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All you need to know about tipping in the UAE

13 Jun 2018

If you’ve had excellent service in a restaurant, or a taxi driver has been polite, friendly, and helped you with your bags, your instinct is to show your gratitude by giving them a tip. Around the world, the etiquette of tipping can be incredibly complicated, and differ from country to country. Here, we give you some pointers when it comes to tipping in Dubai, so you can make an informed choice to tip, or not to tip.

Is it expected?

Dubai is world-famous for its levels of service, whether you’re in a fast-food restaurant or a seven-star hotel. However, in Dubai there are no hard and fast rules about tipping (unlike, for example, the USA). How much you tip will vary, depending on the service. It isn’t compulsory to tip, but in general, it is customary to leave a small gratuity if you feel you’ve had good service.

Taxis

Tipping taxi drivers is easy – the most common method is to simply round up the fare to the nearest note and let the driver keep the change. If you want a more accurate guideline of how much to tip taxi drivers in Dubai, then most residents give a small tip of between AED5-10.

In restaurants

Most restaurants will include taxes and a service charge on the bill. However, most people in Dubai also leave a small tip for the staff. The usual amount is between 10-15%, depending on how good you feel the service was.

Valets and hotel Bellboys

Again, it’s not compulsory to tip valets and hotel Bellboys in Dubai, but if you want to show your appreciation then the normal amount is AED5-10. You can tip more if you had particularly heavy luggage or a large number of suitcases to move up to your room. Don’t panic if you don’t have any change on you to give a tip; unlike in countries where tipping is expected you won’t be insulting the staff if you don’t tip.

Delivery drivers

Allowing the driver to keep the change is appreciated, but again, not expected. Some delivery services charge a small delivery fee, so bear that in mind if the driver asks for payment – they’re not demanding a tip, but simply asking for the stated delivery charge. If you have any doubts, check with the company before you order.

Supermarket packers

Supermarket packers don’t expect tips, but again if you want to give them a little bit of small change if they carry your bags out to your car, then it’s greatly appreciated.

Beauty therapists and spa masseuses

The size of the tip will depend on the type of treatment. On average, a tip of between 10 and 15% will suffice, while smaller treatments such as a manicure will warrant a smaller tip.

The average tip across the board in Dubai is AED5-10, although if you want to give more then that will be hugely appreciated by the staff. The most important thing is to treat them with respect, so if you’re short on loose change for a tip, a simple smile and a ‘Thank you’ will be just as appreciated.

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