an actual stove the hobs do the job and there may be a stove and oven in the future.

The hostel also offers a FREE breakfast in the morning between 8.30 to 11 am with an assortment of freshly baked bread, spreads, hams and cheese, tea and coffee and cereal.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world
photo credit booking.com

The common areas

Due to the size of the hostel and a few regulations beyond the owner’s control, there isn’t an actual indoor lounge as yet but I do know they are working on this to have one in the future. However, don’t be alarmed and think there’s nowhere to hang out. There is plenty of space to socialize, work, relax, eat, and drink around the large dining table in the kitchen, music is also played constantly through the hostel.

And, although the hostel doesn’t have an indoor lounge it compensates with a great little outdoor decking chillout area with ample seats and even a small pool to dip into on those hot days (most days). I spent quite a lot of my time here lounging around with my superbock. There is also a front garden area complete with sun loungers to catch a tan if you want some time to yourself.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world

The outdoor area is also equipped with a Barbeque, so bring your burgers and sausages when you check in!

Activities.

With this being a surfing town, Surfers Den Hostel also offer beginner to expert surfing lessons, which you can inquire about and book once you arrive. For those of you who are experienced surfers, there are storage spaces for your boards or the option to rent from a range of boards too.

You can also sign up for Yoga classes from the hostel with Ericeira Yoga Studio, situated across the street, which is the most renowned in town. They offer a variety of classes throughout the day: hatha, Ashtanga, aerial, vinyasa flow, yoga for surfers, guided by professionals in a cozy and warm environment. Again, you can inquire and book once you arrive at the hostel

You can find more information on their activities here: Surfers Den Hostel.

The atmosphere.

I’m sure as you’ve been reading through this post, you know how much I’ve spoken about the good vibe and atmosphere in this hostel. It’s not just important for the owners to keep up this atmosphere but backpackers, in general, are more likely to stay in places that have a good vibe.

(If you have never stayed in a hostel before, take a look at ‘Hostels, more than a place to sleep!‘ to get a better idea of what to expect in them)

As this is an important aspect of the hostel, if you want to give this hostel a go and arrive in town in a bad mood or negative vibe this place will help it float away.

Also, while this is a small, homey hostel, socializing is not just welcomed but is encouraged by all the staff. That’s not to say you will be forced to socialize, if you need time to yourself, not in the mood to talk to anybody then you’re free to be on your own.

However, if you do want to socialize, have a few drinks or even want to party, again you are free to do so as long as you don’t bother guests that don’t. I personally spent most the week partying with another guest, we didn’t bother anybody and the owners even joined us for drinks some nights. So whatever you’re looking for, you’ll get it here.

One big family.

In creating the positive atmosphere and good vibe, the owners ultimately are looking for their hostel guests to be one big family rather than just a bunch of backpackers coming in and going.

I know there are plans in the future for hostel activities, to have meals all together both in the hostel and going out for meals, or going out for drinks together. Again none of this will be forced on you but little things like this give backpackers, especially long-term backpackers some home comforts.

My overview of Surfers Den Hostel.

As you can tell, from how highly I’ve spoken of this hostel, I had an incredible time in Surfers Den Hostel. From the minute I stepped through the gates and met Enrico to the moment I had to force myself to leave, it was very special.

All I can really say is, if you are looking to head to Ericeira, pop into the Surfers Dend hostel, check it out for yourself, let it capture you and decide for yourself if you ever want to leave.

surfers den hostel review - forever roaming the world

Granted, I’m sure it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, some of you will just want a place to sleep in and leave the next day but for the majority of you I’m sure you will have a similar experience to mine.

***

Did you find this Review of Surfers Den Hostel, Ericeria helpful? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know.

Would you like further in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts? Why don’t you come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

Want to carry on your journey with Forever Roaming the world, simply step through the rabbit hole – Start here.

Do you know anybody else backpacking Portugal soon and looking to stay in Ericeria? Don’t be shy, pass this post on or share with your friends.

(Don’t forget to pin Surfers Den Hostel review)

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Maintaining long-term budget travel.https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/maintaining-long-term-budget-travel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=maintaining-long-term-budget-travel https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/maintaining-long-term-budget-travel/#comments Tue, 01 May 2018 19:21:44 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=13164 Maintaining long-term budget travel. Long-term budget travelers are just not normal! I’ve said it many times before and I’m sure it won’t be the last; shoestring budget travelers are a rare breed of people –  We’re just not like any other. What makes me say that? Well, look at us – we travel the world […]

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Maintaining long-term budget travel.

Feature picture for Forever Roaming The World's post - Maintaining Long-term Budget Travel

Long-term budget travelers are just not normal!

I’ve said it many times before and I’m sure it won’t be the last; shoestring budget travelers are a rare breed of people –  We’re just not like any other.

What makes me say that? Well, look at us – we travel the world months and years on end with the minimum amount of funds, sometimes with just the clothes on our backs (or in our backpacks) and with no grand plan or set route; we just roam!

Some of you may be saying that Sounds amazing; how cool would it be to just roam the world with no baggage and no worries?

While, yes it’s true in a way otherwise we wouldn’t do it but…there’s always a but. Here’s the thing and there’s no point trying to kid anybody or over-glamorize it; budget traveling can be difficult and maintaining long-term budget travel can be grueling. You might not like hearing this but the harsh truth is not everybody can cope with it.

Now I’m sure you might be reading this and thinking ‘hold on, this is a travel blog shouldn’t you be promoting budget travel and not be trying to put me off?’ – Well I’m not doing either, I’m merely conveying the truth (something that seems to be missing a lot nowadays. Long-term budget travel realism’s is the other side of the traveling coin; the things that don’t get talked about.)

Just telling the truth.

So what is the truth about long-term budget traveling? …Well, it can be difficult, a grind, it can wear you down, be a strain on you mentally, there will be bumps in the road and there can be some very dark days. Without a shadow of a doubt, it will yank you out of your comfort zone! However, if you can battle through this then it can be so rewarding, fulfilling, enriching and even life-changing. (Sorry for the cliché’s but it’s true.)

Long term budget traveling realism's are a series of posts showing what really happens while budget traveling, the things that don't get talked about...

If you truly want to know what you are capable of, then long-term budget traveling will show you in no uncertain terms. Personally, over the years I have learned more about myself and my character than I ever thought possible. Long-term budget traveling has the power to change you and your outlook on life, it can help you appreciate the little things, build your character and strengthen you. It will put you through the ringer but you’ll be better off for it – Or you won’t. Long-term budget traveling is like being thrown in the deep and you either learn to swim or you sink.

Now you’ve heard that; the question is, at this point are you scared or excited by the prospect of long-term budget travel?

Before you make a decision, why don’t you read on and make your mind up at the end of this post after I show you how you can not only do it but maintain it for years…

How can it be done and kept going?

A question I get asked by friends, family and even other travelers is, just how do you keep it going? How can somebody like me, who doesn’t have a lot of money, to begin with, doesn’t have a trust fund or any savings and doesn’t always have a job to go back to sustain a constant life of traveling and drifting one country to the next?

Well, there are a number of factors that come into play to maintaining long-term budget travel, some are basic, some are on your mentality and others depend on your willingness to adapt and learn.

(NB: I managed to maintain a life of budget traveling continuously from 2010-2016 before finally taking an extended break. When I returned home in 2016 I tried to live a normal life but it didn’t work out so I started traveling again.)

So let’s start from with the basics…

Passport/Visa.

First of all, how long you can stay in one country or region for depends on where you are from. The strength of your passport will determine what countries you can travel to, how long you can stay for, and whether you need a visa or not.

long-term budget travel

For example, I’m British so I’m very lucky as my passport allows me to travel to most countries in the world with no problem. In certain countries I can stay longer than others, in certain countries there is no need for a visa, I can work in certain countries and I can travel freely through Europe (Note this is Pre-Brexit.)

Check if you need a visa with Visa-Central

Working.

The second basic factor in maintaining long-term budget travel is having to work while you travel. It’s unfortunate (especially for those of us who hate it) but there’s no other way around it; traveling requires money. Sure you can save and start with a base and try to do things as cheap as possible but if you’re planning on traveling long-term then eventually your money is going to dry up.

Now, this isn’t the part of the post where I tell you all you need is your laptop and you can start earning straight away. Sure, if you have a particular skill set, technically sound or have experience then yes, you can be a digital nomad. For those of you that aren’t don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to earn and work while traveling. Again, depending on your visa and where you are from will determine the level of work you can do (If you’re on a working holiday visa, you can apply for any type of job you’re skilled in and the same if you’re an EU national traveling around Europe.)

There are plenty of other options too, work on farms, manual labor, restaurant, and bar work, promo work, pick up odd jobs here and there, work in your hostel…Remember you’re just looking for work to keep your travels going. This post gives you an idea of different types of jobs you can do traveling.)

Maintaining long-term budget travel.

Your passport strength, visa options and willingness to work will be your foundations but the other factors in maintaining long-term budget travel depend on you, your adaptability and willingness to learn.

Traveling is A learning curve.

Traveling – any form of it is a learning curve and it’s the same for your mindset too. As a long term-budget traveler every day is an education. Sure, there will be things you already know but It’s perfectly normal to be naive to certain situations too. Just remember you’ll pick up things/life-skills along the way, so allow yourself to constantly evolve and adapt. Even somebody like me who is regarded as a seasoned long-term budget traveler still learns.

That’s the beauty of traveling; the way we travel, the way we think, the way our minds expand is ever-changing.

Keep your planning loose.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before and for good reason. For us long-term budget travelers It’s so important to keep our plans loose. Remember, Long-term traveling is a marathon and inevitably at some point during your trip plans will change.

Planning loosely has a number of benefits to you; it keeps you flexible for when things change or situations occur. There will be times you change your mind (you are allowed to change your mind.) You might not like a place or on the other hand fall in love with it and want to stay longer; these things can happen.

Relax!

Planning loosely also saves you from burning out too quickly, a big reason why some travelers can’t cope with long-term budget traveling is that they try to do too much too quickly. Trying to be on the go all the time stresses people out, and in most cases, people don’t get to appreciate what they’re doing or seeing at that moment in time.

Plan loose, research well!

However In saying that, you shouldn’t get planning and having a heavy itinerary confused for research. Doing good research can really make a difference to a long-term travelers journey and saves on needless spending. There’s a difference in having the knowledge of a country to trying to cram everything it has to offer in too quickly.

Common sense.

This should probably have been at the top of the pile. It shocks me on the number of people I meet traveling that have ZERO common sense. And, it’s those who have no common sense that ends up getting into difficulties and trouble.

As a budget traveler, more often than not you’re going to in and around locals, sometimes you’ll be in less advanced or poor countries so don’t be a tourist, don’t flash your money or belongings around. Don’t make it obvious that you’re a tourist, don’t think you’re better than them, don’t act like you own their country and be respectful of certain countries, beliefs and values – You are in their country!

Quite simply, don’t be an idiot when traveling, use your common sense!

Open minded.

The majority of people who start traveling either already have or want to open their minds. People want to learn new cultures, experience new sights, sounds, and tastes. At the end of the day we all want to experience something new otherwise why would we travel?

However in saying that there will times and situations when you come across or experience a culture shock. It could be something you’ve grown up believing is wrong but to natives it’s normal; this will happen at times and even though it’s hard, these are the times you need to try to keep an open mind.

If you’ve never stayed in backpacker hostels, especially party hostels, this may be your biggest culture shock. Anything and everything can happen in them. What you need to remember is, the other travelers are just being free, letting go, so it’s not your place to judge. I’m not saying you have to do the same as them, just keep an open mind.

Open your mind, go with the flow and don’t judge others – but as mentioned above use your common sense.

Don’t be fussy.

This was a big one for me before I traveled I was a very fussy eater and it was one of my main concerns; how would I cope.

Just like other things I learned to let go of the fussiness, I learned to just go with it, I adapted.

So, if you’re somebody who’s quite fussy, you should learn to do the same. Now I’m not saying it will happen overnight, it does take time and sometimes it can be a struggle but as long as your willing to try and let go you’ll be fine.

And it’s not just with food, remember you’re a budget traveler, quality all around is going to be lower, hostels are not hotels, cleanliness will be lower in places, hygiene is none existent in some places – All these things tie in with keeping an open mind.

As budget travelers sometimes you just have to suck it up, you don’t have a choice, and I don’t mean to sound nasty but expectations may need to be lowered and be less fussy or you won’t last very long.

Learn to lose your inhibitions.

This is one of those that definitely comes with time and the more you travel and will help in maintaining long-term budget travel. The more you do the more relaxed you are and the more you know how certain dynamics work. Over time you get used to not caring about certain things, as you become more open-minded, lose your fussiness, your inhibitions will start to fall away to.

I’ve met so many people over the years who have started off with being self-conscious, cagey, fussy, riddled with anxiety but slowly over time they learned to let go. Again, it happens with time, not everybody can strip away all their inhibitions straight away, some people force themselves to do it, while to others it happens naturally. From experience though let me tell you when it does happen – it feels like the shackles are off and you’ve been set free.

Become flexible, adaptable, resourceful and creative is key to maintaining long-term budget travel.

A key to maintaining long-term budget travel is to become flexible, adaptable to situations and circumstances and resourceful.

The flexibility comes in handy when things don’t go to plan, and there are times when plans just go out the window. If you’re flexible then it won’t matter too much, you can just change the course of direction.

There will be times when you have to adapt to certain situations if something unexpected pops up, be ready and adapt to it.

One of the biggest keys to maintaining Long-term budget travel is learning to become resourceful, use what’s around you, seek out bargains, get creative in your thinking. For example, it there if a tour you want to do but can’t afford it, look at other ways of doing it, trust me where there’s a will there’s a way.

Backpacking Peru will take you from feeling like your at the edge of the world in Miraflores, Via the desert, mysterious Nazca lines, through the Andes and High altitude to the sleepy Aguascalientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. This guide provides you with tips, transport, accommodation, budgeting and...

The word ‘FREE‘ will become the best thing you can come across and like a dog sniffing out a bone you will be able to sniff out anything that is free.

Keep your eyes open and learn from other budget travelers.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or if you’re a seasoned budget traveler, you never stop learning, and there’s no better way of learning than to keep your eyes open and to learn from other budget travelers. You should never think that you know it all, there will always be methods, ways to adapt and evolve to make your traveling life easier.

You should bear in mind when you start off budget traveling, you will be a novice. You’re not going to know much of how budget traveling works but over time these things will come to you, you’ll gain the experience, you’ll become savvy and all around you will be a better budget traveler. See how Forever Roaming The World went from being a novice backpacker to a seasoned traveler.

***

Did you find this maintaining long-term budget travel post helpful for your impending trip? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know about?

If you would like further posts like ‘maintaining long-term budget travel’, other in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

Want to carry on your journey with Forever Roaming the world, simply step through the rabbit hole – Start here.

Don’t forget to pin maintaining long-term budget travel

Maintaining Long-term budget travel - Just how do I keep it going? How can somebody like me, who doesn't have a lot of money, or any savings and doesn't always have a job to go back to sustain a constant life of traveling and drifting one country to the next In this post I explain how maintaining long-term budget travel is possible

 

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Budget travel accommodation optionshttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/budget-travel-accommodation-options/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=budget-travel-accommodation-options https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/budget-travel-accommodation-options/#comments Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:40:18 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=13168 Budget travel accommodation options. Budget travel accommodation options. For budget travelers, costs and expenditure are always at the forefront of our thoughts. We budget travelers are always looking to cut corners on needless spending where possible (I mean, we try to) and none more so than for accommodation. Accommodation can end up taking quite a […]

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Budget travel accommodation options.

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Budget travel accommodation options.

For budget travelers, costs and expenditure are always at the forefront of our thoughts. We budget travelers are always looking to cut corners on needless spending where possible (I mean, we try to) and none more so than for accommodation.

Accommodation can end up taking quite a hefty chunk out of your budget and sometimes even blow them if you’re not careful. Think about if you’re traveling on a tight budget can you afford or want to throw money away on hotel rooms every night?

So, if you’re planning your first trip the question becomes ‘What are my accommodation options on a tight budget?

Well, traditionally backpackers and budget travelers have had hostels to turn to; budget accommodation that provides a community feel or couch surfing. However, with travel becoming more and more accessible, there is an abundance of budget travel accommodation options

So what are they?

Budget travel accommodation options: Backpacker Hostels.

Hostels are still amongst one of the most popular budget travelers accommodation options. Hostels can be much more than a place to sleep, they provide a roof, sometimes food, a place to meet other backpackers and provide a social environment and actually can turn into an integral part of your traveling experience.

Forever Roaming the World has a dedicated section just for hostels having stayed in my fair share of them over the years (practically lived in a few.)

Air BNB

Over the past few years, AirBnB has grown in popularity with budget travelers due to finding low-cost bargains, home comforts, and location. Unlike staying in hotels or hostels you can get a sense of how a local lives, you get to be in and within the community and unlike renting an apartment you have direct contact with the owner. In some cases the owner will be present during your stay, they might just rent a room out to you.

While a good option some due diligence needs to be done on your host as there have been cases of travelers getting scammed, hosts blaming travelers for breakdowns, or even just not being there to hand keys over.

Check here if you would like to know more about Airbnb 

Picture credit: Air BnB

Couch Surfing.

In years gone by, couch surfing was exactly what it says on the tin; sleeping on somebody’s couch, often for free. It could have been a friend of yours, somebody you traveled with previously, or just a stranger giving you their couch.

However, in recent years, couch surfing has grown much broader. You’ll now find an official Couchsurfing website which boasts over 14 million members. You can sign up to be a host or a surfer or just to join the community where you can meet like-minded travelers and locals.

Couchsurfing is popular due to obvious fact that it can be free (A budget travelers favorite word) you stay in a local environment and be part of the culture. Also when you’re in and amongst locals, your host normally shows you around, you get to meet other locals and get the local perspective of your destination.

Get more information on Couchsurfing here.

Photo credit: Couchsurfing

House sitting.

Another option that is growing in popularity with backpackers and budget travelers. So what’s the deal with House sitting?

Well, the concept is quite simple, people who want to go away on holiday or away from their homes for a prolonged amount of time and don’t want to leave their house empty will advertise for house sitters. If chosen you go and house sit, you get your own privacy and can use all amenities. In most cases, you house sit for free but in exchange, you have to maintain and upkeep the house, do some general chores or look after pets the owners have left behind. Obviously, there is an element of trust here and hosts and tenants are vetted before being accepted.

Here are a few different websites you can sign up to for house sitting services.

Note: some of these sites require you to pay an upfront fee to join their services. 

Campervan.

Who doesn’t like a good road trip? Well, why not take it to the next level and get that feeling of ultimate freedom?

Renting a campervan is such a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers because you can combine your transport and accommodation costs into one. Not only that but having your own campervan gives you control and freedom over your journey and at your own pace. You go wherever you want instead of a pre-determined route like you would on public transport or organized tours.

There are other advantages too, some campervans come equipped with a small burner to cook on, so you can save on food costs. You can travel by yourself giving you privacy, with a partner or a group, some hostels allow campervans to park up and let you use their amenities and resources.

While there are many advantages to this method, there are some disadvantages. You may have a breakdown and have to delve into an already tight budget, you might get lonely if you’re traveling solo, you might not be used to the rules on the route to the particular country you’re in, if you’re traveling through winter it gets cold in vans or fuel costs may be just too high. Or like in my experience you start and lose a war – A war with bugs, most commonly with mosquitoes!

There are so many campervan rental companies spread around the world, some more expensive than others, some more reputable than others. If you want to rent a campervan for your trip do some good research.

Backpacking New Zealand will leave you amazed every which way you turn, a country that boasts, Volcanoes, black sand beaches intricate caves, luscious rolling green hills, formidable mountains, Glaciers, hot springs and a Fergburger - Forever Roaming the world will guide you with tips, transport...

Camping.

Strip it all away, become one with nature and pitch up a tent or sleep in a hammock under the stars, in the jungle, on a beach or in a campsite! If you like camping or want to really want to eliminate your accommodation costs then this is your choice.

Over the years I’ve met other budget travelers who will only camp and managed to save so much on accommodation costs. The good thing about camping is, with the traveling industry growing there are more designated camping areas available and some in absolute picturesque locations.

However obviously if you are looking to camp out there are certain things you should take into account. Like: Having good camping gear in the first place, be aware of any safety issues, keep bug spray on you, be aware where you’re pitching up for the night, is it legal? Is there any wildlife territory you might be intruding on?

budget travel accommodation options

Sleeper trains/buses.

For budget travelers at one point or another, you are going to take an overnight bus or train, in many countries trains and buses include makeshift sleeper areas (makeshift bunk beds, flatbeds, pods, fully reclining seats.) Now the logic for most of us is that in taking an overnight bus/train we will save money on a nights accommodation – Well yes in theory that’s right but the practicality is you won’t sleep that well and will waste the next day catching up on sleep.

However with this knowledge in hand, we still take overnight buses, we sacrifice that night’s sleep to save a nights rent.

Budget travel accommodation options are taken to the extreme – Rough it up.

Take it to the absolute extreme, if the funds are incredibly tight, you can chance it, sleep in train stations, airports, or other public areas and slum it out. I highly recommend you don’t get to this point. Yes there will be times you don’t have a choice like when you need to catch an early flight or train, or it might get canceled for one reason or another (ash clouds and any sign of snow in England) but in general, try not to be in this situation.

***

There are other budget travel accommodation options that will be available to you but the aforementioned will be the most common that you will most likely choose from. Of course, there will be times you might just want to slip away to a hotel for some comfort too, plenty of budget travelers have done it before you.

Did you find this budget travel accommodation options post helpful for your impending trip? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know?

If you would like further posts like ‘budget travel accommodation options’, other in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

Want to carry on your journey with Forever Roaming the world, simply step through the rabbit hole – Start here.

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As a budget traveler or backpacker, costs and expenditure are always at the forefront of our thoughts. A budget traveler will always look to cut out needless costs where possible and that rings true for accommodation. This resource page lists budget travel accommodation options.Logo for Forever Roaming the World

 

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Budget travel transport options.https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/budget-travel-transport-options/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=budget-travel-transport-options https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/budget-travel-transport-options/#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2018 17:26:50 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=13162 Budget travel transport options. Budget travel transport options. As ridiculous as it sounds, one of the biggest pains about budget traveling can be the actual traveling from point A to B. It can be such a headache figuring out a balance between comfort, convenience, and cheapness. When choosing budge travel transport options you might be […]

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Budget travel transport options.

Feature picture for forever roaming the worlds post about different budget travel transport options

Budget travel transport options.

As ridiculous as it sounds, one of the biggest pains about budget traveling can be the actual traveling from point A to B. It can be such a headache figuring out a balance between comfort, convenience, and cheapness.

When choosing budge travel transport options you might be tempted just to seek out the cheapest (and sometimes you have no other choice) but trust me when you’re traveling long-distances you need some comfort to make it through the journey.

Long term budget traveling realism's are a series of posts showing what really happens while budget traveling, things that don't get talked..

Sometimes you hear about the glamour of traveling but the nuts and bolts, the in-between’s don’t really get a mention because it’s not glamorous.

I’m just being real with you, as a budget traveler you will endure different levels of comfort and some journeys will be a nightmare. However, with the right research, you can find some bargains and get a good balance in comfort and cost.

So the question is – What are your transport options as a budget traveler?

Intercity/ local traveling.

Most countries will have a local option, these generally tend to be the cheapest. In underdeveloped countries, you’re likely to find Tuk-Tuks, Caminos, chicken buses, local buses, even horse, and carriage.

 

You should keep in mind, although local transport is the cheapest, the drivers will know you’re not a local and will try to charge you a little extra. There are a few simple ways to combat this, try speaking a few words in the local language, don’t act like a tourist, have a local companion with you, see how much others are paying and just give the right amount of change.

Backpacking Bolivia will be raw and rugged, it will test you mentally but if you can cope with it you'll be treated to its natural beauty like the Uyuni salt flats, the gateway to the Amazon basin, leave you breathless in La Paz. This guide will help you with tips, transport, budgeting, accommodation...

Public transport – buses/trains/metro systems.

Most developed countries have networked public transport systems whether that’s buses, trains or interlinking metro systems. If you are planning to stay in the region for a prolonged amount of time it’s a good idea to invest in passes or discount cards. For budget travelers, they can really help with your budget. There will be different types of passes, daily/weekly/monthly, some will be unlimited travel, zone passes and some with come with activities included or discounts on activities so these are great budget travel transport options.

In smaller villages and towns, you can typically rent bicycles or just walk around. If it’s within your means you can rent cars or mopeds too.

Taxi/Uber/other private transportation.

A taxi ride of any sort will inevitably be your most expensive choice but sometimes there are no other options and you have to bite the bullet. Depending on what type of country you’re traveling within, be wary of taxi scams, do a little research into official taxis. Do make sure before getting into certain taxi’s that they have a meter, if they don’t, you should haggle and agree on a price BEFORE you sit in the taxi. Remember if you think it seems too expensive then it probably is.

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Bluebird taxis were regulated taxi’s in Bali and always on the meter.

Uber and other private transportation companies operate all over the world and can be cheaper than regular taxi’s.

Long distant traveling.

Overnight buses.

An overnight long distant journey is something you will need to get acquainted with as a budget traveler and they can be the bane of your life. So why take them? Well, in theory, taking an overnight bus saves you on a nights accommodation and you’re not wasting a day by traveling.

However, the practicality of it is, yes you are saving a night’s rent but in some cases, you sacrifice a night’s sleep. What I’m saying is don’t expect to get much sleep, you might nod in and out but your journey can be bumpy, uncomfortable, too hot/cold, even too noisy. And, there is no logical reason for this but bus drivers love to blast the air-con (no matter how hot or cold it is) in the dead of the night and blast local music always around 4 am!

In choosing buses for long-distant travel you’ll normally be greeted with a choice ranging from no-frills tin pots to luxury budget options. And, in certain countries, the luxury budget options will not put you out of pocket so I highly recommend going for them, for your sanity to remain intact. Luxury options generally come with meals included, regular stops and comfortable with fully reclining seats or makeshift beds.

Local buses.

If taking long-distant journeys are off-putting, then depending on your time-frame, you may consider breaking up your journey by taking smaller trips on local buses. This way you can go from town to town and see more of the country before you get to your desired destination. However, this option is quite time-consuming and can get tiring and also might just turn out more expensive.

Backpacker tour/ hop on-off buses.

A popular choice amongst first-time solo and budget travelers is to take either a tour bus or a hop on-off bus.

Backpacker tour bus.

Essentially they’re party buses catered towards gap year travelers, which are organized by tour companies. If you have a set time in which to travel, like your itinerary laid out for you, want to meet other travelers and want a party along the way – this would be your ideal choice. Most companies will offer various routes through a country with pre-determined stops, activities, excursions, and accommodation for you. With this option, you’ll spend a set amount of time at each stop; which can range from a few hours to a few days. The packages will be pre-paid when you book. If you are looking to travel solo for the first time but afraid that you’ll be lonely, this is a good option to combat that.

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Hop on-off buses.

If you want more flexibility and don’t want your itinerary laid out for you but you are looking for a set route, this might be a better option for you. There are a number of different options that come with Hop on-off buses, you have the freedom to choose your starting and finishing destinations as well where you want to stop along the way but you have to decide that before you book the ticket. Most typically with this option, your trip will be for a set amount of time, however, you have the freedom to stop in a particular destination as long as you like within the set time period.

There are both advantages and disadvantages with Hop on-off buses. The advantages would be that your route is laid out for you, you have the flexibility to stop where you want and how long you want and you’re not stuck a whole journey with the same people. The disadvantages are that sometimes the bus will only run through a particular destination on certain days or at certain times, so that takes away some of the flexibility, sometimes drivers can be funny with you, sometimes your bus doesn’t turn up.

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(Note: In most cases, you have to call or get in touch with the bus company 24 hours before you intend to move destination to confirm your seat on the bus.)

For both of these options, the most popular traveling destinations and backpacker tour companies have a number of choices available for you. For example STA travel: – package tours.

Trains.

Another alternative is to take a train, many countries around the world have long distance and sleeper trains; some train journeys can be quite scenic. Just like with the buses, trains come will offer different levels of comfort, I know some people who have vowed never to take a sleeper train ever again but others who loved the experience. There are some countries where taking a train ride is an adventure in itself.

Although trains will be a quicker option, they tend to be more expensive than bus journeys, so you will have to decide on what would suit you best.

Budget travel transport options: Renting.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a good ol’ road trip? Renting a car or a campervan lets you take the road trip to the next level. If it’s within your means and you can drive then renting is a highly recommended option. Renting a vehicle provides you the ultimate freedom. You are the master of your journey; take the route you want, travel when and how you want, as fast or slow you want. And also another benefit of renting is you can save on accommodation costs; rent a campervan and that’s your transport and accommodation rolled into one.

The majority of countries around the world allow you to rent vehicles and there are so many services on offer for budget travelers.

However, there are a few things to consider before jumping into a campervan. You should look into fuel costs, reliability, will the terrain be too difficult for you to navigate? Will you be driving on the same side of the road as you’re used to? Are the rules of the road the same as what you’re used to? I.E driving in South East Asia and South America is totally different to driving in a Western Country.

Backpacking New Zealand will leave you amazed every which way you turn, a country that boasts, Volcanoes, black sand beaches intricate caves, luscious rolling green hills, formidable mountains, Glaciers, hot springs and a Fergburger - Forever Roaming the world will guide you with tips, transport...
My baby in New Zealand

Flying.

Sometimes budget travelers automatically assume flying is too expensive but that’s not always the case. It’s always worth checking out the price of domestic or regional flights, especially within Europe and South East Asia. The obvious benefit to flying is that it gets you to your destination quicker.

An example of this would be during my time in Colombia, rather than taking a 9-hour bus ride from Medellin to Bogota, which I had heard from other travelers to be treacherous, I opted for a 1-hour flight and only cost me a couple of dollars more than the bus ride.

Backpacking Colombia has a high chance you fall in love with it! A country risen from the ashes of a violent past to show the world its natural and true beauty. If you're planning on traveling Colombia this guide provides tips, transport, accommodation options, budgeting help and...

Hitchhiking.

You might be surprised to hear that hitchhiking is actually quite popular with budget travelers and less dangerous than you might think. Hitchhiking not only gives you a sense of adventure, you never know who you’re going to meet but also it’s free! And for a budget traveler, anything that is free is a win!

Of course, if you are to hitchhike, then you do have to use your common sense and be careful of who you decide to ride with.

I’ve met travelers who have traveled through entire countries and regions by just hitchhiking.

Are you game to try hitchhiking?

Boats/water transport.

Another mode of transport you’re most likely to encounter at some point is traveling by boat. Boat’s will not only come into factor when traveling to Islands but also offer border crossings. If you’re a fan of the open water this could a viable choice for you.

Boat trips will come in all shapes and sizes and comfort for traveling to Islands, channel hops, border crossings, cruises, and excursions. As with all transport options make sure to do your research. The more touristy areas and Islands will have a plethora of boat ferrying companies willing to take you back and forth and some will try over-pricing you. There are some cheap options out there for you, you just have to look.

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Useful links to transport websites.

In most cases your best budget travel transport options are to seek out transport options locally when you arrive at your destination, however below are some websites that can be quite helpful when looking into or booking transport.

Check my bus – A good site that lets you check and book local bus journeys all around the world.

Routes international – Covers every mode of transport from all around the world.

The man in seat 61 – One of the most comprehensive and reputable train travel guide/search and booking portal on the internet. Includes local, trans-country and trans-regional train journeys from all around the world.

Rome to Rio – A global trip planner by any mode of transport in any country around the world.

For the best underground/subway/metro maps, you need to look up for each individual country.

STA travel worldwide bus passes – Offer passes for bus companies around the world.

***

Did you find this backpacking Budget travel transport options post helpful for your impending trip? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know about Budget travel transport options.

If you would like further posts like ‘Budget travel transport options’, other in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

Want to carry on your journey with Forever Roaming the world, simply step through the rabbit hole – Start here.

Do you know anybody else who’s going backpacking and will need some Budget travel transport options advice? Share this post with them too.

Don’t forget to pin Budget travel transport options

As ridiculous as it sounds, one of the biggest pains about budget traveling can be the actual traveling from one place to another. It can be such a headache figuring out a balance between comfort, convenience and cheapness. This Budget travel transport options post gives you an idea of your choices.

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Different budget travelershttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/different-budget-travelers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=different-budget-travelers https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/different-budget-travelers/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2018 18:27:48 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=13124 Different budget travelers. There is no rule book on how to travel! You know, the beauty of traveling, is that anybody can travel in whichever way they see fit. And, that is something you should remember if you’re thinking about traveling for the first time; nobody should ever dictate to you how you should travel. […]

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Different budget travelers.

different budget travelers - forever roaming the world

There is no rule book on how to travel!

You know, the beauty of traveling, is that anybody can travel in whichever way they see fit. And, that is something you should remember if you’re thinking about traveling for the first time; nobody should ever dictate to you how you should travel. There is no particular way, there is no structure, there is no rule book – you do it how you want to and in a way that best fits your means.

Some of you might watch vlogs and read blogs daydreaming about roaming the world but think you can’t. Well, as somebody who used to think the same, let me assure you it is possible.

Since I took the leap and packed my bags for the other side of the world in 2010, I’ve met so many inspirational people from all walks of life,  different backgrounds, circumstances and financial situations – The one thing we all had in common though; a desire to travel! And, if you do then carry on reading.

Different budget travelers.

Here’s the thing I’m sure we all know there are different types of travelers out there from luxury travelers, solo, family, adventure, nomads to budget backpackers.

But…Did you know there are different budget travelers out there? That’s right, different levels of budget traveling…who would have thought it? A budget traveler is a budget traveler right?

Well no we’re not! Think about it for a second, you might be thinking about traveling and know you’ll have to on some sort of budget but what’s the reason?… Is because like many of us you can’t afford to travel any other way? Do you have other commitments? A family to provide for? Or do you just want to challenge yourself and see if you can travel on a budget?

What type of budget traveler will you be?

 (Note: The following are ‘different budget travelers’ I’ve met and in some instances been inspired by whilst traveling since 2010.)

The pretenders!

These guys, well, are more often than not luxury travelers who want to experiment, they have a curiosity, just to see what it feels like to ‘slum it’. I’ve come across these types of travelers in hostels before and the funny thing is, the first day or two they try their best not to flaunt their cash and try to stick to a budget but as soon as they see something shiny (so to speak) the floodgates open. I met one couple who didn’t like the locals because they were poor and left the next day to check into a 5-star resort. But I’m not knocking them, fair play to them, they tried it didn’t work and they have the cash, so why not spend it right?

The holiday fund budget travelers.

These guys have a life to tend to, they have other commitments, bills to pay, families to raise, they can’t just use their money for traveling. So they have to save,  I mean save hard to make a holiday/travel fund and what they manage to save; that’s their budget.

During their trips, whether that’s for a week or a month, they will do their best not to go over budget because they really can’t afford to dip into their everyday funds. I can’t do anything but applaud the effort and sacrifices they make to save their money; I find it hard enough just to save for myself let alone a whole family.

Mid-level flexi budget travelers.

The ones that travel on a budget but also have a little extra in reserve to splurge out at times. While the frugal budget traveler will have strong will power these guys know before their trip has begun they will splurge a little, so they make provisions for that when saving. They might even have a secondary fund for their splurges that they allow themselves to dip into.

The ones I’ve met will normally try to save on expenses for a few days, try not to spend much but then allow themselves to spend freely and more than normal another day.

It’s not uncommon to see a flexi budget traveler, leave the hostel for a couple of days to go and get some comfort in a hotel or pamper themselves. Sometimes they will eat locally 6 days of the week so they go and fine dine on the 7th or take the luxury transport option as long as they don’t go too far over their budget.

The strict budget traveler.

This type of budget traveler is on the ball, they are the ones that have worked out 100% of their costs before the trip. They normally have strict itineraries planned out, activities booked, already know the places they will eat and sleep in. They are the ones that can’t and won’t allow themselves to stray from their itineraries otherwise their budget goes into disarray. Having come across this type of budget traveler before it wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve planned out forecasts in the months they spent planning their trip.

I do have to mention, it’s these types of travelers that I meet that are the most stressed out while traveling because they have to stick to their strict itinerary; always on the go and don’t take the time to enjoy or take in what they are doing.

The frugal budget traveler.

The type of budget traveler that has the most willpower. They will only spend money when they need to, and they will make sure they are getting value for their buck! Budget travelers all have to be frugal at times but most of us will buckle at some point, we will get tempted to spend when we don’t need to, buy something needless; we all get tempted and sometimes fall to temptation; not these guys. They will stand firm.

I’ve seen these guys in action, while I have buckled they have not, they will scrutinize every cost, squeeze their money and in most cases are really organized.

Long-term budget travelers/nomads/drifters. (9 months+)

This is the category I fall into. We’re the ones who love to travel the world but just don’t have much money, to begin with. We are the ones that strip away everything we don’t need and travel on bare bones. We’re not the best at saving money and what little we do have that’s our budget.

While other budget travelers will have set a budget, whatever money we have is our budget, we are the survivors, and in most cases get very creative in making our money stretch. Is hard? Yes but it’s also fun making our money stretch. You will also find bare-bones budget travelers to be quite open-minded, laid back with the loosest of plans and you’ll find us just drifting around letting the wind dictate when and how we move on.

The broke, no frills…free is my favorite word budget traveler.

The most resourceful of all the different budget travelers, these guys have such a desire to wander the earth, even the lack of money will not stop them. These budget travelers have little or no money but they don’t care. Free is their favourite word in every sense; they will search out anything going for free, they have no qualms in exchanging work for food or accommodation, hitchhike, slum it out, seep in the wilderness, take the cheapest local transport to get to their next destination and will just survive on next to nothing.

However there is a flip side to this type of traveler, some of them resort to begging, their not begging to survive, they’re begging to prolong their travels and this is something I strongly disagree with. If you get into that much of a state then it’s time to go home! These are the type of people who give us budget travelers a bad name. Don’t be that guy or girl!

***

Did you find this ‘Different budget travelers’ post helpful? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know?

If you would like further posts like ‘Different budget travelers’, other in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

Want to carry on your journey with Forever Roaming the world, simply step through the rabbit hole – Start here.

Do you know anybody else backpacking Australia’s east coast soon? Share this Backpacking Australia east coast post with them.

Don’t forget to pin Different budget travelers post

Did you know there are different budget travelers out there?...Think about it for a second, you might be looking to budget travel but what type of budget traveler will you be? Why are you even budget traveling for? What type of Budget traveler will you be?

 

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IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour- part2https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/igomorocco-sahara-desert-trip-pt2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=igomorocco-sahara-desert-trip-pt2 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/igomorocco-sahara-desert-trip-pt2/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2018 19:50:52 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=14361 IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour – part 2 is a continuations of Sahara desert tour. The adventure continues! Don’t forget to catch up on Sahara Desert tour part 1 before you dive into this one. Day 2 – Off to the desert we go! Waking up at the crack of dawn is something I like to call […]

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IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour – part 2 is a continuations of Sahara desert tour.

The adventure continues!

Don’t forget to catch up on Sahara Desert tour part 1 before you dive into this one.

Day 2 – Off to the desert we go!

Waking up at the crack of dawn is something I like to call waking up at ‘Stupid O’clock!‘ – I don’t like it but on this day I had no other choice.

I’ll be honest, it was a lot colder through the night than I expected, so I didn’t want to leave the snug warmth of the heated room. I didn’t want to spend another day in a mini-van but I was so excited to get to the desert.

Obviously, with this being Morocco the free breakfast consisted of Moroccan tea, coffee, bread, bread, and some more bread. Remember though, it’s a long old day so stocking up on the carbs is worth it.

Less confusion.

Unlike the previous day, this one started confusion-less, the same driver picked us up from the hotel, the same group was reunited and off we went.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

Instantly accommodation stories were exchanged. Those who opted not to upgrade were clearly disgruntled with the shared accommodation and complained about just how cold it got, while those of us who upgraded kept quiet, not wanting to rub it in their faces. If it wasn’t for the upgrade I received for writing this post, I would have been one of those complaining too.

Mini tours.

Once the complaining was over with, excitement started to filter through the group, with every mile covered the Sahara desert was getting closer. Just like the previous day the long drive was broken up with a couple of mini-tours. The first being a Berber village; was quite the education in Moroccan traditions, how they’re still upheld and how life in Morocco is so different outside of the Cities. The tour guide educated us on the importance of everybody from the nomads, the Berbers, to the people in the cities are to the fabric of Moroccan life.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

Whilst being shown around the village, we were welcomed into a local house, where we were also shown how hand-woven carpets are made and transported to the cities like Marrakesh to be sold to tourists but the true purpose of this was a subtle sales pitch. Oh yes, the old man in this little clay house came prepped with a Credit Card machine and tried to sell us some carpets. He even advised the carpets would be delivered by courier, more specifically by DHL. Let’s just say none of us took a bite and the friendly old man couldn’t wait to get us out of his house to bring in the next load of tourists.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3 IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

With the failed sales pitch out of the way, the group was ushered out of the house and out of the village to our final mini-tour; the Todra Gorge.

I have to be honest here, if there were fewer tourists, fewer vehicles lining the narrow fault, walking through the footholds of this limestone gorge would have felt far more impressive. I don’t know it might be just me but whenever a space like this is crawling with tourists it just takes away some of the magic. However in saying that, as I stood in the footholds and looked up at the sheer size it did make me feel quite insignificant in the grand scale of things.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

Are we there yet?

Finally after hours of driving through the barren lands. the Sahara desert dunes were on the horizon. The excitement built, the adrenaline started to pump as we pulled into one of the hotels, the realization hit and a few even got giddy; we were about to go into the Sahara Desert.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

THE MAIN EVENT.

We pulled into a desert hotel, a rep from IGoMorocco greeted us and reeled off the names of those of us who booked through IGoMorocco. It somewhat felt like a school trip, having your name called out and stepping off the van. Eight of us stepped off, grabbed our things and were shepherded over to another area, while the rest of the group drove off to wherever their tour companies were situated.

It was around this time when a permanent smile was plastered on my face, I was finally here, ticking yet another item off my bucket list. On a personal note, I have to say it’s times like this when everything else just washes away, it’s when I feel so lucky to travel and experience the things I do. My excitement levels were about as high as they could get as were everybody else’s, that long drive to get here was worth it.

Side note: Have your ID on hand (preferably your Passport) as you will need to fill in your details on a form. (You know, so if you get lost in the desert they will be able to identify you.)

As is the custom in Morocco, we were offered some tea and helped to put our head scarfs on (which I advise strongly on getting.) And we were ready to go.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

The trepidation.

Now bear in mind, over the years I’ve jumped out of two planes, survived some of the worlds most dangerous roads, been around wild animals in the wild. However, at this moment in time, a nervousness started to sweep in with my excitement. Why?

Well, because reality started to kick in, all of us had heard nothing but horror stories about this next part. As we were ushered to the entrance the dreaded camels started to come into view.

Just days before this trip, two friends of mine who had previously done the desert trip had filled my brain with nothing but the pain they endured riding camels into the desert. It wasn’t just me, not a single one of the group had anything but bad 2nd hand stories about them. To say I was not looking forward to it was an understatement.

In a nervous huddle we stood together as our camels were readied, one by one we were ushered to our camels, I waited patiently before I was taken to mine. In times of nervousness, laughter is the best remedy, and that is what we were all doing. I was led to my camel, got my leg over and up she went like a shot. I have to say, as soon as Roxy (yes I named my camel Roxy) took her first step, all that nervousness dissipated and the excitement took over again.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3
Say hi to Roxy

Led by a new guide, a local who grew up and spent his whole life in the Desert, he knew every inch of the Desert like the back of his hand, off into the dunes we went.

With only a few steps, I had recognized Roxy’s rhythm and quickly realized why there were so many horror stories; people were too stiff on them.

A tip for you guys, be relaxed and rock your hips to your camel’s movement and your ride will be much smoother.

Anyway, here we were – I was riding into the freaking Sahara desert!

The Sahara Desert.

There are really no words I can correctly articulate that would describe just how I felt at this moment. All I can say is it just felt surreal, I’ve had dreams that felt more real than this moment.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

As a long-term traveler, there have been many times over the years were the reality just didn’t live up to the hype, so many times I’ve just been left disappointed. However you will be glad to know, this was not the case for the Sahara, it was so much more than I had hoped for. The Sahara desert took my breath away and the ride through as the sun started to set was just so peaceful, I would go as far as saying it was the most peaceful I had ever felt; it truly felt like I had found my Zen.

See here for Sahara desert gallery You will see what I mean.)

The trek itself was slow-paced lasting around 2 hours. The guide stopped a few times to let us take some pictures but also to give the camels a rest. One of those stops was to climb up a dune and watch the sunset over the horizon; there’s just no better feeling.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

If like me, you decide to visit the Sahara through winter, you should know as the sun sets and darkness falls the heat will evaporate and you will start to feel the chill. So it’s advisable to take some warm clothes with you.

The trek continued in the darkness like I mentioned before the guide is like a human GPS so there was no chance of us getting lost. With the darkness filling the open air the desert started to light up by nomad and Berber desert campfires.

Just after 2 hours into our trek and the camp came into view, some of the group had started to get restless on their camels and the camp was a welcome relief for them.

The camels.

On a side note, I have to mention just how well treated our camels were treated, once we dismounted, they were untied and given food and water. The guide even took a few minutes to go over to each of them and talked to them individually. (I think he was the camel whisperer.)

The Camp and setup.

The camp was much bigger than I expected and the reason was quite apparent. As this was a shared tour, just like sharing the mini-van with people from other tour companies, the camp was also shared by a number of other groups.

like a scene out of a Desert movie, propped up against the largest dune on Morocco’s side of the Sahara and the entrance lit up with Fire torches, we were amazed as we walked through. The camp opened up onto a large open space filled with two large fires and carpets to sit on. And, It didn’t even matter that we were in the Desert we were still welcomed with a tea. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture any good pictures of the camp itself.)

I have to say the organization was spot on, a tent to the side was set up as a dining hall, group by group we were ushered in for a tagine dinner, once a group finishes they’re led out to the tents they’ll sleep in and another group replaces them in the dinner tent.

The evening.

Once we were shown to the tent we’d be sleeping in, it’s was up to us what we want to do: Try and get some rest, go back out to the main area and enjoy the entertainment provided (a fire show, drum show, traditional dancing) Or venture outside the camp and explore the desert close by.

We decided to take in the entertainment, which was pleasantly enjoyable. Once the entertainment was over, our guide took us out into the desert, shared a few stories, told a few jokes and we attempted to climb a mammoth dune.

The only disappointment I had, was that at the time of my visit there was a full moon, so we couldn’t see any stars. So, if you’re a star-gazer, It’s well worth checking out when full moons are to avoid this disappointment.

The tents.

The sleeping tents were large open marques lined and draped with carpets and the tents actually had beds in them. However let me just pre-warn you, even with being buried under a mountain of thick blankets, given the fact I have traveled and lived in some very cold countries – Holy crap nothing compares to sleeping in the Sahara Desert in January! I have never felt so cold in my life!

However, somehow I did manage to get some sleep – My advise to you if you plan to go around winter take some heavy and warm clothes with you. you will need it.

Day 3 – Back to Marrakech.

Again I was woken at stupid O’Clock! I have to be honest, because I’m not a morning person, and because I was frozen to the bones, well let’s just say I wasn’t a happy camper and even though I had just spent a night in the Sahara Desert, that thought didn’t even enter my mind until much later in the day.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

I greeted Roxy with a growl, climbed on her – oh she was a bitch to me, she didn’t like the growl so as I mounted her she decided to stand up …somehow, half asleep and numb from the coldness I managed to stay on my feet (with some help from the guide.) Roxy came back down and this time let me climb onto her. My fault for growling at her obviously.

The start of trek back was somber, it was still dark, everybody was tired and nobody could put any thought’s together. However once there was a glimmer of light, the sun peeked through the darkness and the heat hit our faces our spirits raised again. Roxy was being nice to me, the golden rolls of the desert made me smile and all was good.

Sun Rise.

The guide found a nice dune for us to stop, so we could watch and enjoy with bated breath for the sun come into full view. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many miserable and tired people all become happy and jovial in one place in such a small amount of time. The sunrise was literally like somebody flicking a switch.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

Once the sun took Its rightful place in the sky, we hopped back onto our camels, Roxy and I were friends again and we enjoyed what little time we had left in the Desert.

The tour includes another free breakfast back at the hotel, and guess what’s on the menu? …Wait for it…Yes, that’s right you guessed it – Lots of bread with tea and coffee. I think I drank a liter of coffee this morning.

A long Drive back to Marrakech.

The last leg of the tour included the long drive back to Marrakech…I mean a 10-hour ride back, in which most of us just slept.

IGoMorocco Sahara desert tour is a continuation of my 3 day/2 night organised tour to the Sahara desert. This post continues from part 1 showing what happened during day 2 and 3

Disappointment from other tour groups.

We met up with the other guys from our original group one last time before the journey back to Marrakech and they had not had a good time of it. They informed us that they were taken to another part of the desert and thus missed the sunset. Some of them had to wait around because their tours didn’t provide enough camels so the poor animals had to take one load and come back for another. They also didn’t have any entertainment, and their camps were atrocious according to them. (Some of these guys had paid a lot more money than we did with IGoMorocco.)

My overview of IGoMorocco.

Going off my own experience and what I heard from others it looks like I made the right call booking through IGoMorocco. Apart from the slight confusion on the first day, everything with them ran smooth.

They kept in contact with me from the day I booked, sent me reminders the day before, even a message on the morning of the trip. I was contacted by their reps after the trip for feedback once the trip was over.

All in all the small mishaps and confusion added to the fun and adventure. IGoMorocco were good to me and I would use them again if I were to go back to Morocco.

Your tour should go something like this.

If you’re looking to book a 3 day Marrakech to Desert tour with IGoMorocco – your trip will run something like this:

You’ll be picked up anytime between 7-8am (from a pre-determined pickup spot I.E cafe France in the medina.)

People from other groups may be on the same minivan as you, as the drivers just get you to the desert.

That first day you will do all scheduled stops and mini-tours with those in your minivan.

If you upgrade to take the heated room option (Which I highly recommend in the winter) you will split from the people in your minivan, and stay in a hotel with others who booked through IGoMorocco.

The next morning your original driver and group will meet and you will head to the Sahara desert.

Once at the Sahara, you’ll split gain from others in the van and stay with those who booked through IGoMorocco.

The camp is shared with people from other tour companies and reps.

***

You might be thinking of day trips from Marrakech while you’re in Morocco, IGoMorocco has a number of options for you.

Did you find this review/personal account of the IGoMorocco Sahara Desert tour helpful?  Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know.

If you would like further posts like ‘IGoMorocco Sahara Desert tour’, or other in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

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Sahara desert tour with IGoMoroccohttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/sahara-desert-tour-igomorocco/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sahara-desert-tour-igomorocco https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/sahara-desert-tour-igomorocco/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2018 17:30:43 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=11061 Sahara desert tour. Off to the Sahara Desert we go! If you’re heading to Morocco soon I’m sure a Sahara Desert tour is high on your agenda; if it’s not – I strongly recommend putting it on. In all my years of traveling around the world, all the things I’ve seen, done and experienced the […]

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Sahara desert tour.

Sahara Desert Tour - Forever roaming the world

Off to the Sahara Desert we go!

If you’re heading to Morocco soon I’m sure a Sahara Desert tour is high on your agenda; if it’s not – I strongly recommend putting it on.

In all my years of traveling around the world, all the things I’ve seen, done and experienced the riding through and staying the night in the Sahara is honestly one of my greatest highlights and the best thing; it’s budget traveler friendly!

But, how do you do it?

Here’s the thing, you can’t just buy a camel and toddle off into the desert – well, actually I’m sure you could but unless you know the desert like the back of your hand, I wouldn’t recommend it.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

So apart from buying your own camel, what are your options?

Well, you can either do it independently and get a local or a guide to take you into the desert once you get to the dunes, or book an organized Sahara desert tour to start from Marrakech or Fes.

Which methods suits you best?

A Pre-booked Sahara desert tour is good for you if you prefer everything organized for you if you want to just turn up and be led the whole way and be hassle free in planning. However with tours, everything is on time restraints, there’s an itinerary to follow, there’s no freedom of length of time spent in one place, or where to eat and sleep and depending on your view that can be seen as a pro or a con.

If you want to do it independently, you have to do all the research yourself, figure out a route, decide where to stop and how long for and then figure out which local or guide can take you into the desert dunes themselves.

Remember, you should go for the option that suits you and your traveling style best.

Me personally?

I’ll be honest, I prefer to do trips independently, I like to have the freedom to explore in my own way at my own pace, to figure out my own route, and doing things my way. For me, it’s more of an adventure to get to the destination that way.

Having said that, I have taken tours in the past and due to time restraints (I was only in Morocco for a week) I chose to book a Sahara desert tour.

Budget Sahara Desert Tour options.

If you decide to go the organized tour route, then your first course of action is to seek out a tour company/operator.

When it comes to choosing one for the Sahara desert, there is no need to worry. There’s no shortage of budget tour options.

Although you might get tempted to just book one online and get it out the way, there are plenty of options in Morocco itself. In Marrakech, it felt like every other shop was a tour operator, and even the ones that weren’t will know somebody who sells one. You can book them through your hostel or Riad (although not the best option as I found out from people in my hostel.) And, don’t even worry about booking too far in advance, tours run 365 days a year.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

I learned that most operators pretty much offer the same options and itineraries the only difference between then are the prices. (Prices vary on the quality of the tour operator and trip. However, some companies charge a higher rate for a poorer quality of the trip. More on this later.)

Types of trips:

Most Sahara Desert Tours have pretty much the same Itineraries, they typically range like this:

2 day/1 night –  Shorter trips that typically go to smaller dunes like Zagora, including a few stops along the way, an overnight stay in a Berber camp in the dunes and a return journey the next day – Great introduction to the desert if you’re really tight on time.

3 day/2 nights – Longer trip that takes you further to the bigger dunes like Merzouga and Erg Chebbi, tours typically include scheduled stops like Kasbah Ait Ben Hadodu, Dades Gorge Valley, and Todra Gorge. This option includes your first night in a shared or private hotel, second night in the desert camp and a return journey to Marrakech.

4 days/3 nights – This option includes all of the above but you get to spend a full day in the desert doing activities like sand boarding, quad biking and 4×4 riding *Note activities depend on the tour operator, not all will offer activities. 

Budget trips – Basic camps and tents, Air conditioned Mini-vans.

Budget Shared –  Shared mini-vans with people from other tour groups (This is not told beforehand and causes confusion, more on this further in the post.)

Private tours are available but at a higher cost.

IGoMorocco.com.

After much deliberation trying to find the right balance between price and quality, through a recommendation I booked the Sahara desert tour to start from Marrakech or Fes with IGoMorocco.com,

I opted for the 3 day Marrakech to desert tour  (which included mini tours and stops along the way, first night in shared or private accommodation, a 2-hour camel ride to your camp, a night’s stay at the desert camp, a return journey back to Marrakech.

This option covers all main attractions and gives you a decent amount of time to experience the Sahara desert.

TIP:  With most tour companies, you can choose between riding a camel into the desert or riding in a 4×4 but the latter is more expensive.

IGoMorocco were very good with communication before the trip. Booking was simple, a quick secured online payment, which I got a receipt for instantly. They emailed me the Itinerary, what to bring and even sent me a reminder through Email and a phone message the day before.

As I mentioned above most of the tour operators follow the same route to the desert and include similar Itineraries. Below is how my 3 day Marrakech to Desert tour turned out.

Sahara desert tour – Day 1.

The first thing you should know and prepare yourself for is the early starts and long drives. The Sahara desert is a long way from Marrakech and the days will be long.

An early start!

The first day starts with a 7 am pick up from either your accommodation or from an agreed pick up spot. I.E if you’re staying in the Medina, you will be picked up from Cafe De France, like I was (a popular cafe in the main square.)

Nothing ever runs on time.

Being an experienced traveler I was well aware pickups are rarely on time, and this was no different. While other tours came and went, I waited with others who booked with IGoMorocco. Finally, somebody appeared to let us know our driver was running a little late (surprise, surprise.)

When our minivan did arrive, the 6 of us got on the van, but a few of us were told to swap vans onto another one with no explanation – The confusion started!

So with 4 of us in a new van, we were finally on our way – well, so we thought! We seemed to circle Marrakech a few times before stopping outside the Palace where more people were swapped around; more confusion. With the van filled, we were just about to leave but then the driver got in on the act and played the swap game with a driver from a different van.

Finally, we hit the road and left Marrakech behind us.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

As usual with organized tours, there wasn’t much conversation to begin with. I think this was due to the fact that everybody was trying to figure out what was going on. However not too long into the journey the ice started to break and conversations started to break out. Of course, the thing we all had in common was that everybody was confused.

The confusion escalated when we found out people in the van had booked through different companies, 6 of us through IGoMorocco, and the others from 2 or 3 different companies, and we had all paid different prices. Put it this way there were 4 people who had paid much more than me from a different company to do the exact same trip as me.

(It was only after I got in contact with IGoMorocco when I returned to Marrakech that I found out this was because I chose a shared budget tour. Apparently shared tours in Morocco don’t just mean shared with other people but with other tour companies too.)

Never the less, in light of the confusion, this made for some great banter between us all and as much as I don’t like tours this one got off to a fun start.

Atlas mountains.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

Once we left Marrakech in the rearview mirror, the road opened up, the landscape changed and the mountains started to come into full view. It wasn’t long before we in and amongst the Atlas mountains. Our first stop was a mountainside cafe, just to take in the view and to refresh before we started winding and weaving up, down and through the incredible mountain range.

Most of the early morning was spent driving through the mountains.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

Kahsbar Ait Benhaddou.

The first major stop and mini-tour for all tour companies is the historic village of Kasbah Ait Benhaddou; a UNESCO world heritage site.

This was an important village along the caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech (Learn about its place in history here.). However, in modern times, this village is known more commonly for being the setting for movies like Lawrence of Arabia and more recently Gladiator.

I have to admit, the sight of the village and walking around it, felt like stepping into history. The old interlinking clay houses crammed into the hillside give you a sense of the thriving community it once was. And, it was great to learn about its history, it’s purpose, the way locals would let the desert nomads, and traveling merchants stay with them.

Click to view slideshow.

However, one of my main gripes with organized tours is the lack of freedom you have and limited time you get to explore. You have to take the route the guide wants you to take, it was great learning about its history but I would have liked to explore it by myself.

At the end of the short tour, the same old ‘give a tour guide a tip’ was proposed. So apparently this wasn’t a scheduled stop on the tour, it was voluntary stop. It was only a couple of Euros tip, so nobody really complained.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

Lunch.

So lunch was at a pre-determined cafe, a set menu with not much choice and was over-priced (lunch price is not included in your original tour price.) The less said about this lunch the better.

After lunch, we were taken to a few shops to buy a headscarf for the desert. The shopkeepers put on a demonstration on how to put a headscarf on properly and their selling point was that this is the last place you can buy a headscarf before the desert. Now, to clear this up, no this is not true, you can buy a headscarf anywhere all the way up to the entering the dunes.

More driving.

Once all the selling was done, along with the other hoards of tourists we hit the road again. A few other stops included stopping at the movie studios and museums, a couple of bathroom stops and a few stops for photo ops.

If you're looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

Accommodation.

As day eventually turned to night and clocking up a lot of miles on the open road and through the mountains, the driver started to drop people off at their accommodation. There was more confusion here too.

With the shared budget trip there is an option to upgrade to a private heated room, now normally being a budget traveler I wouldn’t have paid for an upgrade. However, on this occasion, I got an upgrade as part of my deal to write this post (A perk of being a blogger.)

A few guys were dropped off at a hotel in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, the rest of us stayed on board, a few others dropped off at another. I was still seated on the van, finally, the rest of the group were dropped off (at the shared accommodation.) However, I was told to stay on the minivan. I thought I was going to get some special treatment but turns out the driver just forgot to drop me off at the previous stop.

Upgraded hotel.

I was dropped off at the hotel, the guy who checked me in was very flustered and panicked as he was checking in a number of people at once and was in a hurry to get everybody into the dining hall for dinner (dinner is free and included in the initial price.) I joined up with some people from my group, met a few others from other groups, shared stories about our confusing day, shared some jokes while we were rushed to eat. Dinner, by the way, was a traditional tagine (of course) and then we were free to do as we wanted around the hotel.

There was free WiFi in the hotel but the signal was only strong in the freezing cold lobby so mostly everybody was clattering their teeth while trying to get online for the first time in the day. (We all know how hard it is to go a whole day without being online.)

The room itself wasn’t anything special but I it was heated and it was so nice to have a hot shower to round off a confusing but fun first day of my Sahara Desert tour.

Day 2 – the Main event.

That was just day 1 – Part 2 of my Sahara Desert tour will include the actual trip into the Sahara, the overnight desert camp experience and the return journey back to Marrakech.

***

Did you find this Sahara desert tour? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know.

If you would like further posts like ‘Sahara desert tour’, or other in-depth solo/ budget travel advice and weekly blog posts come and join Forever Roaming the World’s ever-growing community, we would love to have you.

In joining Forever Roaming the World – you will not only gain access to posts like this but also subscriber exclusives, access to budget travel resources and a FREE budget travel planning aid. All you have to do is drop your email into the form below.

Want to carry on your journey with Forever Roaming the world, simply step through the rabbit hole – Start here.

Don’t forget to pin Sahara desert tour

Are you looking to do a Sahara desert tour but not sure what's involved or how the days will actually run? This post gives you an honest view and insight into using the tour company IgoMorocco.com

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Sahara desert trip galleryhttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/sahara-desert-trip-gallery/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sahara-desert-trip-gallery https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/sahara-desert-trip-gallery/#comments Sat, 27 Jan 2018 14:18:17 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=11027 Sahara desert trip gallery. Sahara desert trip gallery. Welcome to my Sahara desert trip gallery. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to tick off so many things from my bucket list and now I’ve accomplished something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a child – the Sahara desert! I will be writing up […]

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Sahara desert trip gallery.

Sahara desert trip gallery

Sahara desert trip gallery.

Welcome to my Sahara desert trip gallery. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to tick off so many things from my bucket list and now I’ve accomplished something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a child – the Sahara desert!

I will be writing up a post regarding my trip very soon. But first, I wanted to give you a sneak peek and share my Sahara desert trip gallery with you all to get your juices running.

I did a tour!

Regular reader will know, I normally travel long-term, however my trip to Morocco (Don’t miss my post on the Marrakech Medina) was just a short holiday, and I don’t like doing organised tours. I prefer to travel independently however because of the time restrained I decided to do an organised tour for 3 days and 2 nights. – My tour was organised with IgoMorocco.com after a recommendation from fellow travel blogger Lana from who do I do (Shes more a luxury travel blogger.)

The 3 day, 2 night tour was broken up with stops along the way on the first day,more stops and a sun set camel ride into the desert on the second day and sunrise camel ride out the next day before a long drive back to Marrakech.

This gallery is broken into two parts – the journey with the stops and the Sahara desert.

Atlas mountains – Ait benhaddou – Dades Gorge Valley – Todra Gorge

The first day was broken up by taking in the Atlas mountains, Ait benhaddou and an over night stay in the Dades Gorge valley. The next morning before arriving in the Sahara desert there was a quick little tour of Todra Gorge.

(Click on pics to enlarge.)

The main event: the Sahara Desert.

You know being a long term-traveler, experiencing and seeing all the things I have over the years, some have escaped my memory as they just weren’t that memorable. Some thing’s were over-hyped, too touristy, or just a let down in some-way.

However, you’ll be glad to know this was not the case with the Sahara desert. I can honestly say I have never felt so peaceful or relaxed in my life than I did venturing through the desert dunes. You may laugh but I think I even found my zen out there!

I am in no means a professional photographer so my pictures may not do the desert justice but I hope these pictures inspire you to make the trip and experience something truly breathtaking.

*WARNING* – You are about to be exposed to copious amounts of sand!

 

I hope you enjoyed this gallery and it wasn’t too sandy!

Don’t forget my written post on the Sahara desert will be available soon.

If you’re planning on going to Marrakech soon you may like the Marrakech gallery.

Don’t forget to join forever roaming the worlds ever-growing community below. ⇓

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Marrakech souks: Budget travelers insighthttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/marrakech-souks-budget-travelers-insight/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marrakech-souks-budget-travelers-insight https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/marrakech-souks-budget-travelers-insight/#comments Sat, 20 Jan 2018 18:15:59 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=11048 Marrakech souks: A budget travelers insight is an extension to budget traveling Marrakech: What to expect.  Enter the magical (or chaotic) Marrakech Souks. The Marrakech souks are as famous as Moroccan tea. While the Medina might be the heartbeat of Marrakech, the main square; (Jemaa El-fnaa) might be the vibrant ball of electricity, the souks […]

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Marrakech souks: A budget travelers insight is an extension to budget traveling Marrakech: What to expect. 

Marrakech souks: a budget travelers insight

Enter the magical (or chaotic) Marrakech Souks.

The Marrakech souks are as famous as Moroccan tea. While the Medina might be the heartbeat of Marrakech, the main square; (Jemaa El-fnaa) might be the vibrant ball of electricity, the souks are the pulsating epicenter of it all.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks; which are the largest and busiest souks in Morocco, is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a mesmeric trance and be quite overwhelming the first time (or even the second time.)

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

The Marrakech souks are like no other, a unique experience, however, in saying that this post is not about me over-glamorizing them. This post is to give you an insight into what to expect in them.

Where are the souks, how do you get into them?

Getting into the souks is the easy part! It’s the getting out that’s the hard part – at first.

The Marrakech souks are a labyrinth of interconnecting lanes and ally’s, which are filled with stalls and shops practically compressed into each other. At first glance, they seem to just mesh into one and it’s quite easy to lose yourself in them. However, once you have your bearings, navigating them becomes a little easier.

As I mentioned in my previous post Budget traveling Marrakech: Inside the Medina, everything is in touching distance of the main square. The main entrances to the souks are found from the corners and side of the square.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

However, you should know that although the main entrances are from the square, some of the souks are interconnecting, so you can enter one and leave in a completely different one. And, they all have little side entrances too.

Now, you might be panicking a little, thinking that you’re going to get lost in them, or that they seem too overwhelming – Well, yeah you’re right…at first, they will be. The first time I stepped into one, I didn’t know which way to turn, and with all the chaos that goes on in them, it just made it harder to even think.

However, don’t worry – No need to panic, here’s a simple way to help you navigate through them.

Navigating the souks:

  • *Follow the general flow of the crowd: Following the crowd is just like letting the current take you, eventually you’ll find land, In this case, you’ll find a way out.
  • *Leave breadcrumbs for yourself: Not literal ones, but pick out some noticeable signs, or something you will recognize and use them to backtrack.
  • *Go with somebody who knows their way around. My first few days I was with friends who had been in Marrakech a few days before, so they were my guides inside them.
  • *Familiarise yourself with certain stalls, use them as landmarks and after a few days, you’ll pass them knowing where you are. There will be some places that just stand out to you.
  • *Once you’ve been in Marrakech, in the Medina, and in the souks a few days, you’ll get used to the layout, so even if you walk into one entrance you’ll know the general direction of another from inside.
  • *Also after a few days, you’ll know which souks sell what, which are quieter, and which ones you’ll be harassed in more.
  • *After a few days, you’ll also find yourself constructing a mental map in your head. A couple of the souks have little courtyards to separate them before joining onto another. You can use them to help navigate around too.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

What’s sold in the souks?

Pretty much everything you can think of. One of the reasons why so many tourists flock to souks is because there is such an abundance of choice. Yes, a lot of the stalls just like in most heavily populated markets around the world do sell much of the same but there is also so much uniqueness on offer. It’s funny because if you’re in one shop and they’ve run out of something you want, they’ll just run over to another stall, grab it from them and come back to sell it to you themselves rather than pointing you to the other stall.

In the Marrakech souks you’re going to find a mixture of authentic Moroccan craftsmanship and handicrafts, you’ll feel Moroccan history as you venture through. But, at the same time, you’ll also see cheap knockoffs, items that have been mass-produced for tourists and cheap souvenirs. It really is a mixed bag but one thing is for sure your senses are going to explode.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

Most common things you’ll find in the Marrakech souks:

  • Textiles: Authentic, hand-crafted Moroccan items such as handmade carpets, rugs and all types of fabrics. However, you need to keep an eye out as some are just some cheap factory made items mass-produced for tourists, who can’t tell the difference between authentic or not.
  • Pottery and ceramics of all shapes and sizes: Vases, bowls, cutlery, cups, teapots, all with intricate Moroccan designs.
  • Colorful spices, Moroccan tea, and herbs.
  • Handcrafted ornaments and trinkets of all sizes.
  • All kinds of Moroccan lamps and oil lamps (Genie not included, trust me I rubbed a few but nothing.)
  • Historic weapons: Guns, knives, blades, swords, daggers, spears, shields.
  • Sunglasses and hats.
  • Furniture.
  • Handmade Moroccan slippers, made from leather and locally called ‘Babouches’.
  • Traditional medicine.
  • Amazing Moroccan artwork, made from traditional paints and dyes.
  • Fake and knock off clothing and shoes apparently from designer brands (wink, wink.)
  • Cheap souvenirs to take home with you.
  • All types of electronics from old to new.
  • Bags of all kinds, homemade and handcrafted from all kinds of materials.
  • A whole lot more: Whatever you’re interested in; it will be here.

Casually looking around/window shopping.

There are certain things that don’t seem to be allowed in Marrakech, and walking around peacefully seems to be one of them. So, if for a second, you think you’ll be able to leisurely walk around the souks without being bothered; you’re quite mistaken.

In the busier souks, every stall you walk past will entice you to look in their stall or shop. Some will be more aggressive than others, some will try to entice you with a tea, they might try telling you a fable, others will compliment you, some might just try to strike up a conversation. If you have a beard, no matter where you’re from you will be called ‘Ali Baba’ – Don’t get offended nor take it seriously, they’re just trying to get your attention. I was called ‘English brown Alli Baba’ all the time.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

However, in saying that I’m making it sound worse than it is, yes you will get hassled by some, some of them are very persuasive but there are other souks that are quieter. Some will let you walk by, even peer into their stalls without batting an eyelid but once you step into the stall and show some interest they will latch onto you like a rash. To us westerners, we prefer to be left alone and shop on our own accord but to these guys, it’s what they know.

No…Maybe?

If you aren’t interested in buying anything, don’t be afraid to say NO. Some stall owners can be quite persuasive but a firm ‘no’ will dispel your interest. However, if you feel just saying no is quite rude then just like with the merchants on the square the word ‘maybe’ works just as well but with more interaction.

Here’s how it usually goes – You say, “Maybe tomorrow” – They will reply with “Maybe?” – Which you come back with a nod, smiling and say “Maybe” – They know you’re brushing them off but not being rude by ignoring them or just saying no. Remember they are just trying to make a living.

Haggle, Haggle, Haggle.

If you are interested in buying something, you’re going to need to haggle if you don’t want to get ripped off.

Now, I know for a lot of people haggling is a daunting task and some of you may never have had to do it. For most of us that come from western countries, haggling is a foreign concept.  We’re used to walking into a shop and buying something at the stated price, sometimes we shop in different places to find the cheapest option, and sometimes there are discounts. However, we don’t do what seems to be arguing over something.

I only learned to haggle after I started to travel, and at first, it was a daunting experience, I didn’t know how to do it nor did I know the ‘rules’ to haggling. You see there is an art to haggling and I’m sure even when I started I still got ripped off. However, it’s a learning curve and over the years I’ve learned to play the game.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

And, that’s exactly what it is; a game! Some people think haggling needs to be serious, or some think they shouldn’t haggle because what’s a few pennies, they can’t be bothered with the hassle.

Haggling is not being rude, It’s part of the culture, haggling is expected and if you don’t want to haggle, well you’re just going to get ripped off, it’s as simple as that.

Playing the haggling game in the souks.

So, when in the souks, haggling is essential if you don’t want to get ripped off, and even more essential for us budget travelers.

I will be writing a comprehensive post on the art of haggling quite soon. However for now, below is a basic method that works for me and a lot of travelers I know.

  1. Don’t be too serious, ask them to name a price.
  2. Smile, shake your head and offer just less than half of what the price given was.
  3. They will laugh and refuse it, they will stick to the original price.
  4. You shrug, shake your head and put the item back saying it’s too much and start to walk away like you’re not interested.
  5. They will call you back with an “Ok, Ok, new price’ – which will still be substantially too much but less than the original price.
  6. This time you stick to your original offer, – you will go back and forth a few times.
  7.  Once they’ve gone down quite substantially, they will stick to their latest offer in which you offer a little higher than your original price.
  8. There will be a bit more back and forth and eventually you will agree on a price that suits you both.
  9. You will then agree on a price, they will try to be sneaky and up the price but you shake your head or laugh – they will laugh back and the price you agreed on will stick.

It can get a little more complex sometimes, there can be multiple items involved but sometimes it can be even easier and just simple. The important factor is: never take the first offer, and also do shop around before you commit.

Visiting the Marrakech souks can be hard for budget travelers.

What I mean by this is, we budget travelers obviously have a tight budget. We are quite strict about our spending habits and we only spend when we need to. So, when visiting the souks there is going to be an urge to spend, and like I said before there is always something in the Souks that you will want to buy.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

So, if your eye does catch something that you just have to have, you’re going to need to be on your haggling game. No matter how cheap something seems it’s going to make a difference if you haggle.

Things to keep in mind when in the souks.

  • *They can get very overcrowded, although generally safe, keep your valuables close.
  • *Like everywhere else in the world, the more you look like and act like a wide-eyed tourist, the more you’re likely to be targeted. Try to blend in.
  • *Don’t be afraid to get lost in them for a few hours. Remember getting lost is half the fun.
  • *Taking photos is quite difficult unless you’re willing to pay the shopkeeper a tip a take them.
  • *Some will have signs saying ‘no pictures’ some will tell you straight up that you can’t take a picture.
  • *Shop/market owners are savvy, some are quite persuasive, some will try striking up a friendly conversation just to get you into their shop. Some will even offer you a tea as you’re looking around, it’s their ‘in’ but it’s ok to take the tea, especially if you’re thirsty.
  • *However in saying you can have some great fun and banter with the shop owners too.
  • *Be mindful of your budget, it’s quite easy to start overspending, especially if you get on a roll with haggling. You might think as you’re haggling you have enough budget left, that is until you get home and realise you spent way more than you thought.
  • *If you do buy things, think of the practicality of it – Are you going to carry on traveling? How will you carry what you’ve bought, will it fit in your backpack, do you have space? (It might sound stupid, but I meet so many travelers who over buy then wonder how they are going to carry things around.)
  • *Be mindful of asking for directions, some people will tell you the wrong direction on purpose.
  • *Don’t accept any offers from anybody offering to guide you if you don’t know them.
  • *Take a break, there are lots of cafe’s dotted around the souks.
  • *Most importantly don’t forget to have fun.

My overview of the Marrakech souks.

I can honestly say, even though I didn’t buy that much in the souks I had so much fun in them, I had lots of friendly banter with store owners in the Marrakech souks.

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.
I could easily pass for a local right?

Over the years, I’ve lived in Bali where the streets of Kuta are lined with markets. I’ve been to huge night markets in Thailand and Vietnam and experienced other open-air markets in central America but nothing compares to the energy, colors, smells, and atmosphere generated through the Marrakech souks.

Apart from getting a bit weary and tired of people trying to entice you – this is an experience not to be missed and one that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

***

If you missed my post on what to expect in the Marrakech Medina don’t forget to give it a read.

Did you find this post about what to expect in the Marrakech Souks helpful? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know.

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Don’t forget to pin Marrakech Souks

Stepping into the Marrakech souks is like stepping into an enchanted world. The smells, the hustle bustle, the noise, and vibrant visual delights around can put you in a trance and be quite overwhelming. This post will help you with what to expect in them.

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Budget traveling Marrakech: Inside the Medinahttps://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/budget-traveling-marrakech-inside-medina/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=budget-traveling-marrakech-inside-medina https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/budget-traveling-marrakech-inside-medina/#comments Wed, 17 Jan 2018 02:43:37 +0000 https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/?p=10886 Budget traveling Marrakech: What to expect in the Medina Budget traveling Marrakech. Are you thinking of budget traveling Marrakech soon? Want to experience this crazy, chaotic, weird, energetic, sense pulsating, color engulfing city? Marrakech is fast becoming a superfusion of modernization and tradition steeped in history that can now be distinguished by New town and the […]

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Budget traveling Marrakech: What to expect in the Medina

Budget traveling Marrakech

Budget traveling Marrakech.

Are you thinking of budget traveling Marrakech soon? Want to experience this crazy, chaotic, weird, energetic, sense pulsating, color engulfing city?

Marrakech is fast becoming a superfusion of modernization and tradition steeped in history that can now be distinguished by New town and the historic Medina (old town) which is making it a hotbed for tourism. And, I loved it!

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

Regular readers will know, as a budget traveler I see and write things from ground level about the things myself and other backpackers experience on trips.

There are so many posts out there that will tell you what to see and do but not many of them cover what actually goes on a daily basis. And, having spoken with other budget backpackers, this post will cover what to expect within the Medina.

The basics:

Marrakesh: A former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic centre and home to mosques, palaces, and gardens. 
Basic things to know:
  • * Language: Arabic, French.
  • * Is English Spoken: Moderate.
  • * Currency: Dirham: (Closed currency.)
  • * Backpacking Marrakech is: Fair, but can be done on a tight budget. 
  • * Check live rates here: XE.com – GDP to MAD

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

Visa options:

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Morocco for the purpose of tourism for up to 3 months. When entering the country, make sure your passport is stamped. Some tourists have experienced difficulties leaving the country because their passport bears no entry stamp.
For more information visit: www.gov.uk
Bear in mind:
  • – It’s a shame to say but females can get objectified in Morocco, especially western female tourists.
  • – Remember to be respectful of their beliefs even if you don’t agree with them. You’re the one that’s chosen to go their country.
  • – Dress accordingly and respectably.
  • – Prayers are played over loud tannoys at different times of the day.
  • – Although Arabic is the main language, French is also widely spoken – It’s good to learn a few French words before you go.
  • – Be prepared for long-waits in passport control at Marrakesh Airport – So make sure you go with adequate time.
  • – Marrakech can basically be being split into two parts for travelers; New town and the Medina (old town.

The New Town:

(Located in the Gueliz suburb) the more modern, and up-market part of the city brimming with new businesses, Western franchises, shopping centres, casinos, hotels, and bars. Prices in this part of the city are hiked up to more European prices. – I can’t really tell you anything about this side as I didn’t spend anytime there.

The Medina (Old town):

While holidaymakers and travelers choose New Town to stay in, Marrakesh’s main appeal is within the walled city; the Medina. This is where all the real action is, the heartbeat of the city, and prime for anybody budget traveling Marrakech.

The Medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with maze-like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery, and jewelry. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque. – Source google. Want a history lesson on the Medina?… Check out: History of Marrakech

The first time you step into the Medina you’ll think you’ve been sucked into a whirlwind;  with everything going around you it can be overwhelming. That first time, you’re going to feel like you need eyes in the back of your head and your brain will go into overdrive trying to process everything.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

However, don’t panic, just soak it all in let the chaos and the charm engulf you. After a day or so, you’ll actually start to get used to it. Not only that but after a few days of walking around (unless you have you a very bad sense of direction) you will even start recognizing the streets and the lane-ways and be able to navigate around the souks.

The main square: Jemaa el-Fna 

The main square will serve as your main point in the Medina. It’s where everything starts, access points and entrances to the souks, palace’s, mosques, restaurants, cafes, ATM’s and will be your reference point to get your bearings right.

TIP: head to one of the terrace cafe’s to get an oversight of the square. Draw a mental map in your head of where things are and use it as a navigation tool. Or simply use google maps.

Scattered around the square are large and well-known cafe’s and restaurants like Cafe De France (You can’t miss it.) These restaurants and cafes will act as good reference points. Hostels, Riad’s and tour companies will use them to direct you and even serve as pick up points for tour companies.

(My view from Cafe de France)

Everything you need will be within touching distance of the square. I’ll be honest, as I’ve not traveled for quite some time, I actually thought I would get lost in the medina with the lane-ways and souks, it sounded so complicated but I used a few reference points from the square I was fine.

Jemaa El-Fna – Let the craziness begin:

Before you even start thinking about getting your bearings the first thing you’ll experience is everything that’s going on around you. This big ball of electric energy and vibrancy will capture you, and even though you might want to get out, you will come back for more.

The square is where it all goes off! – It’s like an assault course you have to go through with all the snake charmers, henna artists, musicians, street artists, hawkers, bootleggers, beggars, street performers and market stalls selling all kinds of souvenirs swarm all over the square.

Trust me, even as an experienced traveler it blew my mind and I’ve been to South East Asia! All of your senses will be on heightened alert with the colors, the mix of trance-like flutes, music, voices, and aromas of different food all around you – Everything you will encounter is all part of the budget traveling Marrakech charm and experience.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

But, don’t think for a second you’ll be able to take a leisurely stroll or take pictures without getting hassled. All the vendors, hawkers, and merchants are always on their game. They sniff out tourists and cameras from a mile away and will be on you like a rash.

Snake Charmers:

These guys are the experts; not just at snake charming but sniffing out tourists and cameras. They have different tactics to get you too. Some will approach you and innocently ask you where you are from while leading you closer to the snakes and offer to take a close up picture of the snakes. Other’s will sneak up on you like a stealth ninja; and bam! Before you know it, you have a snake around your shoulder and they’re taking a picture.

No matter what their tactic is, they have one end goal; to get a tip from you. And, of course, they will ask for a ridiculous tip but stay firm.

I’ll be honest on my first day, I was still a bit all over the place trying to process everything around me, I was sucked in by the vibrancy of the square and I made a schoolboy error. I should have known better but my guard was down and I got snagged.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it? When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

I pulled out my camera too close and before I knew it my friend had a snake around his neck and the guy had my camera taking close-ups of snakes. The one that got me wanted 200 Dirhams as a tip, I stuck to my guns and only offered him 15 Dirhams. After a little back and forth, he took the 15.

TIP: You have to be savvy and stay firm – they will initially ask you for a ridiculous tip but keep to your guns and offer minimal. (Remember this isn’t haggling, these guys just try to get the most out of you because you’re a tourist and they think you’re obviously rich.)

In saying that, once you’ve been there a couple of days, half the fun is trying to dodge them, getting in snaps without them noticing you; it’s a fun game to play.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

And, if you have a recognizable face, after a few days of seeing you, they actually start leaving you alone. They have fresh faces to go after and not bothered about you anymore. (I actually got a little sad when they started to leave me alone.)

Beggars/hawkers/ vendors/ kids:

It’s not just the snake charmers you have to watch out for on the square, you’ll be approached by beggars, vendors, hawkers, and kids too.

The beggars are not too much of a problem just don’t make eye contact and a simple ‘no’ or just wave them away and they will not bother you.

The bootleggers and hawkers will approach you trying to sell you anything from sunglasses, hats, tissues, (yes random I know) selfie sticks to fake I-phones – Again they’re not too much of a problem, a simple “no thanks”, “I’ve already got one”, or “No Merci.” does the trick, Unless you want to buy something that is.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

Market merchants and vendors will try to entice you to buy a souvenir – With these guys, the best thing to say is “Maybe tomorrow” – They will reply with “Maybe?” – Which you come back with a nod, smiling and say “Maybe” – They know you’re brushing them off but not being rude in just saying no. Remember they are just trying to make a living.

Now, the ones you do have to be wary of; the kids. They are not easy to shrug off, they will follow you, some will even try to reach into pockets or bags (I’ve seen it.) Do not fall for their charm or puppy eyes. They will pretend not to speak English but once you deny them, they will start speaking in English throwing profanities at you. Even if you do give them something small, most will throw it back at you saying it’s not enough. When the kids harass you, even the locals, hawkers, vendors will step in to get them away from you; And for once they won’t even ask you for a tip.

TIP: Keep your valuables close, although it’s relatively safe, there are some pickpockets around, especially the kids.

You’ll come across some locals who will offer to help you, show you places, give directions, offer to be your guide, even offer to take you to your accommodation. Do not accept any offers from them, although in most cases, they will take you to the correct destination, they will ask for a big tip. And, more importantly, walking guides are illegal.

budget traveling Marrakech

Food Wars!

When day turns to night the fun and games continue as the street food stalls join in. All of them come armed with reps vying to get you to eat at their stall; these guys will try everything to persuade you.

And, when I say persuade you I mean they’re all over you. They’re well trained and will come out with jokes, puns, insults or accents from wherever you’re from. These guys are just doing their job, they’re trying to get your attention so don’t take them seriously and don’t get offended. In-fact have a laugh with them, it’s just good banter. I got told to stop shopping in Primark (you’ll understand if you’re from the UK) by one, another promised me a 5-year guarantee of no diarrhea. He wasn’t being nasty,, he was just having some fun while doing his job.

Hashish?

Pretty much everywhere you go, not just in the Medina or in Marrakech but all over Morocco, you’ll get offered hashish. You can literally be walking down the street and it will be offered to you by anybody you pass. Some might approach you, some might be more obvious than others, some even walk past you whispering “hashish” in your ear. AN old man even offered it to me, I’m not joking if the stray cats could talk they would try selling you hashish too.

Lane-ways and alleyways:

The lane-ways and alleyways can be just as frantic as the souks. Nearly all of are lined with shops, souvenir stalls, grocery shops, food stalls, small hole in the wall food stops, cafes, juice bars and backstreet hammans.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

Some are busier than others, the busy ones, sometimes they can be like rush hour traffic. People will whizz by you on mopeds, and don’t be surprised to come across standoffs and arguments with Donkey/mule/Ass owners and other transporters. The saying stubborn as a mule must stem from here!

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

Getting lost in the lane-ways can be quite easy for the first few days. You should pick out some memorable spots, things that stick in your mind to help you get around and after a few days, you’ll be an expert at navigating them.

Food and drink:

Food:

Marrakech can be a foodies heaven! There are so many options from traditional tagines, international cuisine, to modern fusions. If you love your food, you’re going to be in for a treat in Marrakech. You might even come across some delicacies like sheep’s head, or crunchy crickets but the only thing you won’t find is pork. – Side note, Moroccan lamb is to die for.

Don’t just take my word for it Kate and Kris from ‘What Kate and Kris did‘ had an amazing food experience during their time in Marrakech, they provide some amazing visual examples here.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

Moroccans are big on their pastries and desserts, so if you have a sweet tooth prepare for your mouth to water.

Best of all, for us budget traveling Marrakech, most places are relatively cheap. Around the Medina keep an eye out for small hole in the wall joints for the cheapest options but even restaurants are pretty cheap. The night food stalls in the square are typically more expensive than places in the lane-ways.

Drinks:

Tea – Moroccans love their tea, mint and jasmine tea, you won’t be able to escape it. It’s served everywhere, in hostels, cafes, restaurants, even shopkeepers will entice you with tea. I have to say, watching a local serve tea can be quite mesmeric, they try to get as much distance from the glass and teapot as they pour it. I found out they do this for the bubbles; the more bubbles the more flavor in the tea. In some places you might be offered Moroccan whiskey – Don’t get too excited, it’s not alcohol, it’s just another name for the tea.

Talking about alcohol, with this being a Muslim country Alcohol is not readily available. It’s not illegal and some places will serve it but you have to be careful because it might turn out to be non-alcoholic.  There is a couple of bars and hotels within the Medina that serve actual alcohol but it will be pricey. Also, some hostels will sell beer, cheaper than the hotels and bars however for the cheapest option head down to ‘carfour’ –

Carfour is a large supermarket close to the New town, it’s about a 20-minute walk from the main square. And, it’s the cheapest place to buy alcohol and your groceries if you want to.

Water – Drink bottled water. Just like Bali belly and Delhi belly – Morocco’s belly is a thing.

Hostels/ Riads:

There are plenty of accommodation options within the medina, including hostels and Riads. Most are off the main square and hidden within the lane-ways. They might seem confusing to get to and from at first but the lane-ways are not actually that complicated.

I opted to stay at Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge, it was recommended to me by a friend and constantly voted the best hostel in Marrakech. The place was one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in, friendly staff who will come and pick you up from wherever your transport drops you off. They make guests feel at home and go out of their way to get to know you. This was a sociable hostel but not a party one (except for New years eve.) Don’t forget to read my post on different types of hostels.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

ATMS/Money exchanges:

Morocco has a closed currency, you can’t exchange money into Dirhams before you arrive so your best option is to take money out of ATM’s once you arrive. However, I would advise on checking with your bank in regards to any fees and charges that may incur. If you are going to incur high charges, then look at investing in a travelers cash card.

Within the Medina, you’ll find ATM’s clustered around the big Post office towards the open end of the main square as you head to the big mosque. There are plenty of ATM’s and although I had no problem in taking money out, there were other travelers who found the ATM’s didn’t have enough money in them. So keep an eye out but if you find that’s the case just simply try another ATM.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?
ATM’s are to the left

TIP: Take out the maximum you can at the ATM so you incur the least charges. 2000 Dirham was the maximum I could take out, and as I was quite frugal with my money it lasted me all week.

Another option is to take some native money and exchange it while you are in Marrakech. There are plenty of places to exchange money however you will have to shop around for the best rate and lowest commission fees. I took some English pounds with me, and after some shopping around and advice from the guys at the hostel, the best place I found was a little exchange place behind the big main post office under Hotel Ali. (It’s very well known, so just ask people in your hostel about it.)

Tour companies:

Everywhere you turn you will see a tour agency or operator. Do some research before your trip on what excursion you might want to do. If you’re long-term backpacking, it may be cheaper just to do your excursions independently.

Hostels will also offer tours but most will work with another agency. Do be careful on the type you book though, most tour companies do the same trips and sometimes will just cram everybody together on a big bus.

I was quite lucky as I booked my Sahara desert trip from home, people who booked from the hostel were packed together with other tour companies on a big bus. Their experience was ruined because there were just too many people and missed key parts of the whole trip.

Taxies:

Everything around the Medina is within walking distance but if you want to venture out further and need to take a taxi, then there are a few things to bear in mind. Whatever you do, agree on a price with the driver BEFORE you sit in the taxi. The taxi’s in Marrakech are notorious for ripping off tourists. They will quote prices triple to what they actually should be. Haggle with them to get the price down, they will be stubborn and you will need to be prepared to walk away if they refuse to lower the price.

 

No taxi ride in Marrakech should cost more than 50 Dirhams. It only cost me that to get to the airport from the main square.

TIP: Talk to the workers in your hostel about where you want to go, ask them how much it should cost to get there or get them to organize the taxi for you.

You may have noticed I’ve not talked about the souks – You can read my post about the souks here.

My overview of budget traveling Marrakech:

When I agreed to go to Marrakesh to meet my friends, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. It was a place I wanted to visit but wasn’t high on my list, however, I can honestly say I loved every minute of my time budget traveling Marrakech. From dodging snakes charmers, eating some amazing food, to letting its vibrant energy engulf me; I loved it.

When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

I would definitely go back, budget traveling Marrakech just made me want to travel it properly, more long-term and experience the rest of the country, which I only got a glimpse of. Beyond the madness and chaos, there is just so much charm, color, and vibrancy. The locals, not the hawkers and vendors but the others are friendly and so welcoming…Morocco, I will be back!

The highlights for me budget traveling Marrakech was just the whole experience in the Medina, I’ve traveled and lived in South East Asia and experienced some madness out there but compared to Marrakech. S.E.Asia is diluted.

I know this post was very long but I hope it’s helped you if you’re thinking of budget traveling Marrakech. I also hope it hasn’t come across as a negative post, it’s not meant to be. This is just to make you aware of what to expect.

want to see more pictures of Marrakech? Then head over to my Marrakech gallery

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When Budget traveling Marrakech, the heartbeat of the city; the Medina and the main square Jemma El-Fnaa will inevitably be on your list but what should you expect inside it?

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