Whenever traveling to a foreign place, it is always a good idea to do at least a little bit of research regarding the customs of the area you’re visiting. The last thing you want to do is insult a host or create any type of hostility by doing something that they may find offensive. Here in the United States it has become customary (and expected) to tip when dining out or visiting any venue where services are provided by an individual. However, in some countries like China and Japan, tipping is actually viewed as a rude gesture. While it is not considered rude to tip in Qatar, the question is how much (and who) should you tip when visiting.
You will find that when in Qatar you will come into contact with many people along the way. You will likely have taxi drivers, tour guides, maybe you will enjoy a spa day with a masseuse, visit numerous eateries with waiters, etc. Each and every one of these encounters will have you wondering how much is appropriate to tip on top of the cost of the meal or activity. Here’s an easy guide to help you figure out who and how much to tip in Qatar.
One important thing to remember when traveling to Qatar is to always carry the local currency. It’s way easier to figure out how much to tip in their currency rather than have to do any type of math while on vacation. Since we are referring specifically to Qatar here, I will be discussing the local currency they use, which is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). $1 USD is 3.64 QAR. You may feel a little more comfortable keeping your calculator handy when you’re out and about, at least until you become familiar with the exchange rate.
Tipping At Restaurants In Qatar
A server in Qatar typically makes anywhere from 2,400 QAR (about $650) up to 7,800 QAR (just over $2,100) every month. One big factor that determines how much a server in Qatar is paid is their experience level, or how long they have been serving. Generally speaking, if your service at the restaurant was good to great, a 10-15% tip should be added for your server. If the service is exceptional then a max of 20% can be given. It’s important to keep in mind that some of the restaurants in the Middle East add an extra 10% “service charge” to bills, but this doesn’t necessarily go to your server, so a good rule of thumb would be to be generous if you can afford to be. Remember how hard those people work to keep you happy, and if you had an amazing time, you can just tip accordingly.
Tipping At Spas And Salons In Qatar
Spas in Qatar, especially those in the 4-star and 5-star hotels, are pricey. An average massage package can easily cost up to $500 for an hour session. While it’s not 100% necessary to tip the staff there, it’s certainly a nice gesture. Every little bit helps, so even if it’s just a 15-20 QAR (about $5) tip, it would surely bring a smile to their face. We all love to feel appreciated, and even if you will still get the same service either way, what is spending a few extra dollars to make someone’s day when you’re out splurging on a vacation anyway?
Tipping Taxi Drivers In Qatar
We all know the toll it takes sitting in traffic and trying to get from one place to another safely. It’s stressful to say the least. Now imagine that’s your job and you’re responsible for precious cargo (like other people). It’s probably one of the most a taxing professions (pun intended). The monthly salary for a taxi cab driver in Qatar can range widely from anywhere between 2,500 QAR (about $685) up to 7,500 QAR (just over $2,000). This all depends on where they work and the hours they work. It’s highly recommended that you tip taxi drivers in Qatar. A good standard tip would be somewhere between 5 and 10 QAR (about $2-$3). Besides, what’s a few extra bucks to ensure a little extra care for your trip and to safely get from Point A to Point B? The alternative really would be renting a car and trying to navigate an unfamiliar area on your own (talk about stress!).
Tipping At Hotels In Qatar
There’s no doubt that housekeepers and hotel staff have a tough and important job. They average a salary of about 5,600 QAR (roughly $1,500) per month, although it can be as high as 8,600 QAR (almost $2,400). I would have to say that tipping the hotel staff is a must. This includes those that deliver your food up, those that heft your luggage up to your room, and especially those that are in charge of cleaning your room. The housekeeping staff at hotels have a huge responsibility of ensuring that every room is maintained properly. This is especially true in modern times when cleanliness is crucial and extra steps have been added for precautionary measures. An extra 10-20 QAR ($2-$5) for the housekeeper per day is plenty and around 7-10 QAR ($2-$3) for bellboys and doormen is more than generous.
Tipping Tour Guides In Qatar
Taking a guided tour on your first visit to Doha is a must. It is also polite to tip your tour guide up to 20 QAR (around $5) after the tour is finished, if it exceeded your expectations. One thing I love about the guided tours in Qatar, especially Doha, is just how amazing the guides actually are. You can tell that they genuinely enjoy their job. They really know about the city and locations that they are showing and, at least for every tour I’ve been on, really go above and beyond with all the interesting factoids and humor they inject into the ride. On average a tour guide in Qatar will bring home about 5,500 QAR per month (about $1,500). One thing is for sure, those tours are always amazing fun and the tour guides in Qatar definitely deserve more than whatever they are getting paid!
Tipping Bartenders In Qatar
A bartender’s salary in Qatar can range from about 2,500 QAR (about $685) to as much as 8,000 QAR (about $2,200) per month depending on the bar and area they work. More than likely if you’re visiting Qatar and plan to grab a cocktail, beer, nightcap, or tipple, you will be in one of the ritzier hotels or resorts. With that being said you can expect to pay some exorbitant prices for your beverages. A generous tip for a bartender in Qatar would be anywhere from 10% to 20% of your bill and depending on the service you received. You may find that since Qatar is a Muslim country alcohol is scarce and hard to find, so when you do find it, you’re likely to come across some amazing looking creations that the bartenders put together with a lot of thought and care. If you do, you may want to throw in a couple extra Riyals, they’ll appreciate it and it will let them know that they did a good job.
Overall tipping in Qatar is quite similar to tipping in the United States. The only difference is that in Qatar a little bit goes a long way. From my own personal experience, and being from the United States, it was definitely nice not having to tip. Tips should be given here when you have received excellent service. I have found that the people of Qatar are very proud and put a lot of effort behind whatever they do.
If you ask the locals in Qatar, however, you will likely find a different answer. Chances are you will get a much different response as to what is required for tipping. As mentioned before Qatari’s are very proud, so they put a lot of effort into their jobs. While they will graciously accept your tips, they will not expect them nor will they resent you for not leaving one. In Qatar you are able to tip at your own discretion. This style of tipping makes it a win-win for everyone since the service you receive will almost always be great and there’s no pressure to tip. I personally believe that not having an obligation to tip would lead to more tipping since you just tack on a little extra depending on the quality of service you receive.
No matter what, it’s clear to see that the workers in Qatar do their jobs very well. If there’s any question if you should tip, just do it. You never know what another person is going through, and even it it’s 2 or 3 Riyals (less than $1), it could make all the difference and really turn someone’s day around. Always keep that in mind when you’re out and about and you will be just fine in Qatar. There’s no real law or rule to tipping there, but it’s always a nice gesture, so I’d say set aside a small budget so that you can take care of those that are taking care of you. “Keep the change” is a good phrase that may come in handy during your trip, too!