Meaghann Campbell is a student at University of Pittsburgh and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Meknes, Morocco.
I was very excited when I learned that everything in Morocco was super cheap. I thought that living on a budget would be really easy. I wasn’t completely right however, because everything is so cheap in Morocco you feel like you can buy anything. This is not beneficial for a girl who likes to go shopping.
All of your food is prepared for you at your apartments except for on Sunday here so any food that you are buying is if you go out to eat, snacks from the local Carrefour, or food during excursions. This means you are not spending much money on food.
A few tips that I have started to use that work really well are: Get a certain amount of money out and try to stretch it for a certain amount of time. I like to get out about 1,000 Dirham at a time and stretch it for 3 or 4 weeks. It works surprisingly well until you see that drop dead gorgeous dress in Marwa.
Since I don’t spend much money on snacks and food and am eating such fresh food in normal portion sizes it is also helping me to lose weight and to stay in shape.
When it comes to traveling throughout the country, try and put your predisposition toward luxury transportation behind you because you will not find it unless you shell out the big bucks. For example, to get to Chefchaouen (The blue city) from Meknes my friends and I took a bus for 4 hours to get there on the cheap. It was 50 dhs (about 5 dollars) to get there and if you can suck up winding roads and sucky suspension it is honestly the way to go, just don’t let your friends to take pictures of you while you sleep. It is very easy to travel for very little money within Morocco and with the many excursions that come with the cost of your program you can see SO much of the country.
For cheap accommodation while you are traveling I would also suggest staying in Hostals or Riads, they are very cost effective and many times you can find some really good lodgings for your money.
When it comes to souvenirs, I know you will want to buy things in every city you go to because you want to remember each city you visit.
I find that being able to write down your memories in a little notebook is better than buying useless little trinkets that you will put on a shelf and forgetting about them.
I find that it is also cheaper to buy your souvenirs in the Meknes medina because they are usually better quality and the shopkeepers tend to remember you and give you student discounts which help tremendously.
Want to read more about Morrocco? Check out “How to Make the Most of Your First Weeks Abroad”