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 the wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades.

The questions `when?` and `how much?` that surround tipping can leave some travelers confused, as the practice varies. 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.

Tipping in Fiji is very uncommon and not encouraged as staff in the service environment are not used to receiving tips. Tips are certainly not expected in this country and the Fijians like to share everything, some service establishments may feature a `Staff Christmas Fund` box where tips would be a great way to show your appreciation for service, where the tips are divided up and split between the staff.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use the Fijian dollar?

The currency in Fiji is the Fijian Dollar (F$ or FJD). US dollars are widely accepted. You will need to exchange your dollars for Fiji dollars upon arrival, exchange desks can be found in the airport, hotels and the mall in Port Denarau.

Fiji has a 12.5% VAT (Value added tax) which are included on most goods and services and hotels charge an additional 5% which they are not required to include in their rates. The VAT allows tourists to claim a refund upon departure, you are only eligible for the refund if you spend a minimum of FJD$500 in any one approved retailer (ask for the refund form and your receipt). You must have the goods with you in your carry on at the airport and provide a completed refund form and receipt for the purchased items.

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

Tipping in restaurants in Fiji is very uncommon, but if you are happy with the service provided then you are more than welcome to leave a small tip such as FJD$1 - $2. Another way to tip in Fiji is to leave money in the `Staff Christmas Box Fund`, these jars are normally found at the front desk or checkout and people can leave money here that will then be distributed to all the staff at Christmas time.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Tipping in hotels is not expected and employees at hotels and resorts may be very confused if you leave money for them. The `Christmas Fund Box` is also present in hotels so feel free to leave your tips here for the entire staff to receive. A few dollars left with the bell boy or maid will not be expected as it is in the states.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Taxi drivers are not tipped in Fiji, you can always leave a few FJD$ dollars or leave the change, but they will not be expecting a tip.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tipping tour guides in Fiji is not a custom, but if you feel your guide went above and beyond you can certainly give them a tip and this would not go unappreciated. Leaving 10 - 15% would be acceptable.

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

Staff at Spa`s in Fiji do not expect tips and there are no added service charges so leaving a tip for your therapist would be a great way to show your appreciation for their services. Leaving 10 - 20% of the total service is generally more than enough.

Final Thoughts:

Remember that it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. This is also true for hotel staff, however, if you should encounter a problem with the service within the hotel, we highly recommend speaking with the manager. When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.