Planning a trip to Morocco can present some challenges, and the most pressing question for many travelers, especially women, is the matter of what to pack for Morocco.
The country’s reputation for conservatism is well-deserved, and street harassment in Morocco is an ever-present issue that women must contend with. While men have less at stake when it comes to deciding how to dress in Morocco, the conservative culture means that even men aren’t immune to following a different dress code.
However, this guide is focusing on a woman’s packing list for Morocco, as it’s what I have personal experience in.
Morocco Packing List
What to Pack Everything In
For Morocco, I really don’t recommend bringing a suitcase. The medinas are full of tiny alleyways that are easy to lose yourself in, with plenty of obstacles in your footpath. You’ll often have to traverse not well-paved roads, and doing that all with a 40-something pound rolling luggage is the recipe for a nightmare.
Instead, I recommend traveling with a backpack (here’s the carry on size bag I bring everywhere, or another style that’s check-in sized). The carry-on size backpack I swear by is my Tortuga Backpack, which I love because it means that I can avoid checking in my luggage – saving time and money.
Why do I recommend Tortuga so much? Here’s why: this bag is 45L and has got three main compartments: one for a laptop and other flat objects, one giant rectangular compartment perfect for packing cubes stuffed with clothing, and one smaller compartment with pockets for passports, pens, odds and ends, etc. that I stash all my extras in – plus one small outer zipper pocket for anything you want quick access to. It also has a water bottle holder on the outside as well as buckles so that you can strap something like a yoga mat to the outside. Plus, it’s quite comfortable to wear, with a padded hip belt and comfort-molding shoulder straps complete with a chest strap so that you can distribute weight perfectly across your body in the event that you need to wear your backpack for longer than usual. Check out more specs and details here.
However, if you’re doing a lot of shopping in Morocco, you may want to bring a larger suitcase and leave a lot of room in it. My friend who I traveled with for much of my Morocco trip always had a hassle with her luggage, but ultimately she bought so much that she was glad she had it.
Another idea is to bring a backpack for your trip and to purchase an inexpensive duffel bag or suitcase to bring back all your Moroccan souvenirs in!
Whatever you bring, I also recommend packing cubes to organize your clothing and make opening your luggage more easily. I personally use these packing cubes and love them.
I also like having a separate laundry bag which I can give to my riad or a local laundromat if I need to on my travels. Like packing cubes, you don’t need anything fancy at all – it is just a receptacle for your dirty clothes, after all. I do like having a cute one like this one from Kikkerland though, because I’m impractical.
What to Wear in Morocco for Women (Summer)
The standard for how to dress in Morocco for women is to cover your shoulders and knees. This is more of a sign of respect for the culture and not because it will protect you from harassment.
Non-Muslims are not allowed in mosques in Morocco, so you don’t have to be concerned with dress code regarding religious sights. The closest thing to a mosque a non-Muslim can enter is a madrassa, a religious school, and I’d recommend to dress on the conservative side when entering these.
My general outfit was a thin linen-blend T-shirt that covered my shoulders paired with a midi-length skirt and sandals. Other options include a maxi dress with sleeves or a shawl to cover the shoulders or a T-shirt or blouse tucked into a pair of loose pants. Don’t overthink it and pick loose, breathable materials preferably made out of natural fibers.
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- 3-5 long dresses, preferably with sleeves: Or as many as you can fit without overpacking, really.
- 5+ tees that cover your shoulders: The more neutral, the better. You will sweat a lot, so minimize your white. I suggest black, gray, and a few bright colors. Resist the urge to wear tank tops.
- 2-3 below-the-knee skirts: I like a midi length that hits below the knee but above the ankle, because it is A) cuter and B) less likely to get dirty from dragging on the ground. However, some maxi skirts thrown into the mix wouldn’t hurt either! If you’re wary to wear a long skirt in the heat, don’t be! The extra fabric around your legs traps some cool air, making you feel less hot.
- 2-3 pairs loose, airy pants: Think loose materials, especially natural fibers like linens. Thin, cotton pants will do to keep you covered without adding too much heat, but they’ll trap sweat and moisture and are not ideal. Don’t even think about jeans.
- 2-3 thin scarves/shawls in different colors: Think thin, light materials that you can easily gather to cover your shoulders if you need to chasten up a sleeveless top. There’s no need to wear hijab or cover your hair in Morocco unless your faith requires it. Also, it prevents your guides from bullying you into buying an overpriced scarf to wear on your face if you ride camels in the Sahara Desert. I was petty and just wore a shirt on my face. It wasn’t cute.
- Sunglasses: Good for the sun, but also for avoiding eye contact with would-be suitors and street vendors
- 1 pair sneakers: The streets of Moroccan cities are usually quite dusty and are not the cleanest. I like having a pair of closed-toe sneakers that are breathable. I usually wear a pair of black Nikes as I find they look cute even with my dresses and I’m all about options.
- 1-2 pairs sandals: Sometimes, though, it’s simply too hot to deal with anything but sandals.
- 1 bathing suit: If your riad or hotel has a pool, you’ll definitely want this! Inside your riad/hotel, normal rules regarding dress code and conservatism don’t really apply, so feel free to wear whatever bathing suit you are most comfortable in.
- 1 cardigan or sweater: It gets super cold at night in the Sahara, so if you are planning to go there, even if it’s the summer, be sure to bring some layers.
- Backpack with locking zippers : While Morocco is safe enough for tourists, it’s not completely free from petty crime – especially in the souks, which can get crowded. While wearing a shoulder bag with security features is probably the most secure option, it’s just not comfortable if you carry a lot of stuff with you during the day like I do. I swear by PacSafe and love their PacSafe Citysafe backpack. It’s actually super cute, PLUS it has locking zippers, slash-proof construction thanks to a wire mesh interior, and RFID blockers. It helped me not be so on edge in souks and busy medina streets.
- Wide-brimmed hat: If not for Instagram, then to protect your face from harmful and punishing UV rays
A Note for Women Regarding Dress & Sexual Harassment
Let me get on my feminist soapbox for a moment here: street harassment is fundamentally about power, not desire. No matter how you dress in Morocco, if you’re a woman and you’re not in the presence of a man, you will almost undoubtedly experience sexual harassment, verbal comments, proposals, and potentially even unwanted physical contact or assault.
I visited in July, the hottest month of the year, and dressed according to basically all the norms, and I was still harassed at least 20 times a day and possibly much more. Dressing properly in Morocco will not render you immune to harassment, but it is a sign of respect. Even if a large percentage of the men will not show you respect, choosing instead to harass you based on your gender, I still think it’s imperative for us as travelers to show good faith and try to adhere to their customs.
That said, women in Morocco will have a far easier time if they are with a man. My friend who traveled to Morocco with her husband experienced almost no overt sexual harassment.
What to Bring to Morocco: General Odds & Ends
For random things I think you might want to bring, here’s my odds & ends packing list for Morocco. Use your judgment as to whether or not it’s essential given your travel style and personal needs.
- Hanging Toiletry Bag: Trust me – nothing will piss you off faster than searching for your toiletries in a never-ending pile of junk. Using a simple hanging toiletry bag is life-changing. It has the perfect number of separators, organizers, and pockets without taking up any excess space. It’s kind of like those tents at the Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter — you’d be amazed how much fits in one little pack.
- 1 pair flip flops: Whether you visit a hammam, are walking around your hotel, or taking a shower at a hostel, bring these. PEOPLE. Athlete’s foot is no joke. I’ve dealt with ringworm before (which is basically athlete’s foot on any part of your body that’s not your foot) and it is miserable to get rid of. Save yourself the trouble. Buy a pair of cheap rubber flipflops and be happy.
- 1 travel towel: In case you visit a hammam or place which does not provide towels, a small microfiber towel can be really handy to have. I was also happy I had it in the Sahara desert, so I could give my face a quick wash and dry.
- 1 eye mask: I swear by this contoured eye mask as it doesn’t put uncomfortable pressure on your eyes but completely blacks out any light. Great for if your hotel room doesn’t block out a lot of light, if you’re trying to sleep on a bus ride, or for the plane ride over.
- Some earplugs or good noise-canceling headphones: If you’ve never visited a Muslim country before, you’re in for a treat the first time you hear your pre-dawn call to prayer! I love Hearos — they’re the best ear plugs I’ve used. I’ve also been eyeing these noise-canceling headphones, which could be handy if you have a lot of bus or plane travel planned.
- Hand sanitizer: Many public restrooms don’t have soap, so having some hand sanitizer is always good.
- Kleenex packets: Like above — public restrooms may be lacking in the toilet paper department, so having some Kleenex in a portable sleeve is a nice choice.
- Sunscreen: Morocco is sunny as hell. For people with sensitive skin who want to be a bit extra, I recommend this fancy Japanese facial sunscreen to prevent acne, and then I use a general sunscreen on the rest of my body.
- Travel medications: I carry Pepto-Bismol for standard stomach troubles, Imodium as a nuclear option for diarrhea (i.e. you have to ride a bus for several hours), some sort of painkiller like ibuprofen for headaches and minor pains, and some sort of motion sickness tablets (ESSENTIAL if visiting the Sahara Desert due to the windy roads). That usually covers the bases for me — anything else I may need, I grab on the road.
- Electrolyte packs: I love these in case I get sick on the road or just do a bad job at hydrating for some reason. I use Pedialyte.
- Any prescription medication you may need
- Mosquito repellent: Despite the fact that Morocco is a very dry country, mosquitos are prevalent and they are vicious. However, there’s not really any risk of malaria, and the CDC doesn’t recommend any sort of prophylaxis measures, so leave the anti-malarials at home.
- Adaptor: Morocco uses C and E plugs, the same as most of Europe (save the UK and Malta). Pack an adaptor if you need it!
Toiletries For Women
There aren’t a lot of big box shops in Morocco outside of the malls on the outskirts of the cities, as commerce in the medinas is generally more about smaller stores. If you’re particular about the kind of toiletries and brands that you’re partial to, I recommend bringing plenty from home.
- LUSH solid shampoo: Life-changing. Just trust me. Pro tip, buy online or in store from LUSH and you’ll save serious money over Amazon, but it’s also available on Amazon if you’re doing a big Amazon shop.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste & floss
- Brush or comb
- Hair ties if you have long hair
- ALL THE DEODORANT
- Moisturizer with SPF for day and SPF-free cream at night: Morocco is super drying, and you’ll want to replenish all that moisture that’s being lost.
- Make-up remover wipes — trust.
- OIL BLOTTING SHEETS!
- Lip balm with SPF
- Any make-up that you want
- Feminine hygiene products. Definitely bring tampons if you use those as these would be hard to find in Morocco. I use a Diva Cup personally and love it.
- Glasses, contacts & solution: whatever you need to see
More Morocco Travel Resources
I’ve written quite a bit to help you plan the perfect trip to Morocco! First, start with my Morocco travel planning checklist – it walks you through every step of the planning process.
If you are starting your trip in Marrakech, like most people do, I have a guide to the best riads in Marrakech on any budget, as well as a guide to spending 3 days in Marrakech with recommended tours and outings.