The Ultimate Tipping Guide for Istanbul

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Some general pointers:

 

- Cash is king! 

Try to carry cash on you as much as possible. Not only do most establishments (even larger ones), charge a fee of 5-15% of your purchase for paying with credit card, but it will come in handy when bargaining (for example at the Grand Bazaar). 

 

 

- The smaller the bills, the better!

Businesses of all kinds (from taxis to restaurants) are notorious for not having change on them. In fact, paying with anything larger than a 50TL will often lead to looks of frustration and exasperation. Even worse, you’ll waste time while the vendor tries to find change by asking those around him.

 

 

- When you must pay with credit card…

Remember that there is also no way to add tip to the bill when paying by credit card, so always have at least some change on you.

Also important to note, unfortunately American Express is not accepted in a majority of places.

 

 

- When in doubt, tip 10% 

10% is customary and will be appropriate for most places and situations.

While it’s customary to tip up to 20% in the US and many Western countries, it’s simply not expected or commonplace in Turkey. While you may be tempted to tip more, I always say “behave like a local if you want to be treated like a local”. ☺ 

 

 

 

 

Bars, cafes and restaurants

10% of the total bill. Truly excellent meal/service- Tip 15% of the total bill. 

 

Taxi driver

Not need to tip. Just round up the fare to the next whole number. (So if its 5.70, round it up to 6TL). And again, make sure to have cash on you, as you cannot pay with credit cards in taxis yet.

 

Airport porter

5TL for each bag 

 

Manicure /Pedicure (and any other salon procedure): 

15-20%, depending on the service quality. Just a reminder again to have cash on you, as many salons don’t accept credit cards and/or will add a significant charge for paying with credit card. 

 

Turkish Hamam

10-20% of the total service bill, depending on the service quality.

 

Belly Dancer

It’s customary, especially for men, to give between 5-50TL.

 

Tour Guide

Depending on your overall experience, up to 20TL a day.  

 

Gas station

Almost all gas stations in Turkey are full-service and tips are not customary. 

 

Parking attendant/valet

For parking lots with attendants, no tip is needed. 

For full-service valet, up to 20TL.

 

Home Delivery (often referred to as Yemek Sepeti, aka Seamless Web)

5-10% of the total bill. 

 

Handyman (electrician, plumbers, etc.) 

No need to tip. 

 

Holiday Tipping

Although it’s not as strictly followed as in the US, Turkish people customarily give service providers holiday tips at the beginning of the 2 main religious holidays and at New Year’s Eve. 

 

 

Holiday Tip for Housecleaner/Cleaner

Approximately 2 earnings

 

Holiday Tip for the Doorman

Between 50-100 TL

 

Holiday Tip for the Handyman

Between 50-100 TL

 

Holiday Tip for the Hair Salon

Cost of your regular service, or between 20-100 TL


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Hayal Koç •Istanbul, Turkey

Hayal Koç is Partner & VP of Business Development at Expertera, Turkey's first and only expertise resources company. She is also a globetrotter, photographer, sports fanatic and modern art enthusiast. Although Hayal travels frequently, she feels lucky to call NYC, SF and Istanbul each her "home".

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