Tipping in Morocco
Tipping in Morocco is a headache, as it is everywhere in the world for those of us who do not come from a culture of tipping. We often end up spending much more than we had planned for a trip because we invariably forget to take tips into account. After a tour. in a restaurant or hotel in Morocco, we will have frantic but discreet whispered conversations about how much and what kind of tip to give.
In some countries, the amount of the tip is easy to calculate because it is a lump sum. In other countries, tipping is somewhat expected, but the amount is left to your discretion. And then there are countries where you are not expected to tip, and you almost feel like you are insulting the person by tipping them – what are the rules on tipping!
In a way, it is easy to tip in Morocco. It is part of everyday life and is more or less expected. But the question is how much to tip? Morocco has a government-imposed minimum wage for both the private and the public sector, but there are disparities between the two, and as many large families have only one or two wage earners, tips from tourists contribute greatly to increasing the family’s income and standard of living.
Over the years, thanks to our own experiences, talking with our guests and friends, we have formulated a rough idea of the amount of tips to give in Morocco for different services. Because we want you to enjoy exploring the country, let us take some of the stress out of it. Below you will find what we hope will be a useful guide to tips to give in Morocco.
Budget, budget, budget
Even before you leave for your holiday in Morocco, make sure you have a tip in your budget. A few dirhams of a tip here and there are more than enough, even for a weekend. You don’t want to be distracted.
Keep the small parts
Try to keep a few coins and small bills to tip them over. Understandably, exchange offices prefer to use higher denominations, as it is much easier and faster to process the transaction. But try to buy a refreshing drink in a small café with a 200 dirham note and this can cause a bit of a headache for everyone involved! Ask the exchange for small denominations – they will have some in stock. Save the large denominations for “smart” department stores or restaurants – they are more likely to have enough change to cope with the large denominations. When traveling, don’t be tempted to use coins in stores to get rid of them. They will be very useful if you have to go to the bathroom or tip a luggage carrier.
Always tip in Dirhams.
Avoid giving away sterling and euro coins or US dollar notes. The recipient will not be able to spend change in local shops.
Do not give street children
As heartbreaking as it may be, we advise against giving coins to street children for two reasons. The first is that you will quickly be surrounded by them, reaching out their hands, pulling at clothes, demanding money. They won’t leave you alone until you have separated from your money. The second reason is that if you give money to a young child, other children may “jump on” him and take the money. This can be brutal. Also, sometimes children “work” for adults and the money you give them may not be used by the child.
Knowing what is included
If you book a tour yourself, check the fine print to find out exactly what the cost of the tour covers – such as the guide and driver. Advice is then left to your discretion, depending on the level of service you feel you’ve received.
Never tip for poor service.
One thing that is very important to us is that you should never tip for bad service. If you think about it, you are already paying for a service or product. Tipping is a recognition of the quality of that service. If the service has been poor, should it be rewarded? Yes, a scene may be created, the person may try to embarrass you, but hey, it’s your money and it’s not the law that requires you to tip! Tipping may also encourage the person to do a better job.
What also annoys me is that when we have already paid for a service or product, the person concerned either asks for a tip openly or asks for an extra reward in a roundabout way, a bit like a driver saying “my driving was good, wasn’t it? It was safe, you felt very safe, yes? Anyone who asks me for a tip, directly or indirectly, will not receive one or will receive a strongly (and I mean strongly) reduced one.
How many tips in Morocco
Most small cafes and public toilets have toilet attendants and a small donation of 1 or 2 dirhams will help you keep the toilets relatively clean and get a few sheets of toilet paper. If you have more than a little business to take care of, you can carry your own paper! Public toilets may have the cost posted on the door. Don’t worry if you forget, the guards at these toilets will be a friendly reminder to put the coins in their pockets! Oh, and even if the guards are outside, you shouldn’t tip for using the toilets at airports (unless you want to).
Luggage cart carrier
Large parts of the medinas of cities like Marrakech and Fez are inaccessible by car and these porters do a fantastic job of getting your luggage in and out. Depending on the distance traveled, the quantity and weight of the luggage, you should expect between 20 and 50 dirhams.
If you get lost
If you get lost in the medina and accept the help of an inhabitant (often a young child) who will drive you to your destination, a tip of 5 to 10 dirhams is acceptable. They will of course demand more, but leave knowing that you have paid a fair price.
If you want to photograph a person or a shop, always ask first and then tip about 5 dirhams.
About 5 to 10 dirhams are suitable unless you have a lot of bags that are heavy and bulky.
If you’ve had a drink, 2 to 3 dirhams are perfectly acceptable. If you have eaten a little, increase the amount slightly to about 10 dirhams.
Lounge bars and chic cafes
We suggest looking around 10 to 20 dirhams.
As in most countries, the norm is to add about 5-10% to the bill.
The “small” taxis take up to 3 passengers (although you will often see more crowded!), and for a short distance will not set the meter (say 5 to 10-minute trips), 15 to 20 dirhams are more than enough to cover this trip. For longer trips, you should ask that the meter keep running and, if you want to tip, round up to the next ten dirhams (so, with a meter of 36 dirhams, round up to 40).
Guides and drivers
You should consider the length of the visit – a few hours, half a day or a full day, or even longer – and, of course, your level of appreciation for the experience. Don’t forget that you have already paid for the service itself, but we suggest that you tip approximately 50 dirhams for a half-day and 100 dirhams for a full day. Feel free to be more generous if you had a good time.
It’s never easy. In some riads and hotels, you will tip each staff member directly, while in others there will be a common tip box where the money is shared equally. Just ask your host what is best to do in the accommodation you have chosen. There are generally no expectations for tips in Moroccan hotels and riads, but it is good to reward good service. We suggest 100 dirhams per day per room to cover all the staff (including cleaning and kitchen staff if you have taken your meals there). Or more if they have been exceptional, which is often the case in riads.
Of course, none of this is set in stone, it’s just to give you an idea of how much you should tip in Morocco to help you budget for your trip. Always tip according to the quality of service you receive, and above all, don’t let the stress of it all spoil your holiday.