Cost of Living

One of the most important things about travelling and studying abroad, is budgeting. Depends on what life style a person lives and the place, he or she could end up spending a lot more or a lot less than living in the US for the same period of time. Whether a place is a huge tourist spot also determines the prices of things. For example, Florence, Italy is one of the most visited cities on Earth, hence many things cost more than its nearby towns. Gelato is a great example. The smallest cup (piccolo) of gelato a shop offers usually contains two scoops of gelato. The cheapest I could find in Florence was 2 Euros. Going in the nearby town, 2 Euros could probably buy the larger cup that contains 3 scoops of gelato.

Morocco is not a particularly expansive place, using American standard. My taxi ride from Batha, the area of medina where I live in, to ALIF costs 7.60 Dh (about 85 cents, 1 USD = ~9Dh), which is really cheap for the distance that would probably take more than half an hour to walk. The base fare of taxi here is 1.40 Dh, and the meter increases 0.20 Dh for a certain distance the car drives or certain amount of time. At night (usually after 8:30 pm), a 50% charge is automatically added.

A group of us go to one of the two café close to ALIF every day, sometimes more than once a day. The owner of the place has already recognized us. Café is generally more expansive than say other general grocery or small shops, but also cleaner. A cup of orange juice (fresh-squeezed) costs 16 Dh, while on the street you could get the same thing for maybe 10 Dh. A cup of coffee with milk costs about 12 Dh. A pizza the size of a regular plate costs 35 to 40 Dh at the café, depends on the flavor (you can also have them have all 4 flavors on the same pizza, which costs 50 Dh). A huge bowl (mixing bowl size) of salad, which in Morocco does not mean a mixture of raw vegetables with dressing, but rice with some vegetable and fruit on the side (rice being the main component), costs about 22 Dh. Omelet costs about 16 Dh, more if cheese or/and ham is added. Same goes for crepes, the cheapest being 16 Dh. A 1.5 liter bottle of water costs 6 or 8 Dh, a bottle of Coca-Cola costs 8 to 15 Dh, it really depends on where you go. In shops, pastries costs around 3 to 8 Dh, and are usually really good quality (same thing probably costs 1 Euro in Italy, and more than 1 dollar in the US).

The price of food is pretty much the same everywhere you go, with restaurants being more expansive than vendors on the street or in the medina. It is quite easy to have a decent meal with less than 40 Dh and be full at the same time. In Italy, to be full and have a decent meal would cost at least 7 Euros, and that’s probably only one course of the entire meal. Shopping for stuff, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. Bartering is a must, and the shop owners expect you to do it. I haven’t really bought anything from the medina yet, so I have yet to try, maybe tomorrow in the Meknes medina.

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