In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. In Qatar tipping is not as habitual, and it is not always expected.

This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use the Qatari riyal (QR)?

The currency of Qatar is the Qatari riyal (QR). Have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for riyals upon arrival. Currency exchange desks are available at the airport, most high-end hotels and resorts, and many other places around the country.

One riyal is divided into 100 dirhams. Coins are worth one, five, 10, 25 or 50 dirhams, and notes come in denominations of one, five, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyals.

All major credit and debit cards are accepted in large shops. Visa (Plus and Electron), MasterCard and Cirrus are accepted at ATMs of HSBC, the Qatar National Bank and the Commercial Bank of Qatar.

Restaurants and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

A service charge of 10-15% is usually added to top-end restaurant bills. However, the people providing the service usually do not receive it. Therefore, it's appreciated to tip about 10-15% in restaurants. If no tip is included, 10% is appreciated, but it is suggested to be discreet, as some establishments have begun to reduce wages in anticipation of tips.

Tips are not expected in bars. Tipping in Bars in Qatar is probably an area that has the greatest discrepancies. Tips are not expected but welcomed. A tip of 10 QAR is acceptable however, use your discretion based on the service.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Tipping in a hotel in Qatar follows almost the same rule as the rest of the world. A tip of about 10-20 Riyals ($2-$3) for doormen and leave an equivalent of $2 per day for housekeepers too.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

In Qatar, tipping a taxi driver is recommended; a minimum of 5-10 Riyals tip is highly appreciated. There are 2 kinds of taxi service that is the normal taxi and the airport taxi. Limousine services are also available for a higher rate.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Usually tour guides in Qatar are tipped about $5 per day (about 18 -20 Riyals). You could also tip the driver a few dollars if you are happy with their service. Be sure to communicate and discuss all relevant information with your tour guide before actually meeting them.

Final Thoughts:

The truth is there isn’t a particular tipping etiquette in Qatar as there is in the USA for example. Partly for the reason that Qatar has such a big expat community and the expats from different countries tend to still have a tipping etiquette as they do back home. As with anywhere, if you get exceptional service you can always tip more while I leave less if we have had particularly bad service.