Currency: Emirati dirham (dh/dhs, AED), some tourist businesses accept US dollars. Cash is preferred for tips.
Local custom: Locals do not tip but 85% of the population is from other countries and most tip for services. Wages for service workers are very low (US$300-350/month). Tips are frequently kept by the business and not given to the staff.
Curated tipping suggestions:
Airport Car Service/Transport: If provided by an airline, no tip is expected but is greatly appreciated (AED10-20 depending on how far they take you and how many bags they carried for you). If a private service or a pre-arranged taxi that you like, 10-15% of the charge is generous.
Airport Skycap/Porter: AED 5. There is a flat fee per transfer (all bags for passengers travelling together) charged by the airport that the staff does not receive a part of.
Barber: 10% or at least AED 5.
Bartender: Round up the bill or up to 10%.
Car Wash: AED 5-10.
Coffee/Tea Shop: Drop your change or up to AED 2.
Flower Delivery: AED 5-10.
Food Delivery: Round up and add AED 1-5.
Gas/Petrol Station Attendant: Optional but AED 1-10 for washing your windshield or just for standing out in the 100+ degree heat so you don’t have to. Emarat – does not allow staff to keep tips and has fired one perosn for keeping a small tip. Adnoc, Enoc, and Epco do not have a no tip policy.
Government Offices: Never – it can be considered a bribe.
Hair Salon (general): 10%.
Hotel Housekeeping/Room Attendant: AED5 per night left daily on the pillow (staff changes).
Hotel Porter/Bellhop: AED5-10.
Hotel Valet/Parking Attendant: AED 5-10 when your car is returned.
Massage Therapist: 10%.
Nail Salon: 10% of services not products.
Restaurant (general): 10% for good service, 15% for great service. Only restaurants inside hotels are allowed to add a 10% service charge to bills, it may or may not find its way to the staff as many businesses keep it for the owners or managers. Ask what the policy is at each business. You can give a cash tip directly to the staff (no guarantee that they will be allowed to keep it). Any businesses outside of hotels are not allowed to add the service charge. Tourism and government taxes (6%) are different and cannot be removed, they are not distributed to staff. Many prices have the service and tourism taxes built in but not all.
Restaurant – Bartender: Round up the bill or up to 10%.
Restaurant – Bathroom Attendant: AED 1-2.
Restaurant – Buffet: Many hotels include breakfast in the room rate, consider leaving AED 5 per person.
Supermarket Bagger: Give them your change (or AED 1) for packing and up to AED 5 for bringing them to your car.
Taxi: Round up and consider adding AED1-3 (or 5-10% for longer trips) if the driver was polite and the taxi clean.
Tour – Guide or Driver: 5-10% of the tour price per person.
Valet or Parking Attendant: AED 5-10 when your car is returned.
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