I’m not a big fan of the whole tipping concept. I would have very much preferred if everyone was paid decently and I knew exactly how much I was being charged from the menu. I just think it’s unfair for everyone. I know restaurants and cafes are now trying to share tips among everyone working, but they are only one of the many places where tipping is common and the same thing is not practiced elsewhere.
Here in Iran tipping is not that big of a deal. There’s only a few occasions where you are absolutely expected to tip, but other than that it’s not a whole disgrace if you leave without leaving the extra cash.
Bare in mind that like in most countries, you as a tourist are seen as a better tipping target. If an average Iranian pays a certain amount, most people will probably like to expect that you will be paying a little more. I personally don’t think you’re required to pay more just because you’ve got Dollars or Euros in your pocket, but I’ve tried to write this post generously so that no one will roll those eyes at you if you tip based on my recommendations. 😉
Now let’s dig in a little deeper:
Porter: to anyone offering to carry your bags you should pay around 2,000 Tomans per bag or from 5000 T per trolley.
Bellhop: Again 2000 T per bag would do, but you could go higher depending on the hotel you’re staying at.
Hotel concierge: I’ve never seen anyone tip the receptionist in Iran, but perhaps if they are going out of their way to help you with a certain thing it wouldn’t hurt to tip. I honestly don’t know if they will even appreciate it as I’ve found some Iranian to have a sense of pride when it comes to accepting money. So if you decide to tip, something around 10,000 T should be reasonable. You can’t really go much less for a receptionist.
Room service waiters: If you’re getting room service, then tipping the waiter is a must. Anything around 5,000 T should be fine.
Hotel Maid: If you happen to encounter the hotel maid bringing you clean towels or cleaning your room then tipping would be the right thing to do. If you’re not getting any service and you just happen to pass them in the corridor, then tipping is not required.
Door man: The door man at your hotel or restaurant is basically there to be tipped. If you’re staying at the hotel for a few nights, then tipping the door man upon your departure with something around 10,000 T would be fine. If you’re staying only a night, then you can tip less. 5,000 T for the door man at the restaurant should be ok.
Tour guide: If you’re traveling with a tour then your tour guide takes care of all the tips, but you’re normally expected to tip him/her at the end of your trip. From what I’ve heard 20-30 € per person is common if you’re only getting the service for one day. If you’re traveling with a group for a week or more, 5€ or dollars per day should be ok. I know people who pay way more than that, so it really depends on how happy you have been with the service.
Driver: You should consider a little less than what you’re paying your tour guide to tip your driver. If you’re tipping your guide 5€ per day, then you could go for 3€ for the driver. 😉
Valet or parking guy: In Iran it’s very common to see a random guy in some random street helping people find a parking spot they don’t need. This is probably one of the only cases when the guy will actually come to you and ask for a tip if he sees you wondering off. He will probably even ask for more if your tip doesn’t meet his standards. Depending on how hard it was to find a parking spot on your own, you could tip from 2000-5000 T.
You’d want to pay the valet nothing less then then 5000 T for parking your car. 😉
Restaurant waiter/waitress: Tipping the waiter at the restaurant is not common in Iran. Some cafes have a small tipping box at the cashier where you can leave your tip, but it’s totally optional. You’re not required to pay anything more than the bill, specially if the bill has a fee for service included.
Can I tip in any other currency?
Since it’s difficult to change a small amount of money, then no. You’re required to tip in Tomans only.
I personally think that people shouldn’t be pressured into tipping no matter what. Keep in mind that your tip shows your appreciation for the service you’re getting. So if you’re not happy, yet you’re tipping, then you’re just sending the wrong signal and not really helping the business to improve its quality.
Unfortunately, customer service in Iran is still a new thing. There are hardly any policies supporting clients and if there is, it’s not observed strictly. Many Iranians are still intimidated to object for bad service and in many cases they are treated poorly if they do. But things will not be changing if we don’t change our attitude. Rights are never freely given until you ask for them. So as foreign tourists, please don’t feel shy to express your opinion whether it’s positive or negative.