You really never can be completely prepared for a trip to a country you have never visited before. There will always be surprises (they have cars and cell phones and internet AND McDonalds in Morocco?), challenges you did not anticipate (restaurants are closed all day long during Ramadan?!?), and the navigation of cultural differences which can make or break your own image as a tourist (Pro-tip: insisting on sharing your snacks with seatmates on public transportation will get you bonus points).
After living in Morocco with a host family and travelling a large portion of the country for eight weeks, these are the main travel tips and insights I wish I had known before I arrived in the country. These are as accurate as you will find online, and sure to make your trip more pleasant for you, and for the Moroccans who you will interact with throughout your time in their country...
1. Taxi rides
In Fes you should never have to pay more than one or two USD for any taxi ride. They may charge you a little more than Moroccans just because you are a tourist (it’s like an unofficial “tourist tax”), but don’t let anyone rip you off too much. Moroccan Dirhams are equivalent to $.10, so a normal taxi ride may be between 7 and 12 dirhams. Before you sit down and close the doors in a taxi, check to see if the meter is on, and ask the driver about it (“meter?”). If I remember correctly, it should start with a base fee of 2.5 Dirhams. If the driver says there is no meter or it is not working, do not get in the taxi and wait for another (some will try to charge extra if they don’t use a meter). Also, make sure you have some idea of where you are going before you hail a cab. Drivers are usually fantastic, and know where things are and the quickest way to get there. However, occasionally some drivers will take longer routes to increase meter fares, or tell you that they know where something is when in actuality they may not be sure of how to get there, but do not want to turn down a customer
2. Food and water
Do not drink water that doesn’t come out of a sealed bottle. Period. As far as foods go, you can eat anything except for watermelon. Be sure to wash fruits, and if a restaurant served you fruits or vegetables avoid eating the outer skins. Meat is fine to eat as long as it is cooked, obviously. Definitely try some authentic kefta kabobs at some point, they are delicious, and the kind made in Morocco is definitely a specialty to North Africa. Don’t be afraid to try food from places that might seem “sketchy” - the more authentic restaurants often have the best food. Assuming you did not go to Morocco to eat Western food, I would definitely encourage you to try places that are geared towards the local population rather than tourists. You should also try some street food if you get the chance - there are lots of stands that make fried dough treats on street corners, which were my personal favorite. Other things to try: chicken tagine, couscous, kefta (beef ground with Moroccan spices, onions, mint, and parsley; often grilled as kabobs) , msemen (a flaky breakfast flatbread served with jams and honey), and various sweets and pastries (find a local market and just buy a couple of everything they offer - it will be cheap, and give you a good taste of a variety of Moroccan delicacies!).
3. What to wear
Possibly one of the most stressful subjects for tourists preparing for a trip to Morocco, especially considering the wide variety of recommendations you will find online. The following guidelines are based off of my observations after spending eight weeks living in Morocco and travelling the country, the advice from my Moroccan host mom, sisters and brother, and from my extensive academic studying of the region as a whole and of Islam - the dominant religion in Moroccan society. If you follow these suggestions, I assure you that you will be perceived as considerate and culturally respectful by Moroccans, feel comfortable and fit in (as much as possible) in what you are wearing.
Follow this advice, and you will have an incredible time in Morocco! The country is filled with natural beauty and rich in culture, and its people are some of the kindest and most welcoming you will ever meet.