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5 Tips For Getting What You Want (And Avoiding What You Don’t Want) In Morocco

Ah, Morocco. Tranquil oases, stunning dunes and sumptuous tagine banquets. Step off the plane and welcome to bliss…

…soon. Meanwhile, dear traveller, prepare for a formidable gauntlet. You are about to be affronted with offers of all you could possibly want (and absolutely everything else too.) This is the domain of the tout; a crafty, persistent and firey individual, fully intent on steering your path while assuring of their good intentions.

Square up, then, and prepare for a scrap. Remember, should you succeed, there’s a plunge pool waiting for you on the other side. Here are some tricks to get you through:

1) Nail the plan
The wandering, wondering tourist is a tout’s favourite toy. Arm yourself with information, figure out what you want and what you’ll pay for it. Check and confirm every deal, regardless how awkward it may seem.

2) Cheek to cheek
Seriously, no matter how angry and animated your opponent, haggling is only a game. Match their cheeky offers of 1000s by sticking to pennies, 10. Prove that you know how cheeky they are being, and keep a cheeky smirk on your face too. You’ll soon see how the offer tumbles.

3) The silent treatment
Reward realistic offers with your attention, but meanwhile keep your eyes away. You’ll feel rude, but the less you give away, the stronger your position.

4) Confidence, just confidence
You’ve been here a fortnight, you’re a regular visitor, you know where you’re going, you absolutely are not lost. Definitely. Repeat this to yourself, and believe it. ‘Just confidence’ won’t get you through, but every ounce of the stuff will help.

5) Teamwork
Once you’ve nailed the plan, divvy up the assignments. Tag team the discussions, appoint a purse-holder, break to confer; whatever your numbers, use them to your advantage. Alternatively, if your outnumbered, try to keep your discussions focussed (don’t be taken in by double-teaming yourself!)

6) Low prices benefit future travellers
Do it for your nation. Should you cave to your tout, he will learn the breaking point of your nation. Endowed with the knowledge that English tourists can afford an extortionate taxi fare, his insistence will only strengthen. Worse still, higher prices paid by foreign visitors eventually affect local prices. Expect to pay more, but do your part to prevent rapid inflation.

7) Find the fun
Settled, sorted and relaxed, you’ll still be bothered incessantly. There’s no avoiding it, so give as good as you get. Fun games include telling touts you are “actually Chinese” or teaching them new calls (“it’s very nice Asda price” and other such classics). A bit of karate mime is always an option should your path be blocked. They have a never-ending, difficult task; your humour might help brighten their day too!

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