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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.

Tipping in Macedonia isn’t a common practice, it’s not really part of their culture, therefore you are not expected to tip, but if you enjoy the service it’s always a nice gesture to leave a token of appreciation. The wages of staff in the service industry in Macedonia are quite low, some restaurants may add a service charge to your bill. If there is a service charge it’s normally around 10-15% and no additional amount is needed.

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

The currency of Macedonia is the Macedonian Denar (MKD/Den), the euro are not accepted. You will need to exchange your currency for the Denar, which can be done upon arrival at the airport currency exchange desks of banks and specialized stores called Foreign Exchange Bureaus. ATMs can be easily found in big cities and larger towns.

A VAT percentage is a service fee for the state used in Western Europe and American countries, you are obliged to pay the service fee. The fee will be automatically included in your bill and can range from 12-15%.

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

If you find a service charge on your bill at restaurants or bars in Macedonia then there is no need to leave anything additional. A service charge will be more common in the larger cities and popular tourist areas. It is recommended that you tip 10% of your total bill at a restaurant if you received good service, 15% is a maximum. Leaving the change or rounding up your bill in a smaller restaurant environment is also a nice gesture.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Hotel staff do not expect tips, it is not common in Macedonia. You can leave a small tip for the bellhop or maid if you feel obliged, anywhere from 10-20 MKD would be sufficient.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Tipping the taxi driver in Macedonia is not a common practice, but leaving the change or rounding up your fare is always appreciated. Always remember when travelling abroad that it is good practice to agree on a final fare before the cab driver begins driving.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tour guides in Macedonia don’t expect a tip, but it is always nice to leave them between 5-10% to show your appreciation. .


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 Macedonia 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.