Moroccan Money & Tipping
Tipping in Morocco can be a bit of a cultural minefield for visitors. It is customary to tip in Morocco, but the amount and situations in which to tip can vary depending on the context. For example, in restaurants, it is expected to leave a small amount of change as a tip, but in more upmarket restaurants, a tip of around 10% of the total bill may be appropriate.
When it comes to hotel staff, tipping is often expected, particularly for porters who may carry your luggage. Similarly, if you are on a guided tour, it is customary to tip the guide and any drivers at the end of the trip. In markets and souks, tipping is not expected, but if you receive help or guidance from a shopkeeper or stallholder, a small tip may be appropriate.
It is worth noting that in some situations, particularly when dealing with government officials or police, offering a tip can be seen as a bribe and is illegal. Visitors should also be aware of the possibility of being overcharged or ripped off, particularly when haggling for goods in markets or souks.
Morocco's currency is the dirham, which is available in both coins and bills. The most commonly used coin is the 1 dirham coin, but there is also a 20 centime coin that is equivalent to 20 cents on a dirham, as well as a 1/2 dirham coin. For small purchases, coins and bills under 100 dirham are typically used, but obtaining change can be challenging, so it is advisable to have small notes and coins available. Avoid paying a 5 dirham bill with a 100 dirham note. The highest denomination is the 200 dirham note, which may be insufficient for large purchases. Although more businesses accept card payments, it is uncommon for tips to be added to receipts or charged to the card, so it's best to have cash on hand.
Should i tip in Morocco?
It is important to note that it is not customary to tip in all situations in Morocco. In restaurants, a tip of 10% is appropriate for good service, but it is not mandatory. In smaller cafes and street food vendors, rounding up the bill is common practice. For taxi rides, it is acceptable to round up to the nearest dirham or add a small tip if the driver has been particularly helpful. When it comes to tipping in other situations, such as in hotels or for tour guides, it is best to ask locals or do some research beforehand to understand what is customary. It is important to note that while tipping is appreciated, it should not be expected or demanded.
Who should you tip?
While it is not necessary to tip everyone in Morocco, it is expected to tip those who provide good service. This includes waiters, hotel or riad staff, porters, guides, and drivers. Other situations may arise during a longer stay where tipping would be appropriate. The key factor in deciding whether to tip is the level of service provided by the person.
Can I pay with my currency?
In general, it's recommended to use the local currency, the dirham, for transactions in Morocco. However, for large purchases such as a Moroccan rug, vendors may accept other currencies. For smaller purchases, it's important to have dirham on hand.
Where can I get dirham?
You can get dirham at a currency exchange office or bank in Morocco, as well as at ATMs. You may also be able to order dirham in advance from your bank or a currency exchange provider in your home country. However, it's generally not recommended to exchange large amounts of money before your trip, as you may not get the best exchange rate. It's often better to exchange a small amount of money (enough to get you through the first day or two) and then withdraw money from ATMs as needed during your trip. Be sure to notify your bank before traveling to ensure that your card will work in Morocco and to avoid any issues with fraud prevention measures.
Are there many ATM's?
It is true that there are many ATMs available in Morocco, particularly in urban areas. However, it is still advisable to plan ahead and have enough cash on hand, especially if you plan to visit more remote areas where ATM availability may be limited or unreliable. It is also important to note that some ATMs may run out of cash on weekends or during holidays, so it's best to be prepared.
Can I pay with the Credit Card?
While credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in Morocco, especially in larger cities, it is important to note that the majority of the economy still runs on cash. It is recommended to have enough cash on hand for big purchases, such as rugs or jewelry, as many shops may not accept credit cards or may charge an additional fee for using them. In places like hotels, restaurants, and higher-end shops, using credit cards is generally not a problem. However, be aware that if a seller knows that using a credit card is your only option, you may end up being charged more due to the service fee charged by the credit company being passed on to the consumer.
How Can get to my Hotel?
It is recommended to pre-arrange transportation for your initial day in Morocco, especially when traveling from the airport to your accommodation. The process of finding transportation can be overwhelming and stressful. Several riads and hotels provide transfer services, which may either be included in the accommodation fee or have an additional charge. Even if the transfer service appears costly, it is advisable to book it to avoid inconvenience and discomfort upon arrival, rather than negotiating with a taxi driver.
Morocco has a culture of bargaining and cash transactions. When making purchases, it's important to be prepared for bargaining. The initial price offered should be reduced by two-thirds, and negotiations should continue until a mutually agreeable price is reached. It's important not to appear too interested in an item and to treat the process as a game. If you're not interested in an item, don't start bargaining for it, and if you are interested but not willing to pay the final price, it's best to walk away. Often, the seller will follow you and agree to your price, but if not, you can likely find the item elsewhere.