When you’re travelling, it can be difficult to know how to proceed when it comes to tipping. In some countries and situations, tipping is expected. In others, it might even be considered rude. Also, even if tipping is appropriate, you could end up tipping far too little or far too much if you’re not familiar with local customs.
Here we’ve provided a basic overview of tipping standards in different parts of the world.
Tipping in Europe
Tipping isn’t always expected in Europe, although it’s common to leave a tip of anywhere between 5 and 15% to express appreciation for good service. It’s appropriate to leave a bartender a tip of up to 10%, although in many cases bar patrons simply leave their loose change as a tip. If you attend a theatrical performance in France, you may be surprised that it’s customary to tip the usher a euro for every person in your party they help to seat, so don’t be caught off-guard by this one. In Scandinavian countries, tipping isn’t encouraged at all.
Tipping in Australia and New Zealand
It’s not customary to tip at all in Australia or New Zealand, in either restaurants or bars. However, you could consider leaving a tip of between 5 and 10% if you’ve received outstanding service and want to express your appreciation.
Tipping in Canada and the United States
In Canada and the United States, it’s expected that you’ll tip waiters fairly generously. The standard is about 10 to 15% of your bill for lunch and from 15 to 20% for dinner, depending on the quality of the service you receive. Bartenders will also expect to be tipped. The norm is 15 to 20% of your total tab, or a dollar or two per drink.
Tipping in the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Caribbean
It’s standard to leave tips in the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Caribbean, although first check whether a service fee has already been added to your bill and adjust accordingly. In general, it’s appropriate to leave a tip of between 10 and 15% of your total bill.
Tipping in South America
Across South America, a tip of 10% is typically considered appropriate for service in restaurants or at bars. In Brazil, it’s more common than in other South American countries for bills to include fixed service gratuities – so check your bill first.
Tipping in Africa
In most parts of Africa, people like waiters and porters rely on tips to make a living wage. If you’re going to visit more remote parts of Africa, be sure to have plenty of small bills with you because you may find it difficult to break a large bill for the purpose of tipping. When eating out, the expected tip for your server is about 10% to 15%. A pound or two is usually sufficient for porters, housekeeping staff at hotels and hotel drivers. For a personal driver who will be working for you most of the day, a tip equivalent to five pounds is the usual going rate. It’s best not to tip children in Africa. Also note that it’s often inappropriate to tip service people in your own currency or in US dollars, because they may struggle to have this exchanged into local currency.
Tipping in the Middle East
Tipping practices vary from one Middle Eastern country to another, but generally tips are appreciated. In countries like Dubai, Egypt, Israel and Jordan, service charges are often automatically added to hotel and restaurant bills – although you may still choose to add small, additional tips for those who’ve gone out of their way to provide good service. In other cases, a tip of 10 to 15% of your bill is usually appropriate.
Tipping in Asia
Tipping isn’t automatically expected in countries such as China and Japan, or in much of southeast Asia, although small tips will always be appreciated. In the Indian subcontinent, however, tipping – or baksheesh – is expected for almost all forms of personal service. You may also find that a 10% service gratuity is added to restaurant bills. It’s not considered necessary to tip bartenders, although some customers leave their small change on the bar.
Tipping etiquette varies greatly from one country to another and sometimes even from one region of a country to another. So before you set out on your next trip, take a moment to find out what is and isn’t appropriate, so that you’re well prepared.