Recently I took my first trip to a predominantly Muslim country with Geckos Adventures (now Intrepid Travel) on its Essential Morocco tour. To say the least, I was overwhelmed by packing lists and traveler safety tips I found online when it comes to what to wear in Morocco, especially for women. Because of my research, I felt well-prepared while I was traveling, but also felt that many of the warnings in regards to dress were outdated and overly cautious.
In general, dressing modestly and covering your shoulders and knees will help avoid unwarranted attention and you’ll blend in more with locals in urban areas. But, make sure you do your research on what cities you’ll be traveling to, as you should dress more conservatively in some religious towns, like in Moulay Idriss, which is a stop on the Geckos tour. However, in major cities like Fes and Marrakech, almost anything goes. As a woman you may get some extra attention for dressing in shorter dresses or tight-fitting clothing, however. As foreigners, tourists in general will get some looks, but this is generally harmless and more out of curiosity.
Here’s what I packed for a trip to Morocco—with no packing regrets.
Note: This packing list for Morocco is a general guide on what to pack for Morocco during the climates in high season (March to May and September to November). Be sure to consult your itinerary and look up local customs and weather for the areas you’re visiting.
Any trip to Morocco includes a decent amount of walking—on my tour there were days where we were on our feet for up to five or six hours—and while this is a great way to see a city, you’ll want comfortable and stylish walking shoes.
These two pairs of shoes are all you need to pack for a trip to Morocco: one pair of comfortable sandals for dinners or pool lounging and a pair of stylish, yet sturdy, walking shoes.
Rockport’s Cobb Hill Gabby Bootie—perfect as the dressy pair of shoes to bring to Morocco—is made from full-grain leather and has a comfortable EVA footbed. Dansko’s Charlie Sneaker has a removable footbed and is super lightweight and packable.
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Scarves or pashminas should be the first thing on every packing list for Morocco. They’re not only great for a blanket while aboard the plane but in Morocco you’ll need one for sun-protection in the desert, to easily cover your shoulders over a thin-strapped dress, and to keep warm at night.
I brought two neutral-colored ones—one dark and one light—but you can also buy a few as souvenirs at the market. Simlu offers a variety of fabrics and patterns at affordable prices.
Loose Fitting Clothing
Looser clothing is the best outfit choice if you’re wondering what to wear in Morocco, and luckily wide-leg pants, jumpsuits, and maxi dresses/skirts are on trend.
I loved this pair of wide-leg pants from Iconic Luxe and this long-sleeved striped dress from AUHEGN on my trip. Look for garments that hit above your ankle as the medinas can be dusty and you may find yourself having to jump over a puddle or two, so you don’t want to be worrying about your hemline.
Fabrics like linen and cotton are usually loose fitting and breathable, so you can keep cool in warmer mid-day temperatures.
Some Morocco trips can be trekking-intensive as the country is home to the beautiful Atlas Mountains and Todgha Gorge. If you’re looking to hike or trek on your Morocco vacation, be sure to bring proper hiking attire, like these quick-dry pants from Helly Hansen (with button tabs so the hem can be rolled up), an athletic tank from Icyzone, and an outer layer from Faddare.
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Cold Weather Gear – Sahara Desert & Winter
Contrary to what you might think, Morocco can get pretty chilly at night, especially during spring, fall, and winter. If you’re going to an overnight Sahara camp, then you especially need to pack some items for colder temps. I went in mid-March, and recommend bringing a jacket like this 3-in-1 rain jacket by Helly Hansen, as well as a packable travel sleeping bag, thin gloves, and warm socks if you’re going to the desert in winter.
If you aren’t going to the desert and are traveling in spring and fall, a lightweight jacket, like this one from Nau will suffice. Other pieces worth packing include basic t-shirts for base layers, linen sweaters, and of course, scarves. I love this basic short sleeve t-shirt from Hanes and J.Crew’s v-neck sweaters.
Crossbody & Belt Bags
Anti-theft bags are essential for a trip to Morocco, especially if you are planning on spending time in the medinas. I traveled with the Travelon Anti-Theft Tailored Bag (that also doubles as a clutch) and loved walking around hands-free and worry-free through the markets. If you’re looking for a larger crossbody bag, Amelie Galanti’s Crossbody Bag makes a great day bag.
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No matter what time of year you’re in Morocco, you’ll need sun protection. I traveled with a pair of sunglasses from RAEN, travel-sized sunscreen stick, and a brimmed hat, all of which I was very happy to have with me.
Insider Tip: Sunglasses double as a way to ignore unsolicited attention and stares while walking through the markets and streets around popular tourist attractions.
If you’re going in the heat of summer, I would also recommend traveling with some UPF-protective clothing.
I don’t always travel with my DSLR because it can be cumbersome and heavy to carry, however, I would recommend taking one with you to Morocco. The landscapes and medinas are extremely photogenic and it’s worth adding to your bag (trust me).
My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel T5, which I love, but there are other, lighter cameras out there. Mirrorless cameras have more compact bodies than a traditional DSLR, making them great for travel. They still use a DSLR-like sensor and have interchangeable lenses for high-quality shots. Check out the top-rated Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II for an affordable mirrorless option.
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Pool lounging is one of the best ways to enjoy a trip to Morocco. Many luxury hotel properties offer pool and spa day passes, allowing you to enjoy these five-star amenities, without booking a room. Especially in summer, most hotels have open outdoor swimming pools (many were open in early March) and they’re a great way to beat the heat, so definitely pack your favorite bathing suit. And, bikinis are widely worn and accepted, so don’t worry about covering up while sunbathing—I love J.Crew‘s bathing suit line for style and comfort.
Don’t forget a chic cover up for poolside dining, and if you’re staying in a not-so-luxurious property, bring your own towel, just in case. This packable microfiber towel from Go2Towel does the trick and takes up minimal space.
In addition to your normal toiletries, I would consider bringing the following with you on a trip to Morocco: Body and face wipes for hot days and non-existent showers (i.e. desert camping), travel-size tissues for public bathrooms (most don’t have toilet paper), and a face hydrator spray (to help with the dry heat).
It’s also worth noting that if you aren’t staying in five-star accommodations and want hair tools, I would bring your own travel-size hair dryer and straightener or curler, as most hotels won’t supply them—just don’t forget a converter.
More from SmarterTravel:
- What to Wear on an Active Vacation: An Outfit Guide for Women
- Packing Guide: South African Safari
- 10 Dream Trips You Can Actually Afford in 2017
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Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.