Traveling with children, whether they be toddlers or teenagers, is an amazing, life-changing way to let your young ones experience new worlds, cultures and ways of life. However, let’s be perfectly honest: Traveling with children, through rewarding, is not an easy feat. But, do not let the travails of child-traveling bar you from bringing your young ones on your next Moroccan adventure!
Morocco is an incredibly child-friendly culture (indeed, Arab cultures in particular are known for the value they place on children) and bringing your children on your Family Morocco tour will open their eyes to everyday life in a modern, liberal Muslim country and will allow them a glimpse of a fascinating North African nation that has historically been at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
A number of traveling parents have additionally reported that by traveling with their children, more Moroccans felt open to approach and talked to them more and treated them kindly – children can, in this way, be a gateway to getting to know the Moroccan people. The pros of bringing your children far outweigh the cons; as such, here are a few simple guidelines to follow when planning a custom and private Morocco tour with your kids.
First, when planning your itinerary, discuss with your Morocco tour operator how old your children are and what their interests include. If they enjoy outdoor activities, for example, your tour operator can plan your trip to include hiking, rock climbing and rafting. In this way, your energetic twelve year-old will be kept constantly on his toes! If your teenage daughter enjoys shopping, a special trip to the souks in Marrakesh, as well as a modern shopping center in Casablanca, may be added to the agenda.
For families traveling with toddlers, certain safety precautions should be undertaken. If you child is young and likes to wander, child leashes, for example, are an essential item to pack for your Moroccan adventure. While some parents are turned off by the idea of attaching a leash to their toddler, the leashes truly are a legitimate safety measure. And, many parents say that their children even prefer the leash to being constantly forced to hold the parents’ hand! When you are in busy towns such as Marrakesh and Fez, worrying about getting separated from your young ones can be an enormous mental burden. Free yourself from these worries by attaching a simple leash to your child’s wrist (or harness), and your Moroccan adventure will be considerably less hectic. (Plus, all the swerving donkey carts and moped drivers would like you to keep your children safe too.)
Children who have not traveled much may not initially be excited at the prospect of traveling to Morocco; and, really, why should they be when they do not have a good understanding of the incredible scenery, culture, and activities awaiting them in this Maghrebi paradise?
Get your kids excited before you even leave your home country by starting to introduce them to Moroccan culture. Look up a recipe for couscous or a chicken tagine and have the kids help prepare it. Or, for your teenagers, head to your local library and check out Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Tresspass, Tales of a Harem Girlhood or Tahar Ben Jalloun’s fantastic Racism Explained to my Daughter (the English version now has an excellent introduction by Bill Cosby).
Try renting some movies that have a Middle Eastern/North African theme; The Tale of Three Lost Jewels, a Palestinian film made in 1994, is an excellent introduction to the Palestinian issue (through the eyes of a young Palestinian boy). Have your teenagers check out the website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/. This gives a fantastic and interactive overview of the culture and history of the Middle East and North Africa.
Traveling with your children and family on a Morocco itinerary will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable, rewarding adventures your family ever embarks upon; take the time to read these guidelines and make a few initial preparations, and you will have a fabulous and unforgettable journey!
by Terry, JBT Content Editor