Best of: Marrakech, Morocco! MBA User-Submitted photos.

Hey MBA users!  Every now and then we’re going to post user-submitted photos of your coolest trips, pics, and places!  Be sure to send them in; you can Tweet us your pics at @MyBuddyAbroad , post it on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Buddy-Abroad/114357055324849?fref=ts or send it via e-mail to tyler@ newmediafluent.com

Our next Best of Series will be London, England! Be sure to submit your best photo!

“I never knew there would be so much to do in Marrakech.” Aubrey A.

“The Souk of Marrakech! Anything and everything you could want to buy is all here.” – Riley G.

“Beautiful pillars right by the Medina!” – Lacey B.

“A traditional Moroccan meal (maybe except for the French fries and Diet coke).” – Ally T.

“One of the cities greatest landmarks, the Koutoubia Mosque!” – Andrew J.

“Out sand duning around the Atlas mountains!” – Sarah B.

“Having tea in a rural Moroccan home outside of Marrakesh – amazing experience!” -Emilie S.

“Local school children watching us tourists. I wonder what they think of us?!” – Nick C.

“The beautiful medina from a rooftop restaurant, can’t wait to return!” Shaun B.

9 Tips to Make Your Hostel Stay More Enjoyable

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Staying in a hostel, especially for the first time, can be a very intimidating experience.  Here are some tips that many hostel veterans commonly employ to make their stay as enjoyable as possible.

  1. Bring your own towel.  Many hostels charge a small fee to use a towel that they provide.  Bring your own to not only save a few dollars but to ensure it is clean.

    my favorite microfiber travel towel

http://www.amazon.com/MICRONET-Microfiber-Towel-Blue-Large/dp/B001GXRXXC/ref=sr_1_5?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1350959997&sr=1-5&keywords=travel+towel

2. Bring an extra sheet.  There is one way to ensure you are sleeping on clean sheets, bring your own.  Travel Sheets are small when rolled but provide huge peace of mind for their price.  No matter how clean or sketchy the hostel, you know where the fabric touching your body has been.

Image

Awesome travel sheet, like a really thin sleeping bag.

Here is a link to my favorite Cocoon Brand Travel Sheet: http://www.amazon.com/Cocoon-Flannel-TravelSheet-Twilight-86-Inch/dp/B001DXC664/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1350959699&sr=8-10&keywords=cocoon+travel+sheet

3. Choose room style wisely.  All male? All female? Mixed? Big or Small? There are a variety of choices to be made when choose a room in your hostel.  If you are a female traveling alone, it is usually wise to bunk in an all girls room. Large rooms with lots of beds can be fun, but you are also more likely to encounter people coming in really late, rising really early, snoring, etc.

4. Bring an Ipod, earplugs, or noise cancelling headphones. You never know what type of roommates you will get. Bring some sort of device to hide or mask noise if you are not a hard sleeper.

5. Bring shower shoes.  Since most hostels have shared bathrooms, you are never quite sure what you are going to encounter.  Bring a pair of sandals to wear in the shower to be cautious.

6. Prepare for all conditions.  No matter what climate your hostel is located in, bring something to sleep and lounge in for very hot and cold conditions.  Sometimes places overcompensate for the outside conditions, so it is nice to have options.

7. Leave valuables behind.  When possible leave anything you would miss if it got stolen at home. Most of the time, if you don’t touch other people’s belongings they won’t touch yours, but why take the risk.

8. Bring a lock.  Better safe than sorry, lock up your valuables when you are out of your room.  Some hostels offer lockers, but make sure to pack a padlock and/or computer lock if you bring expensive items.

9. Make friends.  One of the best parts of hostels is the social aspect.  Get out in the common room and get to know your bunk mates! They usually have great advice.

7 Tips to make the most of your carry-on

With stringent luggage rules, you aren’t left with much room to pack clothing and other goods in your carry-on.  Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of that space.

  1. Wear layers of clothing on the flight.  A great way to get some extra outfits in for your trip is to wear layers of clothing.  Throw an extra plastic bag or reusable shopping bag in your suitcase to put the extra clothes in later.  Always wear your bulkiest shoes and fluffiest sweater or jacket since they won’t condense well.
  2. Pack small objects such as socks and underwear in your shoes. If it is small enough to fit in something, put it there.
  3. Pack your biggest and least moldable objects first, then squeeze softer objects around those items. Pack shoes, bags of toiletries, and anything else that cannot be forced into an odd shape first, then bend your t-shirts and pajamas around them.
  4. If you don’t need it, leave it.  Europeans are known for wearing the same outfit for days in a row, no one is going to notice if you are wearing the same pair of jeans.  Trust me.
  5. Pack dark clothes and plain clothing. If you pack dark jeans and plain clothing, your friends are much less likely to notice you wearing the same shirt in all 300 photos you upload.
  6. Pack accessories. A great way to trick people in to thinking you are wearing a different outfit is by changing something simple like a scarf.  Especially in winter months, focus on packing more of what people will actually see than shirts that will end up hidden under your coat.
  7. Spacebags are a lie, and piss all fellow travelers off. One girl I have traveled with a few times carries the travel version of spacebags with her for short trips.  I guarantee I fit 3x more clothing in my backpack than she did, the hard plastic bags do not optimize space in any way.  Plus they are loud and take way longer to pack in than just rolling your clothing. The only thing spacebags are truly useful for is pillows or other incredibly fluffy items with tons of excess air in them.

Travel smarter, not harder friends.

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Being an Annoying Tourist Abroad

Ever had something negative to say about a group of tourists in your hometown? Chances are the answer is yes.  Just because you’re in a foreign environment doesn’t mean everyone has to know it.  Here are some tips to help you avoid being that “pesky tourist”.

  • 5. Stop traveling in giant cliques – We get it, you’re just getting off a sardine-packed tour bus or your entire group of study abroad students wanted to see Geneva together, or maybe your 15 other sorority sisters all want to look “hot” together on the way to the discotheque. Just because you all want to be together doesn’t mean you have to travel in packs of 20. Split up and tackle a city in smaller groups. I can tell you from experience  if you’re traveling in a large group, there’s going to be some decision-making issues anyway.
  • 4. Make an effort to know a few words –  How do you feel when someone asks you for directions in Spanish? Most people I know lament about how this is ‘Murica’, and therefore people should learn English or leave. Just because it’s a popular global language doesn’t mean everyone abroad speaks it. In the tourist sector, knowing 10 simple phrases will win you enormous bonus points with the locals and some might even reveal a secret; they knew English all along (so watch what you say)!
  • 3. You miss home, get over it –  Asking for ice at every restaurant in Europe, whining about the lack of Dr. Pepper, bee lining it to the nearest McDonalds for free Wi-Fi so you can post your 12th consecutive photo of the Eiffel Tower on Facebook (this is a great way to slim down your friends list, by the way) – all these hardships are not permanent. You will be back home soon, stop complaining about it to every living soul, foreign or otherwise, because guess what? Nothing you say is going change things.
  • 2. Pack the attire of a squire – Needless to say, you don’t have to wear a tuxedo and ball gown to hike the Great Wall of China, but that doesn’t mean wear your sweats and college football snuggie. There is a happy medium.  Generally speaking, people in other countries take more pride in their appearance than the average Wal-Mart shopper.  They also don’t want to see your, “I Heart NY” shirt, flip flops, “norts” (aka Nike shorts), fishing shirts or whatever. Could you identify a lederhosen-ladden group of men leaving a German beer house? Because if you’re wearing anything I mentioned above, they can probably identify you too.
  • 1. Stop YELLING –  Americans are loud. We get it, we’ve been there too. The volume in which Americans speak is much higher than other countries, so tone it down or risk being the loud obnoxious cliche tourist. The most common and deadly of the traveling sins, many have a hard time grasping the concept of intercultural communication, thinking their message isn’t getting across because either a) Their hearing is bad or, b)They must not be speaking loudly enough and/or enunciating.  Sadly, it is neither of these. They truthfully just don’t have a damn clue how to speak English.
Travel smart my friends.