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Heading to France and Morocco

In 22 days, I’ll be headed to France and Morocco and I couldn’t be more excited!

Back in February (the last time I wrote in this blog – yikes!), I mentioned that I could end up traveling with this job. Well, 9 months after I started, I’m finally getting to go overseas – Lyon, France to be exact – for a week-long trade show. I haven’t traveled much in France – just to Paris (x3), Chamonix, Strasbourg, and Annemasse. I hear great things about Lyon, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the city, and eating my weight in macarons, croissants, and chocolates.

Since I’ll be headed to France in the most frugal way possible (on the company’s dime), it made sense to take advantage of the company-paid flight and go on vacation! One of the countries I really wanted to get to while living in Europe last year was Morocco. We almost did go twice – once while visiting Malaga Spain, and another was a tentatively planned trip – but it never worked out. We couldn’t justify spending so much money for such a short trip. But not this time. Since Morocco is so close to France, that’s where I’ll be headed for 12 days. :)

I’ll spend almost 3 days by myself – one day exploring Casablanca, and two days in Marrakech before I meet up with my 12-person group tour with Intrepid Travel. As you may know from the trips I took last year, I’m not really the tour group kind of person (I did it a few times in Mexico with my family, and ended up wishing I had planned it out myself instead). I find group travel annoying because you don’t get to make up your own schedule. But Morocco is intimidating for a few reasons:

  1. I’m a single female traveling solo – two good friends have warned me about harassment in Morocco. As a single female, I’ve been told that I’ll be chased, touched, and never left alone. I don’t do that well with confrontation in another language.
  2. I don’t feel like I have enough time to plan an amazing itinerary myself – work has me swamped lately, and I haven’t done any sort of planning for this trip. Last year, this close to my trip, I would have already created a Google Map and gone to all of my favourite travel sites for tips.
  3. The price of the trip is reasonable – I honestly don’t think the total cost of planning the trip myself will cost less than if I just did the packaged tour. Since I’m by myself, I’d end up paying a single supplement, so being part of a group will likely save me money.

The Moroccan portion of my trip will start and end in Marrakech. We’ll be exploring the High Atlas Mountains, checking out the Ait Benhaddou kasbah, journeying towards the Sahara Desert (including a camel expedition and camping under the stars – yes, please!), a trip out to the sand dunes, and finally traveling to a seaside town to hang out.

I’m estimating a total cost of around $2,200 for the 12-day trip, with $1,205 of that cost being the Intrepid tour. Expensive trip for sure. But I think it’s worth it.

My hope is to keep this trip under $2,000 once I finalize and pay for everything. So far, all that I’ve booked is the Intrepid Tour, and my roundtrip plane ticket from Lyon-Casablanca. As for the rest of the expenses? I’ll be looking to book them in the next week or so.