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In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette that is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. The question `when?` or `how much?` 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.

A tip in Ghana is referred to as a “dash”, tipping is not always expected in Ghana, but it is considered an act of goodwill, as the service workers in the country don’t get paid that much. The amount you decide to tip in restaurants, hotels, and taxis should be a reflection of the services you received. Tips are not expected in restaurants in Ghana, except at upscale, full-service restaurants frequented by foreigners, in which case 5-10% is acceptable. A few “dash” will go a long way if you received attentive service.

Bargaining and bartering are big in Ghana, especially at markets in small villages, you can bring items from home to trade. Initially, a seller will offer the item at 30-50% more than what they expect for the item. You can counteroffer should be ridiculously low, about 50% less than what you are willing to pay.

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

The currency of Ghana is the Ghanaian cedi (GHS), and the smaller pesewa the US dollar is not accepted. You will need to exchange your currency for Ghanaian cedi, which can be done upon arrival at the airport currency exchange desks or banks and specialized stores called Foreign Exchange Bureaus. ATMs can be found in Accra, tipping is discretionary and appreciated, and cash is usually preferred.

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

Tipping in restaurants and bars in Ghana is not too common, especially in smaller eating establishments such as chop bars, and street food vendors. Upscale restaurants are more common places to tip and anywhere between 5-10% should be good. Leaving some change at small restaurants is considered generous. In some restaurants a 10% service charge is sometimes added to the bill, be sure to look for any additional charges and keep in mind this amount never makes it to the wait staff, so tipping a few Cedi is massively appreciated.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

At hotels in Ghana, it is usually common to tip hotel porters, or bellboys a few Cedi’s or two. It is customary to leave a tip for the maid who cleans your room, a few cedis per day is a good amount.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Taxi drivers usually receive 5-10% of the fare, especially if they were helpful and efficient, rounding up the change or leaving a few Cedi is generally appreciated.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tipping guides in Ghana are usually common and a significant part of income for service employees, tips are performance-based and should be provided in exchange for excellent service. A 10% tip for guides and drivers is around $10-$20 a day, so like $3 per person for groups. These tips should be given to each person individually, for example to your driver, and to your guide. Miscellaneous: other services

If visiting a spa or hair salon in Ghana, you should tip up to 10% of the bill if you received great service. You can always tip more if you feel as if the service deserved it.

Final Thoughts:

Remember that it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. Unlike in the U.S., waiters are paid a living wage, and the expectations for tipping are lower in Ghana than in America. This is also true for hotel staff, though if you 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.