Renting a car in Morocco is a great idea. There is just so much to explore and the best way to do that is by driving yourself. There are different options for renting cars from international companies to local dealers. This post will cover everything you need to about car rental in Morocco.
The first thing to consider is that while Morocco is a major tourist destination, it does not always have the same level of customer service as other more developed countries. For example, there is a big difference in the services provided by local and international car rental companies.
Some of the things you could experience are dirty cars or cars with very little fuel. Other problems could be more serious.
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Local car rental companies in Morocco
It is true that you will get a cheaper car rental offer from a local dealer. However, things might get confusing when it comes to the terms and conditions. Some companies ask for thousands of dollars as a deposit.
Other companies will ask for a blank cheque. yes, it sounds crazy and legally questionable, but these are some of the things that you might have to contend with when using a local car rental company in Morocco.
Another important thing to consider is location. Car rental companies are usually only located in major cities. If you are planning to travel deep into Morocco, you need to make sure that you can get help from a regional rental office in the event that you have car trouble, or worse, if your car breaks down.
If you rented from a local company in Casablanca that doesn’t have other branches across the country then your holiday is pretty much ruined.
This is exactly what happened to us during our first Morocco trip. We rented a car from Casablanca and got stuck in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, we opted for Avis. Even though Avis didn’t have an office nearby, they sent a tow truck to take the car away and a driver picked us up the next morning to drive us to their nearest rental office, which happened to be in Marrakech, 3 hours away.
So, as a rule, I would advise you to stick to well-known international franchises like Avis. Their service is the same everywhere.
- local car rental companies are cheaper but don’t always provide the best service
- International car rental in Morocco is expensive but it is always worth it
- Make sure that you use a company that has rental offices in the region you are traveling in, in case you need help
Other tips to get cheap car rentals in Morocco
Cut out the middle man
First up, you would want to avoid booking a car in Morocco with third-party sites because it’s always a problem when things go wrong, and oh boy, there are so many things that can go wrong with renting a car.
So, the advice is when you are looking for a car rental deal in Morocco, browse third-party sites to check which companies are offering good deals. Then book directly on that specific company’s website.
You might get a cheaper deal by booking on a third-party site. However, you have no guarantee that what you paid for is what you will receive. That’s why it’s better to be safe when renting a car, especially in Morocco.
Meet and Greet: This is a ticking time-bomb
I’ve seen companies advertise the service ‘meet and greet’ many times on Moroccan rental booking sites. It sounds really professional and convenient. However, what it really means is that this company doesn’t have an office at the airport. Therefore, they need to send one of their employees to meet and greet you in the airport parking lot.
I learned this the hard way. I was expecting a sign with my name on it, but it didn’t happen. Then I went to search for the company’s office in the terminal, which I didn’t find. I did eventually call the company and get my car but it was all unnecessary.
Many people argue in favor of hiring a car from a rental office that is outside the airport because it is much cheaper. While this is mostly true, and I have done it occasionally, hiring a car at an office outside the airport does pose its challenges.
Office Hours: Offsite rental offices are usually only open during the day. If you have a late-night or early-morning flight you can only hire from the airport.
One-way charge: If you pick up a car from an ‘outside’ rental-car office and choose to return the car to the airport, there’s usually an extra charge levied on top of your total rental fee.
Before you book a car in Morocco, always cross-check the location of the rental company’s office to make sure that they have an office at the airport.
If possible avoid weekend pick-up dates
I noticed from playing around with numerous online booking sites that when I selected to pick up a rental car on a weekend (Friday-Sunday), I was charged more per day than when I selected a pick-up date that was a weekday. This is because rental companies charge you per day and the rate for each day in a given booking period is essentially the same, it doesn’t change. For example, if I booked a car from Wednesday to Sunday for a period of 4 days, it would be cheaper than if I booked it from Friday to the following Tuesday.
During your Morocco vacation, you want to travel in a way that is the quickest and easiest.
For me, if I need a rental car for my trip, I will take it from the airport and return it to the airport. Any other way ends up in a loss of time and energy, and the amount of money saved is not worthwhile, as the idea is to spend the maximum time doing holiday stuff. Safety first: “Cheap ain’t always cheerful”