I’ll shortly be heading off on a new adventure! To the top of the African continent-Morocco.
I have been following this amazing lady Sally from Souk & Co on Instagram and although I asked for one of their itineraries a few years back, I just haven’t been able to make it on one of the tours.
Was I trying to organise too many people? Can I fill a a whole private tour? Can I go over Easter when it’s family time? All these processes go through my mind. We all lead such busy lives, and to organise a group trip often takes 12 months in the planning.
Well after a few years of trying to get a group together, without much success I’m booked to go with a buddy and I’m bursting with excitement.
My travel buddy is my cousin’s wife – Lisa. The 2 of us have previously travelled together to New York, Bali and Canada. Lisa and I are joining a group of 8 women and Sally the owner of Souk and Co and heading off for 12 amazing days. We will be travelling vast distances through this “gateway to Africa” on a small tour bus.
We met up with Sally and another gal who’s on our tour – Sim, last Friday as like us they also live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney in Australia.
There are the 3 of us from Sydney, a mum and a daughter from Melbourne, another mum and daughter from Adelaide and a lady from San Francisco, making up the 8 plus Sally. We will all arrive at varying stages into Casablanca and then travel to the city of Rabat where our tour will officially kick off with dinner under the stars.
Morocco is a big country and our travels will take us through the desert, across mountain ranges and to ancient villages. we will wander through medieval cities with cobble stoned Medinas, all whilst staying in 5 star Riads.
Medinas are traditional walled towns, filled with local people going about their everyday life in laneways, that are a maze of shops and tea houses and alleys that I can only assume I will get lost in with my trusty camera over my shoulder- I can’t wait! A Riad traditionally is the word for garden, however when you look at some of these beautiful homes that are now small boutique hotels, I think todays version is more a ‘stunning garden courtyard’.
With just under 3 weeks till we leave, I have started my pre packing prep. I have chosen about 8 outfits and will cull this down to 4 or 5 including the outfit I will wear on the plane, allowing for comfort on long plane journeys and bus trips, that may get a little grubby and also having the ability to feel like I haven’t worn the same clothes for 2 weeks!
This trip requires covered shoulders and longer dresses below the knee. Not only for the larger cities but also for the quaint ancient villages we may be travelling through, respecting their traditional ways. Morocco is a Muslim country. It has also been suggested that for our camel rides we wear loose pants! Have you ever got on or off a camel? It can be quite daunting and also funny!
We need to also pack for cool desert nights and mild days, so the good old duckdown puffer jacket I bought in South Africa a few years back that folds into it’s own small pocket will no doubt be on high rotation should the weather be cool.
I try to only pack into a carry on suitcase for a few reasons. Firstly this leaves my large suitcase free to fill up with treasures and Morocco looks like an Aladdins cave. So when we are on tour and on and off the bus, I can try to leave my large treasure case on the bus and just use and the smaller carry on case with my clothes and use my back pack for my camera equipment etc . The smaller case on the return flight allows for excess baggage…. On the way over it fits inside my main large suitcase.
Back to packing clothes. I hang these on a door and keep looking at what goes best with what and style them up with other items until I have the perfect travel wardrobe.
I’m only taking 2 pairs of shoes -my Frankie 4 slides and white sneakers. The Frankie 4 brand are a support arch shoe or slide that are just heaven to walk in all day, plus shoes take up so much room and what if I buy 3 pairs ? Well then I will be glad I only left with 2!
A few trips back I discovered these great plastic zipper bags from Louq. They hold anything and everything and as they are clear plastic, you can’t loose things for too long as you can see in the bags. I have a trusty bull dog clip that keeps them altogether, in my suitcase and I also have a couple in my carry on backpack to hold lithium batteries ear plugs etc.
My friend Lindy also introduced me into packing cubes last year and aren’t they a travellers best friend. For a non expensive item, they sure help in the packing dept, keeping t shirts and socks etc. under control! And don’t forget a Sards wonder soap- stick great for those annoying marks on clothes…. you will be the tour favourite sharing to get stains out of clothes!
I have also discovered the Travellers note book. A great little leather compartment, that can hold your notes, diary and they even have a scrapbook/water colour paper book that slides in too for those arty moments. This also reduces what I travel with, and along with ditching the Mac book pro for the iPad that has a small keyboard attached and look at that I’m ready to blog paint or just make notes!
I’ve mentioned before I only take 1 international wall plug with me and use a power pack with 4 pins to cover off phone and camera chargers etc. This way if you are sharing a room or an apartment, you aren’t hogging all the wall sockets. A friend of mine Deanna loved this tip, so I thought I’d share again. And don’t forget a blu tac blob! Just in case the wall fitting is loose it will help keep the plug in place.
Also make sure the actual power point where you are staying is working before you got to bed, otherwise you will wake up in the morning and have not charged your appliances. Nothing ruins a great day travelling than not having fully charged devices.
Packing a small back up portable power pack that can charge your phone is also handy. You may not need it, however if you only use your phone to take photos this can drain your battery quickly and if you are on a bus it is not always possible to charge your phone! Don’t leave home without one. I always travel with an additional battery for my camera for this reason. Imagine getting somewhere and your battery has no charge.
Lastly, I always travel with some trusty packaging material-bubble wrap. I line my big suitcase with this when I leave as you just never know when you might find a special ceramic dish that needs protecting on those bumpy roads and flights. And if you don’t use it, then leave it at the hotel for the next needy traveller.
Got any questions or other suggestions to streamline small group travel ? Drop me a line and let me know, I’m off to buy a backup battery for my new smaller mirrorless travel camera!
Mrs Wong xx