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My family traveled in first class on a high-speed train in Morocco for only $34. Here's what the 3-hour ride was like.

Jamie Davis Smith   

My family traveled in first class on a high-speed train in Morocco for only $34. Here's what the 3-hour ride was like.
  • I took my two kids on a train ride from Marrakech to Casablanca. We rode in first class.
  • Three first-class tickets only cost $34 and the ride was nice but a bit cramped.

In December, I booked a last-minute tour to Morocco for myself and two of my children.

I picked the tour with Intrepid Travel because it was in my budget and I liked the itinerary, which would take my family across the country from Casablanca to Marakkesh.

But because I planned my trip so last-minute, my options were limited when booking my flight to Casablanca, where the tour began.

Eventually, I decided to take a more affordable flight into Marrakech a few days early and take the train to Casablanca for the start of the tour.

Although it wasn't ideal, I didn't mind paying extra for transportation within the country and liked the idea of spending more time in Marrakech.

I chose to buy my tickets once I got to Morocco to avoid paying extra

I like being prepared and wanted to buy train tickets in advance. However, I found that purchasing tickets in advance doubled or tripled the price.

My thrifty nature prevailed, and I waited to buy train tickets until I arrived in Marrakech. On my first day in Morocco, I asked my hotel concierge how I could buy train tickets, and he advised me to get them at the train station.

The station wasn't near my hotel or anywhere I'd planned on visiting, so I decided to wait until the day I was leaving for Casablanca to buy train tickets.

It was risky, but I didn't want to spend any of my limited time in Marrakech making an unnecessary trip to the train station.

The train station was gorgeous

Because trains to Casablanca run almost hourly, I took a cab to the station a few hours before I hoped to leave.

I braced myself for the worst, unsure if I'd have to navigate the type of stressful, chaotic train station I've encountered in other countries.

Fortunately, I found a bright, well-organized train station that was easy to navigate.

I admired the station's beautiful architecture with Islamic and North African elements as I approached the ticket counter.

I even stopped at the train station's Starbucks on the way.

Our tickets cost even less than I expected

Based on the research I did online, I knew train tickets between Marrakech and Casablanca were affordable.

Upgrading to first class was just a couple of dollars more, and most people recommended spending the extra few bucks for a more comfortable seat.

Still, I wasn't committed until I heard the final price.

I had to double-check I heard the agent correctly when she told me first-class tickets for myself and my two children would cost $34.

Seats were available on the next train, so I bought the tickets and headed to the gate.

First class was comfortable, but it started to feel cramped

Once aboard, I found our cabin, and we took our assigned seats for the three-hour ride. Our cabin had six seats in total.

Eventually, the other three seats in our cabin filled up. I was glad we had boarded first because two passengers in our cabin had to leave their luggage in the narrow hallway just outside the cabin.

Although the cabin seemed spacious at first, it started to feel crowded once it was filled with passengers and luggage.

Nevertheless, the ride was comfortable and quiet.

As we rode through Morocco, my children and I enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenery from our cabin's two panoramic windows.

Next time, I'd buy out the whole train car

The ride was very nice, and we arrived in Casablanca feeling rested.

Because tickets were so affordable, if my family were to take another train ride in Marrakech I would probably buy all six seats in the cabin — especially for a longer ride.

That way, we could spread out and still keep our belongings in the cabin with us.

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