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Tangier Travel Guide

Tangier - Tours and Coping with Hustlers ("Touts")

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Tangier Morocco

Tangier Morocco

Tore Kjeilen

Coping with Hustlers - "Touts" in Tangier

Tangier is infamous among visitors for its persistent "touts" (hustlers). A Tout is a person who tries to sell you something (a good or a service) in an importune manner. The minute you get off your ferry or train, you will meet your first "tout". Follow the advice below and you will have a much better time in Tangier.

Assume Nothing is Free

While hospitable and friendly folk abound in Tangier, be careful when you're in a touristy area and you're offered something for "free". It is rarely free.

Advice on where to buy your train ticket or ferry ticket will be offered by many folks, but just be aware these guys work on commission. You can easily buy your own ticket and fill out your own forms. Be firm and say "no thanks" and look confident. If you really don't know where to go, then be aware you will end up paying a tip for getting help with directions, no matter how many times the offer is given "for free".

A "free" guided tour around the Medina will most likely lead to an uncle's trinket shop or a demand for money at the end of the tour. It may also include shops you are not remotely interested in seeing. A "free" cup of tea might include looking at a lot of carpets.

If you hear the word "free", the price you pay is often not in your control.

But remember your faux guides are simply people trying to make a living to support their families. While ripping off gullible tourists may not seem like the most honest way to make money, it's simply a survival tactic and you shouldn't take it too personally. A firm "no thanks" is the best way to deal with the situation. A little humor also goes a long way.

Hotels don't suddenly disappear, fill up or move to a bad location.

This tip is especially useful for the independent travelers. When you arrive in Tangier, either at the bus station, train station or ferry port you will be greeted by many people, inquiring rather loudly, where you want to go to. Many of these folks will earn a commission for taking you to a hotel of their choosing. This doesn't mean that the hotel will necessarily be bad, it just means you may end up in an area you don't want to be in; the price of your room will be higher to cover the commission; or the hotel could indeed be quite nasty.

Hotel touts have figured lots of clever techniques to scare gullible tourists into following them to a hotel they earn commissions from. They may ask you what hotel you have booked and then tell you emphatically that that hotel is full, has moved, or is in a bad area. Some hotel touts will go further and even pretend to call your hotel for you and get a friend on the phone to tell you the hotel is full.

Don't believe the hype. Make a reservation with a hotel before you arrive, especially if you're arriving in the evening. Your guide book will have phone numbers of all hotels they list, or you can research online before you go. Take a taxi and insist they take you to the hotel of your choosing. If your taxi driver pretends not to know the location of your hotel, take another taxi.

It's better to pay a little more for your first night in Tangier rather than to end up somewhere you don't want to be.

Avoiding Touts (Hustlers) all Together

If you wish to avoid a lot of unwanted attention, the best thing to do is take a guided tour of Tangier. You will probably still end up in shops you don't really wish to see and you won't go off the beaten-track -- but if this is your first time in Africa, it may be more enjoyable.

Guided Tours of Tangier

Most hotels will arrange a tour for you as well as tours to nearby attractions and towns outside of Tangier. There are lots of tour agencies near the ferry ports in Spain and Gibraltar that have scheduled day-trips on offer. You will be with a group on these tours and that has some advantages and disadvantages. Regardless, checking out tour itineraries will help you figure out what to see in Tangier. Examples of organized tours include:

Day Tour from Costa del Sol, Spain.

Private Guided Tours with Nehza

More tips for a first time traveler to Africa.... And if Tangier does not sound like your cup of tea, head 40 minutes south to the more tranquil and lovely Asilah.

What to Wear in Tangier

Long pants or long skirts/dresses are recommended. Women will get a lot of unwanted attention by strolling around Tangier in shorts or a short skirt. Wear t-shirts with 3/4 length sleeves.

More tips for women traveling alone in Africa.

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