One of the most popular pieces on The Weekend Jetsetter is my post about solo female travel in Marrakech, Morocco. And the most common thing I get follow up questions about? What to pack for Morocco, a country where conservative dress is the cultural norm, but the temperatures can be hot as heck.
After visiting the country twice and consulting my sister who lived in Casablanca for two years, I have a uniform nailed down that will keep you cool without showing too much skin.
I want to call out that how conservatively you should dress also depends on what part of the country you’re visiting. For example, Marrakech is a huge tourist destination, and it’s even become a popular party spot for Europeans. In Marrakech, you’ll see people in all manner of dress – I even saw mini skirts and tank tops. I chose to err on the conservative side while I was there because that’s what local women do, but it’s probably the most acceptable place to show some skin if you really want to. Just beware: you’re still going to face harmless but annoying street harrassment from men. In more rural parts of the country or a city like Fes, you’ll find that everyone is dressed conservatively.
What to Pack for Morocco: Tops & Bottoms
For tops, I packed long-sleeve shirts that were loose and lightweight. Since Morocco is such a colorful country, I went with an assortment of printed styles as well as a few solids that could be accessorized. I like to pack light, so I rotated a few pairs of skinny jeans and one leather jacket to complete the look. I would advise sticking with pants, and if you really want to wear a dress or skirt, choose options that hit below the knee.
Why long-sleeve tops? Because Moroccan women don’t bare their shoulders or tend to wear short-sleeve shirts, so you’ll attract less unwanted attention. Here are some examples of tops you could wear on a trip to Morocco:
What to Pack for Morocco: Scarves
When I traveled to Morocco in December and January, layering was essential. During the day, temperatures could be in the eighties and I was shedding my jacket. But at night, they dropped quickly down to the 50s and I was happy to have a plethora of scarves to choose from. A scarf is also an easy way to make a low-cut or boatneck top appropriate for Morocco.
I want to interrupt and talk about this street harassment/”unwanted attention” for a moment. The majority of Moroccan people I met during my travels were extremely welcoming and hospitable. However, there are men hanging around the souks that will harass you. The way foreign women look and dress is a novelty to them. As I mentioned in my post about traveling solo in Marrakech, the harassment mostly takes the form of harmless catcalls. If you feel uncomfortable, you can go into a shop or ask a local woman for help – they’ll usually put the offender in their place!
Now back to the fashion…
What to Pack for Morocco: Shoes (and socks!)
I stuck with practical shoes throughout my trip to Morocco. We did so much walking and the streets in the medinas were usually made of cobblestone, meaning closed-toe footwear was essential. Even in the modern city of Casablanca, I didn’t want to wear sandals because there was a lot of construction and dust. The only time you’d want sandals is if you’re going to the beach.
In addition to comfy walking shoes and boots, you’ll want a pair of hiking boots if you’re planning a visit to the Atlas Mountains. If you’re going to the desert, consider that your shoes will be covered in sand and maybe don’t wear your favorite brand new pair.
You’ll also see I called out that you should pack socks – and by that, I mean some warm, cozy socks for cold desert nights. Buildings in Morocco are designed to keep cool, and most don’t have windows facing the outside. That means in the morning when you wake up, the floors are really chilly!
So to recap, here’s what to pack for Morocco:
- Loose, lightweight long-sleeve tops
- Long pants and skirts that hit below the knee
- Scarves and light jacket for layering
- Sunglasses (or make sure to purchase contact lenses you like with ultraviolet protection)
- Cozy socks
- Comfy, closed-toe walking shoes
- Hiking boots if you’re planning outdoor adventures
- Cross-body bag to carry in the crowded medinas