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HOW TO TIP IN SLOVENIA

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. Tipping is not common in Slovenia. However, establishments in larger cities and tourist destinations can slightly differ, mainly because of the influx of visitors from countries where tipping is encouraged.

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 Euros?

The currency of Slovenia, like many European Union nations, is the Euro (symbolized as €). One Euro is broken up into 100 cents. Other currencies are not accepted anywhere in the country. Credit and debit cards are widely used in Slovenia and you will find most businesses accept them. U.S. dollars and travelers checks can be exchanged for Euros at banks and bureaux de change in Ljubljana, all other major cities, and most towns. Bank and currency bureau hours are usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with an hour break for lunch typically taken at noon or 1 p.m. ATMs are widely available in Slovenia; many of them do not charge fees themselves, but note that your home banking institution may charge a fee for withdrawing money abroad.

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

A value-added tax (VAT) of 22% is added to most purchases in Slovenia. For restaurants, cafes and bars, that figure is revised downward to 9.5%. This tax will already be included in your bill.

Waiters, waitresses and bartenders are paid well in Slovenia; on average they earn above the minimum wage, at approximately €6.5 an hour ($7.75). Slovenes themselves typically do not tip in restaurants, although in Ljubljana and other major tourist areas, it is customary to leave about 10% if you felt the service was good. (If you feel your service was absolutely exquisite, tip 15%; this may not sound like a lot but it will speak volumes -- in a good way -- with your waiter.) Keep in mind that if you leave a good tip, you will be greeted with more enthusiastic and swift service should you return to the same restaurant later on.

As far as bars are concerned, rounding up is considered proper. For example, if your total is €8, round up to €10; if it`s €13, round up to €15, etc. That small token is considered appropriate.

Note: A few higher-end restaurants in Ljubljana, Maribor, Bled and other tourist areas may charge a `table fee` which is basically a fee collected by the restaurant for the privilege of dining in that specific establishment. This fee can range from €1 to €3.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Hotel workers are not expecting tips from guests, but they do receive them from time to time. Room service includes gratuity in many hotels. Tip your housekeeper approximately €2 per day, and tip your bellhop or porter €1 for each bag of luggage he or she handles. (€2 for more unwieldy or heavy bags.)

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Unlike in many other countries, such as the U.S., taxi drivers in Slovenia do not expect tips. If you want to leave one for good service, leave an extra €1 or €2 at the most. Also tip an extra €2 if he or she helps with your bags.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Slovenian tour guides are not accustomed to receiving tips but they will accept them if they are presented to them. Keep monetary amounts small, as in €10 or under. Gifts are also accepted but keep in mind that Slovenes can buy most of the same products as Americans, so make sure the gift is unique.

Miscellaneous: Is there anyone I should tip that I would not normally?

Other Services: When receiving and enjoying a service (spa, etc.), round up to the closest €5 if unsure. When in doubt, you will find most services, spa or otherwise, do not require tipping.

Final Thoughts:

Slovenia is a beautiful country to visit and many service professions not only do not require tips, many do not expect them. If you leave a tip, rest assured that you will leave a positive impression, and if you choose to patronize said business on another occasion during your trip, you will find out just how friendly and hospitable the Slovenes can truly be.

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