Tipping in Vanuatu – Is it Customary to Tip in Vanuatu?

Tipping in Vanuatu

With its palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant culture, it’s easy to see why the tropical paradise of Vanuatu is right at the top of many explorers’ must-visit list. But when it comes to tipping, what’s the etiquette in Vanuatu? At Crown Currency Exchange, we believe that travel should be as easy as possible, which is why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to tipping in Vanuatu.

What is the Tipping Culture in Vanuatu?

tipping culture in vanuatu

Tipping is not a traditional practice in Vanuatu and certainly isn’t expected, and this is because the culture is based on a strong sense of community and mutual respect. Therefore, tipping isn’t seen as necessary, especially in hospitality and other service industries where good service and generosity are extended without any expectation of monetary reward.

However, with the influence of tourism, tipping has become more common in certain tourist-centric areas, such as upscale hotels and restaurants. But outside of these establishments, tipping is not customary and may be viewed as unusual.

Why is Tipping so Uncommon in Vanuatu?

The main reason why tipping in Vanuatu is so uncommon is because the country’s culture is based around community and mutual support, which means that people are used to helping each other without expecting monetary rewards. This extends to the hospitality industry, where services are provided out of a genuine desire to assist others rather than for financial gain.

Vanuatu culture also places importance on equality and humility, and tipping can sometimes be seen as creating distinctions or hierarchy between the service provider and customer, going against these cultural values in the process.

While all of the above is true, the influence of tourism has meant that tipping is less taboo than it may have been in the past, and if you do feel as though you have received exceptional service, there are instances in which it is acceptable to leave a small tip in Vanuatu.

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

But what are these instances where you should consider leaving a tip in Vanuatu? Let’s explore these below.

Tipping Waiting Staff

While tipping in most restaurants isn’t expected, it is acceptable to leave a small tip in upscale restaurants where service standards and food quality are higher. Likewise, you can also leave a small tip in restaurants located in tourist-centric areas, as it will seem less unusual than tipping in remote areas.

What is a Fair Tip for Waiting Staff in Vanuatu?

A tip of between 5%-10% of your total bill is acceptable for waiting staff. So, should your meal come to VT 7,800 ($100 AUD), a maximum tip of VT 7.80 ($0.10) would be considered fair. While this may not seem like a lot, you need to remember that tipping culture isn’t commonplace, so even a small gesture like this would be suitable.

Tipping Tour Guides

It is also acceptable to tip your guide after a tour, especially if the tour was private or was tailored specifically for what you’d like to see or do.

What is a Fair Tip for Tour Guides in Vanuatu?

As with restaurants, a tip of between 5%-10% is the maximum about to tip a tour guide in Vanuatu. So, if you spent VT 1000 ($12 AUD) on a tour, you should tip up to VT 1 ($0.01 AUD).

Tipping Hotel Staff

Hotel staff at most Vanuatu resorts won’t expect tips, but porters and housekeeping staff will always accept a gesture of appreciation if you feel they have provided exceptional service.

What is a Fair Tip for Hotel Staff in Vanuatu?

For porters and baggage handlers, a tip of VT2-4 ($0.02-$0.05 AUD) per bag would be a suitable tip. There is no general rule for housekeeping staff, but a few Vanuatu Vatu left clearly labelled for them to collect each day would be a fair tip.

Tipping Diving Instructors

Vanuatu is well known for its beautiful islands and the diving opportunities they present, and if you have taken a guided diving tour, it is also acceptable to tip your diving instructor.

What is a Fair Tip for Diving Instructors in Vanuatu?

The standard 5%-10% rule applies here, and a diving tour that costs you VT 2000 ($25 AUD) should have a maximum tip value of VT 2 ($0.02 AUD).

Vanuatu Tipping Etiquette: How to Give a Tip?

When it comes to tipping in Vanuatu, it’s really important to remember that the concept isn’t a large part of the culture. Therefore, it’s best to act with as much discretion as possible.

Hand your tip in cash directly to the recipient in a way that doesn’t draw any attention to the fact, or if you prefer, you can leave the cash tip in a place for them to find it after you’ve left. Be sure, also, that you express your gratitude verbally with a “Tankyu tumas”, which translates as “Thank you”.

Top Tip: As you’ll need to tip in cash, make sure you have plenty on you before you head out and explore Vanuatu for the day. You can find excellent rates on AUD to VUV here.

Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in Vanuatu?

Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in Vanuatu?

While you can tip in certain situations in Vanuatu, there are some instances in which you should avoid tipping altogether. The first of these is in local eateries and markets, as tipping in these establishments is neither common nor expected, and instead, you’ll only be expected to pay the listed price.

You also don’t need to worry about tipping when purchasing goods from local vendors or if you’ve engaged in bartering. This is because prices will have been negotiated upfront, so anything extra on top of this will cause confusion.

Heading to Vanuatu? Get the Best Rates of Vanuatu Vatu at Crown Currency

Before you set off to the dream location of Vanuatu, make sure you have plenty of Vanuatu currency on you, not only for tipping but so you’re able to explore this island nation in all its glory. Visit Crown Currency Exchange, where you’ll find excellent rates on AUD to VUV with zero commission fees or hidden costs. Find your nearest Crown Currency Exchange store here and speak to our expert team today!

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