Tipping in Morocco is a headache, as it is all over the world for those of us who don’t come from a tipping culture. We often end up spending far more than we budgeted for a trip, because we invariably forget to factor in tips. After a tour, at a restaurant or at hotels in Morocco we’ll have frantic yet discreet whispered conversations about how much to tip, and who to tip.
In some countries the amount to tip is easy to work out as it’s pretty much a flat rate. In other countries tipping is kinda expected, but the amount is down to your discretion. And then there are those countries where tipping is not expected, and you almost feel like you are insulting the person by offering a tip – just what are the rules on tipping?!
In one sense tipping in Morocco is easy. It’s part of daily life and is more or less expected. The question though is how much to tip? Morocco does have a government mandated minimum wage for both private and public sectors, but there are disparities between the two and with many large families with only one or two wage earners, tips from tourists go a long way to boost the family income and standard of living.
Over the years through our own experiences, talking to hosts and friends, we have formulated a rough idea about how much to tip in Morocco for different services. Because we want you to enjoy your time exploring the country, let us take one little stress out of the way for you. Below you’ll find what we hope will be a useful guide to tipping in Morocco.
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Top tips for tipping in Morocco
Budget, budget, budget
Before you even leave for your holiday to Morocco, make sure you have included tipping in your budget. A few dirhams in tips here and there all add up, even during a weekend trip. You don’t want to leave yourselves short.
Hold on to Small coins
Try and keep hold of coins and smaller denomination notes for tipping. Understandably the currency exchange desks prefer to use the larger denominations as it is a lot easier and quicker to process the transaction. But try and buy a refreshing drink at a small café with a 200 dirham note and it can cause a bit of a headache for all involved! Ask the exchange for smaller denomination notes – they will have some tucked away. Keep the larger notes for the bigger shops or “smarter” restaurants, they are more likely to have sufficient change to contend with these bigger denominations. As your trip progresses, don’t be tempted to use coins in shops to get them out of the way. They will come in very handy if you need to use a toilet or to tip a luggage porter.
Always tip in Dirhams
Avoid tipping in sterling and euro coins or US dollar bills. The recipient won’t be able to spend the currency in local shops.
Don’t give to street kids
As heart wrenching as it may be, we advise not to hand coins to the street kids for two reasons. The first one being you’ll quickly get surrounded by them, all holding their hands out, tugging at clothing, demanding money. They won’t leave you alone until you’ve parted with some cash. The second reason is if you give some money to a small child, it is quite possible that other children will “jump” that child and take the money from them. It can get brutal. Further, sometimes the children are ‘working’ for adults, and any money you give to them won’t end up being used by the child.
Know what’s included
If you book yourself onto a tour, check the small print to see exactly what the cost of the tour covers – like the guide and driver. Any tips are then down to your discretion based on the level of service you feel you have received.
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Never tip for bad service
Something we feel strongly about is that you should never tip for bad service. If you think about it, you are already paying for a service or product. The tip is in recognition for 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 and embarrass you, but hey, it’s your money and it is not law that you have to tip! Withholding a tip might encourage them to perform their role better too.
What also gets me riled is when we have already paid for a service or product, the person involved either blatantly asks for a tip or asks for additional reward in a roundabout fashion, something like a driver saying “my driving was good, no? It was safe, you felt very safe yes?” Anybody who asks me for a tip, directly or indirectly will either get no tip, or a heavily (and I mean heavily) reduced one.
Who, and how much to tip in Morocco
Most small cafes and public toilets have toilet attendants and a small donation of 1 or 2 dirhams will help to keep the toilets relatively clean and get you a few sheets of toilet paper. You might want to carry your own paper if you have more than a little business to do! The public toilets may have the cost posted on the door. Don’t worry if you forget, the attendants will jangle the coins in their pocket as a friendly reminder! Oh, and despite the attendants hovering outside, you don’t have to tip for the use of the toilets at the airports (unless you want to).
Luggage Cart Porter
Large parts of the medinas in cities like Marrakech and Fes are inaccessible by car and these porters do a fantastic job of getting your luggage in and out. Depending on the distance travelled, amount and weight of luggage, anywhere between 20 to 30 dirhams should be considered.
If you get Lost
If you get lost in the medina and accept help from a local (often a small child) who will lead you to your destination, a tip of 5 – 10 dirhams is acceptable. They’ll of course demand more, but walk away knowing you’ve paid a fair price.
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If you want to take a photograph of a person or a shop, always ask first, then tip around 5 dirham.
About 5 to 10 dirhams is appropriate, unless you have a lot of bags which are heavy and cumbersome.
If you’ve enjoyed a drink, then 2 to 3 dirhams is perfectly acceptable. If you’ve had a bit of food, then increase the amount slightly to around 10 dirhams.
Lounge bars and chic cafes
We suggest looking at around 10 to 20 dirhams.
Like in most countries, adding about 10% of the bill is the norm.
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The “petit” taxis take up to 3 passengers (although you’ll often see more crammed in!), and for a short distance will not set the meter (say journeys between 5 and 10 minutes), 15 to 20 dirhams is more than enough to cover this trip. Anything longer then you should be requesting the meter goes on, and if you want to tip, round up to the nearest 10 dirhams (so with a meter reading of 36 dirhams, round up to 40).
Guides and Tour Drivers
You need to consider how long you were guided for – whether it was for a couple of hours, half a day or a full day, or more, and of course how much you enjoyed the experience. Remember, you have already paid for the service itself, but we suggest tipping 100 – 150 dirhams for a full day.
This is never an easy one. In some riads and hotels you’ll tip the individual staff directly, whereas at others there will be a communal tip box where the money is shared equally. Just ask your host what is best to do at your chosen accommodation. There are usually no expectations when it comes to tipping at Moroccan hotels and riads, but it’s considerate to reward good service. We suggest 100 dirhams per day per room to cover all staff (including housekeeping and kitchen staff if you’ve eaten meals there). Or more if they’ve been exceptional, which in riads, they often are.
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Of course none of this is set in stone, it’s just meant to give you some idea of how much to tip in Morocco to help you budget for your trip. Always tip according to the quality of service received, and above all, don’t let the stress of it all ruin your holiday.
What have we missed? Do you have any tips to add?