10 Tips for Safely Travel with Your Infants

One of the things that give young millennial parents a hard time is traveling with their infants on long road trips. But of course, they must be carried on any trip, especially if you are going to visit your grandparents.

But does it always have to be a stressful trip because you carried your adorable infant along? Well, the fact is that you can travel stress-free with your kid and reach your destination with happiness. 

There are simple things you can do to make your kid and yourself happy and comfortable all through the journey. Here are some tips for traveling with your infant:

Tip #1: Driving at night

This sounds weird, especially if you are not used to traveling at night. However, this is a great way to travel with your infant with minimal or no disturbance at all. At night, the child will spend most of the hours sleeping unless you have the kind of a kid that is always awake at night. 

Another great advantage of driving at night is driving for long stretches without breaking. Your child will less bored and hungry because he or she will be sleeping. 

Tip #2: Choose a route that caters for your needs

Most destinations have more than one route. Always choose a route that has all that you need along the way whether you are traveling at night or during the day. Choose a route that has access to restrooms, food, service for your car and gas station. This will help you in case you feel tired and want to pull over to have some rest.

Tip #3: Have the right car seat stroller combos

This is a must-have if you are traveling with your infant, especially for long distances. The beauty of having the best car seat stroller combo is the comfort and protection that they give your child. 

The unexpected may happen, but when your child is on their car seat strollers, they are safe from any impact of an accident. You can look for those car seat strollers that are all-in-one. They can be used as car seats and strollers in case you want to move out of the car with your infant. 

Tip #4: Have the required supplies

Every parent knows that children are demanding in their care. If you are going for a long trip, ensure that you have all the needed items within your reach. You don’t have to unbuckle from your seat to access them. You need to carry things like changeable diapers, wipes, versatile toys, especially on the car seat stroller, an extra blanket, some breast milk, and infant Tylenol among others. Of course, you need snacks and other types of food. 

Tip #5: Choose the right songs

Well, although songs may not be so good to your infant, choosing great melodies where you add your lyrics to keep the baby entertained can be a great way of keeping the baby awake and entertained. Singing to your baby is more effective than having some music on the radio, especially when you want them to take a nap. 

choose the right songs

Choose the right songs makes your driving with your infants easier

Tip #6: Don’t be so hard on yourself

You are not superhuman. You will get tired and drowsy after long hours of driving. Pushing yourself to the extreme can be very tragic. If you are amid such a condition, accidents happen. Pullover and relax for some hours whenever you are drowsy. 

Tip #7: Have regular breaks

An adult can stay for up to six hours without the need to use a restroom. However, your infant cannot hold it for such a long time. Therefore, always try to make stops after every one to three hours when traveling during the day. At night, only make a stop in a secure place after three to six hours. You can use this time to change diapers and stretch a bit.

Tip #8: Exchange babysitting duties

Although mothers are good at taking care of infants, it is a good idea to exchange roles after some hours. If one of you is on the wheel, the other should be with the baby resting and keeping the baby entertained. After some time, exchange roles and let the one who has rested take over the wheel. Try to sleep when the baby is sleeping to be refreshed to take over the wheel.

Tip #9: Be ready for the unexpected

Even if you have serviced your car, ensure you carry that spare tire, tire iron, a jack, and other essential tools. Take the right precautions, even when you don’t have your infant on board.

Tip #10: Ensure the car is in prime condition

Can you imagine your car being towed at midnight while your baby is screaming the loudest? That can be very frustrating. To avoid that, ensure you have your vehicle checked before departure. 

CONCLUSION

The above tips can make your trip awesome and enjoyable, even when you are with your infant. Never think of leaving your baby alone in the car, especially when going for some shopping, carry a car seat baby stroller for easier maneuvering. Now you have what it takes to have a decent trip. 

References:

(1) https://autance.com/best-car-seat-stroller-combos/ 

(2) https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips/strollers-car-seats-breastmilk-oh-my

How Big Does Fully Grown Bearded Dragon Get?

It is not easy to estimate the size of a baby bearded dragon then it is grown. The size and length of bearded dragons depend on some factors such as the breed, their living environment, their diet and their sex.

But generally, you can expect that your fully grown bearded dragons can reach 18-20 inches in length from their head to the tip of the tail. But if your bearded dragons are not growing as normal, there are some things that you should consider to ensure the good condition of growth for your pet.

#1 They are not getting enough UVB light

The best UVB bulb is regarded as beneficial for bearded dragons grown. UVB provides Vitamin D3, which helps bearded dragons appropriately absorb calcium from their diet. Without calcium, bearded dragon bones will be weak and brittle, impeding the growth of bones.

Besides, do not exposure enough with UVB light can lead to the suppressed appetite of your bearded dragons, lacking of nutrients lead to the stop of growth.

#2 Your bearded dragons do not have a proper diet

In the 6 first months of bearded dragons life, the baby will grow very quickly, they require enough protein as much as they can eat to grow. If your bearded dragons are under 3 months old, they need to be fed 5 times per day, each time last 10-15 minutes. And you should expect that they eat as much as possible.

#3 They are bromated when they young

Brumation can know as the hibernation of reptile when the winter comes. When this process taking place, your bearded dragons tend to spend most of the time to sleep and they do not need to eat. So they will lose their weigh.

But when you allow them to be bromated at a young age, they will waste their ideal time of growth. This is the reason why the brumation stunt the growth of your bearded dragons.

In order to avoid this, you should maintain the constant temperature in their cage all the time and also maintain the day/night cycle is normal every day.

How To Use A Griddle

A stove top griddle is flat cookware that has a large flat cooking surface and used to cook more food at once. You can prepare a variety of delicious meals such as toast bread, eggs, pancakes, hamburgers… at the same time. This kitchen appliance is often made of cast iron and coated by a non-stick layer.  The non-stick coating helps you to control fat to your meals and clean easily. In fact, I think there are still some of you wonder “How to use a griddle?” when you all know about the benefits it can bring. So I’m here for you to give you the general instruction of this griddle pan.

How to Use a Griddle?

The griddle has 4 types in total but two main types that are classified by the heat source: gas and electricity. Normally, the gas griddle is used as a traditional pan that put directly on the gas stove. This kind of stove top griddle is used commercially and you can adjust the temperature on the surface of griddle through the gas stove. About the electric griddles, they are more convenient and frequent in households than the gas stove top griddles. They are made of thin plate material and also equipped with a built-in heating adjustment. They provide a larger area and a more even heat than a gas griddle. So now, when you completely understand the operation mechanism of different griddles, especially the heating element, it’s time to cook.

First, turn on your griddle and heat it up. You need to wait till your griddle is hot enough to use. Several methods for you to check whether the griddle is ready for cooking. An easy technique is to add a few drops of water onto it and see if there is any sizzle or bubble, your flat thin pan is ready. Now, spray a bit of cooking oil or smear a small amount of butter until it melts, place your food on its surface then cook them at a suitable temperature. If your griddle starts to smoke or burn, lower the heat or you can apply more fat into it. It seems like it is never as easy as using this stove top griddle pan for cooking any kind of food.

Griddles are not only used for cooking new food but also for warming up the leftovers or toast foods and a sandwich press. Therefore, no food is not suitable to cook on a griddle but you might notice that each food has its own cooking temperature for the best result, so you have to adjust reasonably the heat and the distance of time you add a type of food into the surface when cooking another one. Things you also should know to use a griddle is that abrasive cooking tools such as metal or wire tools are not allowed when cleaning the griddle. Those utensils can damage the smooth surface.

Conclusion

I picked a griddle for my kitchen last summer and it is still working well now because I’ve always followed exactly the answer that I gave you above about the user guides of the griddle. I hope this helps and this article will go to the people who are confusing of “Stove top griddle: How to use?”

If you are just in love with pancakes and do not want to purchase large surface cookware like a griddle to cook only pancakes, the solution is that you can buy the best pancake pan instead.

PLANS FOR SUMMER

“The worst thing you can do with summer is waste it. You certainly don’t want to be stuck at home when all your friends are off on adventures of their own. And before you know it you’ll be back to the grindstone wishing you’d spent your time more wisely.

Instead of twiddling your thumbs alone in the pub garden, come away with Work the World for the experience of a lifetime. Travel to the most exotic reaches of the planet, get ahead of your peers with life-changing experiences in your chosen medical field, and get to know the most charming people you’ll ever meet.

But you’ll have to get in quick — the remaining spaces won’t be around forever!

Kathmandu

In the heart of the Himalayan mountains this ancient city swarms with life both day and night. The temples have an aura of spirituality while the narrow streets are loud with all things modern. Take a trip into the mountains where you can paraglide through the peaks before camping out under an unblemished canopy of stars.

There are stunning temples, too. The traditions of the Nepalese people are deeply spiritual, and whether you’re Hindu or Buddhist (or anything else for that matter), you’ll find solace here. A visit to the much revered child goddess at Kumari Chowk temple never fails to impress. Nor does the epic Boudhanath Stupa — one of the largest in the world.”

 

TOKYO NIGHTLIFE

TOKYO NIGHTLIFE

“Tokyo has some of the best nightlife in the world. The city’s size to population ratio means that they have to cram an unimaginable number of small businesses into a relatively restricted area.

Most buildings have 5 or more floors that house anything from hairdressers to karate dojos, but it’s the bars we’re interested in here.

This Asian metropolis has more bars than the sea has fish and if you’re not familiar with the area you’ll never stumble across the same bar twice.

After living in Tokyo for quite some time I became used to this and started documenting all my alcohol-influenced experiences. Here is a list of 5 of my favourite bars in Tokyo.

1. The BBQ bar

All you can eat and drink. That’s all you should need to hear to want to visit a BBQ restaurant. The beer flows freely as does the food. There’s a small barbecue in the middle of every table and plates upon plates of the tastiest meats you can think of are brought out by the waiters upon request.

Run out of food? Press the little buzzer on your table and as if by magic five more plates will appear. Bear in mind that there’s a three hour time limit in most of these places, so eat and drink as fast as you can… if you can stomach it.”

 SEE THIS POST ONSITE

Learning How to Be Patient May save Your Life

Learning How to Be Patient May save Your Life

Morocco is hot in the summer. And as much as I love warm weather, 110 degree heat is pushing it in a busy city where the air-con exists only in one KFC. I was used to the local people hassling me and begging for money at 5 minute intervals, but I wasn’t ready for one guy to overstep the mark. The man held his hand out to my girlfriend and I as we were sitting and enjoying the day, but he lingered for too long. He edged closer and tried to reach into my pocket without me noticing. I stood up and moved away so as not to cause a a fuss, but the man stood up and started shouting as though the contents of my pocket were his to take. Then he spat on me.

Without elaborating, I lost my patience and it ruined the entire experience.

If you don’t learn how to be patient…

…all sorts of negative things can happen to both your mind and your body; we can become stressed and anxious, or start wishing ourselves into the future.

The human imagination is so good at what it does that we can think ourselves into a preferable situation that might not even happen. When we do this it makes us want to jump forward into this imaginary future to escape the stressful present (which is stressful in itself, because such a thing is impossible to do).

When we let impatience turn into stress and let that stress gather momentum, it becomes crazily hard to return to balance. We can start to feel our muscles tense, experience shortness of breath and feel our limbs become restless – all of these are physical manifestations of our negative mental state.

Impatience is no good for our minds either; our thoughts become scattered and any trace of our ability to stay focused turns to goop. If this goes on for even a moment too long, we risk heading into the abyss that is anger, and you sure as hell don’t want to go down that road.

Worst of all, if we don’t learn how to be patient we can begin to feel isolated, and isolation can make us feel very sad and lonely. We feel cut-off and alone because rather than accepting that we’re being impatient, we assume that the fault lies with the other person or situation. The feelings themselves spring from the realisation that there are some things we just can’t control.

And so, we must learn patience.

How to learn patience

This dog knows how to be patient

By Stephen Korecky on Flickr

When people suggest that you should take a deep breath and count to ten, they’re not all that far off the truth (as annoying as that statement may be).

The below is by no means a definitive list, but there are some simple points to get you started.

  • Breathe

Step one: breathe.

Before you announce that you’re already breathing, let me explain: actively paying attention to the breath in the body can bring focus and clarity to your present experience even at the worst of times.

Spending a few moments focusing on the breath can loosen the grip of impatience like a Chinese finger trap; the more you relax, the easier it is to escape it. Breathing is probably the easiest thing ever, so it’s amazing how dramatic the effects are when we pay it even a little bit of attention.

The best thing is that you can do it anywhere; in a long check-in queue; at an unhelpful immigration office; with that one travel buddy who drank too much and can’t make it home without you; anywhere.

  • See the challenge

The next time you notice impatience creeping on, silently say the following three sentences to yourself:

“I am intelligent enough to realise that this response is not beneficial.”

“It’s completely normal for me to respond this way, but it is not productive.”

“From this moment on I will breathe, pay attention to my breath and observe my feelings mindfully.”

The moment we see situations that cause impatience as challenges, we’ve already shifted our focus away from losing our cool. This takes a lot of practice, so don’t be disheartened if you find it completely impossible the first few times.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn this skill while travelling, as life on the road presents us with frustrating challenges almost everyday. For some of us, personal growth is why we travel in the first place.

  • Teach

Teaching requires incredible patience. If you find the above point too difficult, try and teach someone something. It gives you more control over the situation as you’re going in prepared to feel frustrated.

Teach someone local three reasonably complicated phrases in your native language and see how you get on. Judge your mood before, during and after to see what the patterns are and which triggers start the frustration and make the feeling of impatience worse.

Next time see if you can accept frustration and be with it by being kind to yourself and focusing compassionately on the needs of the person you’re teaching. You’re there for them just as much as you’re there for yourself.

  • Meditate

Daily meditation is an irreplaceable ally. There are many forms of meditation and they all have their own individual benefits, but for simplicity I recommend mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness meditation helps us to become more aware of the present moment rather than dwelling on the past, or wishing ourselves into/worrying about the future. It hones our ability to drop into the present – just what we need when a little patience is required.

  • Ask your friends

Our friends and family see a side of us that we do not.

If we want an honest opinion, we must ask for one – it’s no good roping in a relative unless you’re going to tell them to be brutally honest.  Ask them if they recognise anything that causes you frustration and compare that with self-assessment.

Write a list of everything you learn and try to take one item each week and look out for it. If you notice frustration arising from any item, refer to points one and two, rinse and repeat.

 

The most challenging thing about this process is that it requires persistence, which is in and of itself a challenge. Fortunately, next week’s post is all about the benefits of persistence, so subscribe to the mailing list if you don’t want to miss it.

You’ll start to notice that many of the things I talk about are interconnected and dependent on one another. The best way to nail them all is to chip away piece by piece – take baby steps and don’t lose hope.

If you’ve got any stories about a time you managed to keep your patience instead of switching on the rage, please let us know how you did it in the comments below.

Elephant Rides in Thailand Are Bad… For Real

Elephant Rides in Thailand Are Bad… For Real

I must preface this post by admitting that, yes, I have been on elephant rides. At the time I was utterly convinced it was fine and that the elephant was more than happy to carry me. That was a year ago and I was definitely wrong.

My experience with elephant rides

I happened to be in Thailand in March 2012 and one of the things I had planned was, of course, to ride an elephant. I’d been romanced by the idea such that I believed these beautiful creatures would actually enjoy the experience with me. “I’m having a blast, Joe!” The elephant would say, and I’d reply “Indeed… Onward!”

My brain was clearly malfunctioning, but I know that other people convince themselves in much the same way.

To cut a medium-length story to blog post size, I arrived where the elephants were kept, climbed aboard and off we went. It was all downhill from there (metaphorically speaking).

There was a small, irritable Thai man sat on the elephant’s head and he had a wooden stick which at one end had a metal spike and hook – I’m no Freud, but it’s my understanding that rage and sharp objects tend not to mix positively. The man prodded and poked the poor, grey beast as it moved reluctantly through the jungle, and I imagined that the elephant was filled with resentment.

It was clear from its groans that the animal did not want to cooperate, but was forced into doing so knowing that, should it refuse, it would receive a painful blow to the forehead from the spiked tool.

I wanted to get off.

This was not at all the way I’d imagined it, but then these things rarely are. I hated every second of it, but then realised that however much I disliked the experience, my suffering paled in comparison to the suffering of the elephant.

Let me next explain how to catch an elephant.

First you must break the elephant’s spirit using a centuries old method known as ‘Phajaan’. Information varies from source to source as to the exact process, but we know that when an elephant is around 4 years of age it’s forcibly removed from its mother (forever breaking their natural bond), caged and then immobilised with ropes and chains. The ‘trainers’ proceed beat the schnitzel out of the elephant with heavy, sharp things till it becomes forever submissive to human beings. I’m told that the most effective area to attack is the inner ears and eyes, as they’re the most painful.

Here’s a shocking ‘PETA-esque’ video of Phajaan in action – Bear in mind that, as far as we know, every domesticated elephant in Thailand has experienced this

After a few weeks of torture you have a tame elephant that you can ‘use’ for… well, whatever you want really.

The elephants are either kept, or sold off to new owners who use them to make money through offering rides and putting on shows – they can even be trained to paint pictures, which I find terrifying.

To me this process is heartless – intentional or not.

I understand that one shouldn’t judge the people that participate in this process, as I’ve no idea what their motivations are or what sort of strange path led them to this sort of life, but ultimately there needs to be local and accessible education that animals aren’t for people.

As a ‘higher’ species we should take it upon ourselves to discuss this sort of thing – in many parts of the developed world we already know better, plus it’s really shitty karma. Even Lonely Planet haven’t got the message yet.

Am I a hypocrite for eating farmed meats? Probably. Am I a hypocrite for having a pet dog? Probably. But I believe that taking small steps is better than taking no steps, provided that they’re steps in the right direction.

So, what I’m saying is: elephant rides in Thailand are bad… for reals.

 

…And now, a funny cat:

A Happy Life is Not Spent Chasing Happiness

A Happy Life is Not Spent Chasing Happiness

Spending your life searching for things, events, people or places that will make you happy is a fool’s errand. Aristotle was right, however you look at it. The line that follows this quote says, “…similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” – the message seems clear.

A happy life is not spent chasing happiness

Happiness is hot topic right now – in fact it’s probably the hottest topic of all time because it’s something we seem to search for relentlessly. Being happy is so important to us that it dominates almost everything we do, and new ways to get there are always being studied.

But the problem is that looking for happiness leaves us dissatisfied. It leaves us dissatisfied because happiness isn’t something that can be found in the way that you can find a lost set of keys. To truly be happy is a constant state of being.

Our understanding of happiness is based on the assumption that it’s something that can be pursued. That assumption has even spawned its own film with Will Smith in it – how could we not be convinced?

The problem is that looking for a happy life in things, people, places or future events is that those things are all transient – they don’t last.

The only thing you can find true happiness in is the one consistent truth: you exist.  Your sense of self, your own existence, is the only thing you can ever be absolutely sure of – so try starting there.

A happy life of travel

Happiness is not a destination. You can’t get on a plane and get to happiness, and no amount of time will bring it closer. Again, I understand where this idea comes from – so much of what the western materialist viewpoint teaches says if X then Y.

  • If you work hard, you will be rich.
  • If you eat food, you will be full.
  • If you drink too much vodka, you will be unconscious.

If you try and apply that reasoning to happiness, you’re at risk of chasing your tail which can actually do more harm than good.

World travellers, myself included, are often massively guilty of this. We seek experiences, which isn’t a bad thing by itself, but when we’re seeking experiences in search of  a buzz, we’re definitely doing it wrong.

Moving from country to country when you get bored goes against what most seasoned travellers will recommend – instead try to stay, and be, in one place. Start to look a little deeper into your present experience – the here and now – rather than letting your thoughts take you into the future.

Remember: less is more.

It’s inside yourself that you will begin to cultivate happiness, rather than find it.

A happy life starts inside

Things that are external to us cannot bring us a long-term happy life – they can influence our mood in the short term, but nothing beyond that. The first bite of the Big Mac tastes great, but we always end up with the McSweats, and they stink.

All of these external stimuli have a ‘happy limit’ that we hit after a while, and this leaves us looking for the next quick fix.

The path to solving this problem starts with realising that there’s a problem to begin with, and the sooner we realise this the sooner we can start to pay attention to the ‘me’ that’s here right now.

Slow down and breathe for a moment. Try a simple meditation and turn inward, presently. Quietly observe what the weather’s like inside yourself and how it’s constantly changing, chasing thoughts that appear from nowhere.

Is what we want what we think we want, or is there more to happiness than a 6-week round the world ticket and a new Macbook Pro?

When we’re able to stop taking happiness like a drug and focusing on contentment in the present moment, a long-term happiness at the core of our very being will emerge before we even recognise that it’s there.

 

Did this post strike a chord? Let me know in the comments – your feedback is the most valuable thing I have, because it’s for you that I’m writing.

7 Signs Your Journey of Self Discovery Is Overdue

7 Signs Your Journey of Self Discovery Is Overdue

Travel does many of things for us.

Facilitating journeys of self discovery is one of those things. It’s okay, most of us are confused about who we are and what this life thing is all about. But rarely do we have time to search for the answers.

I’ve experienced identity crises like everyone else, but these days I’m driven by meaningful purpose. I’m driven because I’m quickly waking up to the essence of who I really am, deep under the surface.

But I had to be able to recognise when it was time set-off  on my journey before I was able to take the first crucial step.

Here are some signs that might signal that it’s time for you to wake up and start asking questions.

You feel disconnected from the world

There’s a gap that seems to appear between us and the world when we’re unsure of ourselves. We can even feel completely cut off from our friends and family. When our sense of who we are comes into question we often turn inward to find the answers.

But what many of us don’t get is that it’s partly through our interaction with other people that we come learn the truth about ourselves.

If you’re feeling disconnected, maybe a journey of self discovery is for you.

You’ve got itchy feet

Hands up if the voice in your head enjoys nagging at you.

Yep, me too.

The nagging can manifest in many different ways. We might feel like quitting a boring job, moving house, leaving a bad relationship, killing a smoking habit, or anything else that would mean a fundamental shift in perspective.

Our minds are tired and want out of the game. A chance to breathe.

And the only way to satisfy a persistent voice is to listen to what it has to say. It might be time to listen to your voice and uncover your true self by experiencing all the diverse contexts the world and its people offer up.

You daydream about self discovery

Simply put, your head is in the clouds.

You don’t like getting up in the morning

I know that a lot of people find getting out of bed about as attractive as a grenade, but that says something about the way we’re living. To be alive should be a great joy. We should be able to welcome every day with positivity.

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” – Rumi

But sadly the thought of waking up, both metaphorically and literally, becomes too challenging when it feels like there’s no escape from the cycle.

The good news is that it’s never too late to realise that things can be different. The path of self discovery is infinite because we never stop learning. But thats okay because when we live in the moment, the journey becomes the destination.

You distract yourself with stuff

Hands up if you buy crap that you will probably never use.

Yep, me too.

We do this because it offers us a temporary pleasure – a distraction from the terrifying prospect of self discovery. It lets us forget all the ‘problems’ we’d rather sweep under the carpet, or put aside to think about another day rather than confront them.

We don’t just do it with stuff. We do it with TV, movies, video games, alcohol, drugs and all sorts.

We hide because we’re afraid of the truth. And we’re afraid of the truth because we don’t know what it is.

You’re always tired

Our physical wellbeing is inextricably linked with Our mental wellbeing. Having a tired body and a tired mind only serves to block life’s answers from view.

When we find that we’re always tired, we might be spending too much time involved in soul-sucking activities that totally drain us. It’s not always easy to tell what those things are without a change in perspective

World travel offers us limitless, dynamic perspectives that can guide us toward what we’re looking for.

You feel like there’s so much more

If you can recognise any of the following, you’re probably in this category :

“I’m ready to conquer the world, but I’m afraid to step outside my comfort zone.”

“I feel like there’s so much more out there, but worry about taking action.”

“My rational mind files away my dreams for another day.”

What’s funny is that the times when we’re truly afraid to make a leap of faith are often the times we need to leap the most.

The truth is that there is much more out there, but it’s not going to fall into your lap.

The fruit of life is low hanging and incredibly sweet. Take it, it’s yours to enjoy.

 

In the next post we’ll look at how travel helps with all of the problems listed above. Subscribe to my mailing list to get it in your inbox. There’ll be no spam. And that’s a promise.

5 ways to not waste money in Marrakech

5 ways to not waste money in Marrakech

5 ways to not waste money in Marrakech

 

Marrakech is billed as one of the best cities in Morocco to visit and I believe this to be true. However, Marrakech isn’t without its traps and pitfalls, so it’s best to stay vigilant and make the best use of your time and money without getting scammed. While it’s true that there are scams all over the world and in every country, Marrakech is a hunting ground for locals wanting to make a quick and easy living from sun-stroked tourists that are otherwise unaware. Here are my 5 top tips for holding onto your money when enjoying Marrakech.

1. Don’t follow ‘helpful’ people

 

You might think that young man is being mighty friendly offering to show you how to get to the tanneries, but alas he is not. “Oh hello! Where are you going?”, he’ll say. If you tell him where you’re going he’ll take you the longest possible way to nowheresville and charge you to help find your way out.

 

Whatever you do, don’t stop or it’ll become more difficult to leave, instead just politely explain that you’re just out for a walk and head off. Be warned that these young men are persistent and can become angry if you refuse them, so be as friendly as you can when  you decline their ‘generous’ offers.

 

2. Don’t be persuaded by the ‘aggressive sell’

 

If you’re not fond of bartering and aren’t filthy rich then you probably won’t like the markets. In the markets of Marrakech, or ‘souks’ in the local tongue, are hundreds of empty-bellied, money-hungry salesmen waiting to help you part with your cash. If you’re not vigilant and don’t stand your ground it’s more likely that you’ll be taken advantage of.

 

“Come inside, come inside!” or, “No charge for looking!” they’ll say. But be warned, once you’re inside a shop it’s extremely difficult to get out without experiencing the owner’s aggressive sales manner. Once I was almost hassled to death and despite being polite the owner thanked me by saying something inaudible and spitting at me.

3. Don’t buy the drugs

 

If you buy drugs in Morocco you’ve got to be a little bit crazy. One of the oldest scams in the book involves drugs and it goes a little something like this – Man 1 tries to sell you drugs. You say yes. Man 1 gives you the drugs. Man 2 (a police officer), will then arrest you and tell you that you owe him (insert obscene amount of money here) or you’ll be taken to prison.

 

Just don’t do it.

 

4. If someone says something is free, it probably isn’t

 

Speaking from experience in the souks I had items forced into my hands on several occasions being told that they were free, and when leaving told that I had to pay or they would call the police. Don’t be threatened by this, it’s just the way in which things appear to be done. Again, politely refuse any free offers (including a cup of mint tea) and walk away if you have no intention of buying.

 

5. Don’t get into a taxi without agreeing a price

 

Don’t get into a taxi without agreeing a price. You will be ripped off if you don’t negotiate terms or make the driver turn on his meter. You’ll probably hear “Sorry the meter is broken”, so negotiate a price before you even enter the vehicle.

 

Despite some pretty stark advice it’s not all doom and gloom in Marrakech. It’s a fascinating city with many cultural heritage sites to be in awe of and as long as you’re up for the challenge there is much enjoyment to be had.