Traveling can be very affordable with the right search and timing! What I've learned is that when you find a GREAT deal, you must be ready to BOOK!
This can be difficult considering our busy work schedule, however many of us know when a special occasion or event is coming so you must watch your flight and manifest it into existence. Now I'm not sure if it's me, but I feel that if you search too much from the same phone or computer, the prices will rise so keep this in mind. Google flights will also track the flight for you and send you price drops/increases directly to your email!
Randomly searching for flights on September 16, 2019, I was able to book a trip to Casablanca, Morocco for $506.23. I left Houston on 11/19/2019 and returned 11/25/2019. Casablanca, Morocco is located in North Africa. My reason for choosing Casablanca over Marrakesh was simply for the overnight layover in Paris. I figured I would land just in time to shop, dine and see the world's most-paid visited paid monument, Eiffel Tower.
Many times, when I'm out of the country, I try to look for the closest and affordable neighboring country. Initially, I wanted to travel to Morocco then to Spain, however when I saw the price of these tickets plus an overnight layover in Paris, I could not resist! I've always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, even if it was for a few hours. This was my first time booking my flight through Priceline and everything went smoothly (except my three-day headache in Casablanca).
Not wanting to ruin my trip, I pushed through the aching migraine! The weather was in the 50s (which may have explained the low fares and my headache). My first tour was a walking tour booked through TripAdvisor. Casablanca is traditional and has very strong beliefs. It is important to make sure you are fully covered as a female. On this tour, I was able to buy a beautiful traditional outfit and I was asked many times how many camels would satisfy my "Bride Price" lol.
The tour began at the famous Rick's Cafe, filmed in the movie Casablanca. The tour continued through the streets of Old and New Medina, Pastry Shops, Mahkama du Pacha with nearby Royal Palace and finished at the Hassan II Mosque. The Hassan II Mosque was built in 6 years and it is the third largest mosque in the world!
The next day I completed a cooking class booked through Airbnb. I really enjoy booking local experiences through Airbnb to get a more authentic and better understanding of the culture, life and people. In the earlier days, on Fridays, many of the men were at the mosque and the women were home cooking, tending to the children and household needs. When the men return, Couscous would be waiting for them. Still to this day, Fridays in Morocco are Couscous Day and the local restaurants, including pizzerias, are serving this delicious dish. This cooking class was only $24 and I learned how to make Moroccan salad, Couscous and dessert!
The final tour I took was also booked through Airbnb. I heard so many great things about Marrakesh and found a tour that picked me up at 7 a.m. and returned me by 5 p.m. This tour also included a tasty local traditional dish called Chicken Tangine! This tour began at the Koutoubia Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. The tour continued to the Dar El Bacha Palace.
This was a beautiful place with an interesting story; 4 wives and 24 concubines use to reside in the palace! After the palace, we walked through the Souks to shop then ate lunch. While walking through the Souks, we had the opportunity to buy real Argan Oil and African Black Soap as well as learn how it is made. On our way back to Casablanca, we had an opportunity to go Camel Riding and visit the Jardin Majorelle. The Jardin Majorelle is a two and half acre botanical garden and home of the Yves Saint Laurent Memorial and Musee'.
Hotel from 11/20/19-11/24/19: Casablanca Le Lido Thalasso & Spa
Total: $283 additional $120 to upgrade to suite with balcony facing the pool!