General Tips when tavelling to Tunisia
General Tips when tavelling to Tunisia Reviews
How, what and why in Tunisia Oct 02, 2008
Tunisia is great country with warm climate and even warmer and more welcoming people. But...they do some things different there.
Haggling is the way of life. If you want to buy something you will have to haggle - price drops even for 80% sometimes. Don't let them sell you stuff you don't want to buy. If you don't want something the firm "No" will usually suffice. If not, just turn and walk away. Some people don't have haggling skills and they tend to highly overpay their purchase. If you see that you are no good at haggling then find fix price shop. They are everywhere. Visit to fix price shop is actually always good idea before going into medina. You can see what are the prices for different types of goods and you know when you are paying too much.
Leather, spices, desert roses, handmade rugs, tunisian clothes, pots, dates and other sweets make best souvenirs.
Be careful when buying stuff or you may end up with souvenir with "Made in China" written on it.
When haggling never show how much money you have on you. Our strategy was "We are going home tomorrow and only have ____TD left :)". Remember..if the price is not too low they will eventually sell :).
Never let anybody touch your wallet on the street...we got riped off that way. They usually work in pairs and are selling something (in our case headscarfs) and while I was reaching in the wallet one of them "helped me find change" and around 20 TD mysteriously disappeared :S. Oh...don't keep all your money in one place when you go out and only take what you intend to spend. Everything else keep in hotels safe.
The other scam they like to pull on you is "do you remember me...I was your _____(waiter, receptionist,...) yesterday". That way they get you to trust them and go willingly in the "best shops in town". So how they know where you're from? Usually they work in pairs. One learns things about you and calls a friend :), or maybe you're wearing your hotels "all inclusive bracelet". Don't fall for it. Nothing will happen to you, so there is no reason to be scared but you can end up in one of their "uncles" shop buying some expensive stuff.
Taxies: Geting around in Tunisia is very easy. There are taxies everywhere and they are very cheap. For the drive from Kantaoui to Sousse (I think they said it's cca 15 km) we paid around 7 TD (around 3,5 euros). We were told to watch out in taxies because drivers will rip you off if they see that you have no idea how much you're suppose to pay (it's smart to check with the locals how much the ride should cost you). Second thing you should ask when you sit in taxi is if the price is per ride or per person.
Best way is to make them turn taximeter on. Check taximeter before starting the ride...it should be set on around 0,4 TD (make sure that they don't leave on the price from previous ride).
Second way of getting around is in shared taxies (louages) - they are usually big cars or minibuses and they take in 10 people. Plus is that you pay only 10% of what you would pay for a taxi, the negative side of it is that you have to wait until the louage is full (which can take up to an hour or more) except if you volunteer to pay for the missing passengers. This is a good option if you're traveling greater distances because it's a real money saver :).
Oh..and always take yellow taxies, not private cars.
Calling home: If you want to call home do that from the public phone. They are everywhere and there are a few in hotel you're staying. It's cheaper than calling from mobile phones and you will not get heart attack when your mobile phone bill arrives. One minute of talking was roughly around 1 TD (0,50 eur) and it's the same rate for fix phone or mobile.
Tips: Tipping is important in Tunisia. You are not exactly obliged to leave tip, but it is expected. Wages are quite low because it's expected that tips will provide the difference. I don't know what tips are customary but we left around 2-3 TD every day for a maid and from time to time tipped waiter in bar with 1-2 TD (not for very drink he brought us - we were paying all inclusive after all - but from time to time).
If you are going to hotel in Tunisia it's smart to take all inclusive packet. You will pay for your food more if you will buy it yourself. We were gone from hotel for four days and it was still worth it. All inclusive usually costs around 80-100 euros per week. You must remember that all drinks are included in the price too.
As I said before. Tunisians are really nice and kind. Haggling is the way of life and it's annoying for some people. Scams are kind of national sport so watch your things. When leaving hotel take only things you need with you. Everything else is safer in hotel safe.
Have a nice stay in Tunisia, don't get to irritated :)...and don't forget to go to safari while you're there.
Hope this help someone.
Part of the Tunisia 2008 - travel blog
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