Tips, 20 dinars

This post is also available in: Spanish

One thing you tend to look for information about before travelling is tips. There are a variety of tipping practices, from countries where tipping is compulsory and is included in the bill, to those places where it is not expected and could even be considered offensive. However, as a rule of thumb, in many regions it is a customary to leave between ten to fifteen percent of the total bill as a tip or leave your spare change for waiters, taxi drivers, hotel porters or tour guides. Although travellers do a little research before arriving at their destination, are often unforeseen circumstances.

On our trip through Jordan we did what was expected regarding tips; and, what is more, grateful for the service and hospitality of Jordanians, we left generous tips everywhere. Nevertheless, there was a situation in which I am not sure we did the right thing.

Ghassab was the wonderful tour guide who showed us all the treasures hidden in Petra. Off the beaten track, we walked through narrow passageways flanked by beautifully coloured rocks, climbed up to high points from where we could admire Nabataean constructions. On top of that, we could mingle with locals while he talked to them. A three-day experience that, although priceless, had been set at an agreed price.

Ghassab was more than just a tour guide. He even went so far as to invite us to a traditional dinner in his cave, on the outskirts of Petra, on the last night. The food was amazing, including my vegetarian menu; in a spectacular setting, under the stars, outside a natural cave used as a house and engulfed in silence broken only by our animated conversation. However, we hadn’t talked about the price of this activity; so, at the time of payment, we rounded up the total amount and gave him 20 dinar on top of that for the dinner.

After that, I thought about whether the quantity had been enough for him or if, on the contrary, he had considered us cheapskates. In my opinion, tipping is a complicated issue, how do you get it right? And you, dear readers, do you have any anecdotes related to tipping?

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