This article is a travel topic
Tipping varies extensively among cultures. Though by definition a tip is never legally required, and its amount is at the discretion of the one being served, for travellers it can cause some serious dilemmas. In some circumstances failing to give an adequate tip when one is expected to is a serious faux pas, and may be considered very miserly, a violation of etiquette, or unethical. In some other cultures or situations, giving a tip is not expected and offering one would be considered at best odd and at worst condescending or demeaning. In some cultures it might be seen as a bribe, and in some circumstances (for example tipping government workers), tipping can even be illegal.
In most countries service personnel get paid enough to live on, and they do not have to rely on tips. While intentions are clearly good, (mostly North American) tourists are sometimes not aware of this, (or they know, but they just feel bad not tipping), and they export their generous behaviour to other countries where tipping is traditionally not customary, especially to tourist areas. Of course, this is quickly accepted (how would you react if someone gave you extra money) and creates expectations that were not there before.
If you are tipping in a foreign country, ask yourself what that amount means for the one you are giving it to, not how much (or how little) it is for you. In some countries people occasionally get tipped a month's salary. While this definitely is cool for them, it can cause serious trouble. Think a waiter earning more than the chief of police...
Another problem is that, while tipping was originally intended to improve service, some employees use it to underpay workers with the expectation that tips will make up the difference. Good examples for this can be found in Namibia, even at government-owned facilities.
In countries where tipping is expected (the US for example, where service personnel depend on it), complicated unofficial standards and customs have developed over the exact percentage to tip, and what should and should not be included in this calculation. In other countries and cultures the topic is way more relaxed. It is not easy for the traveller to know what to expect when they go to a foreign country. The idea of this article is to have some basic idea of the customs in other countries before you go there and embarrass yourself:
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
São Tomé and Príncipe
In Ethiopia tipping is common in hotels, restaurants and bars. One is also expected to tip parking lot attendants whether officially hired by institutions or self assigned. In some restaurants it is customary to tip any dancers, and this is usually done by sticking the paper money bill on the forehead of the dancer.
Tipping is not always expected but is appreciated. If you do decide to tip, you don't have to peg it to a percentage of the bill. A tip of between 100 - 200 shillings is acceptable.
Tipping in Egypt can be tricky. Most public bathrooms are staffed, and visitors are expected to tip the attendant. Some restroom attendants, especially at tourist sites, will dole out toilet paper based on the tip they receive. Foreigners may be especially susceptible to this, and although some locals ask or demand tips, they are often not warranted.
There is no rule for what is considered tip-worthy, so one must be ready to hand out an Egyptian pound or two just in case, to use the bathroom, for instance. For services such as tour guides or translators, a tip of 20% or more is generally expected. Taxi drivers provide service based upon agreed prices rather than the more objective meter system used in some other countries, so tipping is not expected when using a taxi service, though tips are certainly accepted if offered. Tips are expected at restaurants, and can range from a few pounds to 15%.
In South Africa, the customary tip at restaurants is 10 percent, although some restaurants charge a mandatory service fee for large parties. A small amount is occasionally given to petrol station attendants for additional services, such as cleaning one's windscreen. Toilet cleaners at service stations along major road routes are sometimes tipped when they provide good service and keep the facilities clean. "Car guards", who claim to "look after" one's parked car are often given a small tip if they are in uniform and authorized; however those without uniforms are usually regarded as a nuisance, and tipping them is not compulsory, despite the fact that they often harass motorists looking for payment.
The 10% tipping rule also applies when taking a taxi. As most cabs work with cash only, it's better to ask how much you'll be expected to pay for your journey before getting in. This will ensure that you always have enough to give the driver as a tip.
Lastly, when checking into your hotel, it is customary to tip your porter as well. The generally accepted rule is to give them R5 (roughly £0.46) per bag they handle.
In China, traditionally there is no tipping (except Hong Kong and Macau, both former European colonies). However, hotels that routinely serve foreign tourists may allow tipping. An example would be tour guides and associated drivers.
Tipping in Hong Kong is customary in a few situations but can create legal issues due to some Hong Kong specific ordinances prohibiting tipping for certain services such as public utilities. Waiters, who have already received a compulsory 10% service charge, may occasionally be given an additional gratuity, though it is socially acceptable not to tip on top of the service charge, and locals usually do not tip unless the serivce was exemplary.
In Japan, tipping is not a part of the culture. Japanese people are uncomfortable with being tipped and are likely to be confused, amused or possibly even offended if tipped.
Waiters, taxis and hotel attendants do not expect to be tipped for their services. However, many Westernised hotels and restaurants may add a gratuity to your bill
While tipping is not necessary, occasionally the hotel or inn will leave a small gratuity envelope for you to tip the maids
Never leave a cash tip on a table or hotel bed because the Japanese consider it impolite if it is not concealed in an envelope. The same rule applies when tipping an interpreter or tour guide
Generally speaking, tipping customs in Macau are more or less the same as that of Hong Kong.
Tipping in Singapore is forbidden in most restaurants. Sometimes, signs warn against tipping.
Tipping is not the custom in South Korea and can be considered an insult. While dining at restaurants, customers may sometimes receive gratuity from the owner or server in the form of complimentary food or drinks as a sign of generosity or to reward customer loyalty. Colloquially, this is known as "service" and even then, tipping is not recommended. Many hotels and a few tourist restaurants add 10% service charge on their bills.
In Taiwan tipping is rare except when a customer uses a porter at an airport, which is usually 50 new Taiwan dollars per luggage, or wants to show appreciation for exceptional service. Some restaurants and hotels already add 10% service charges. The service charge is generally applied at restaurants where the waiter is expected by the employer to pay a great deal of attention to the customer, or if the meal requires assistance from the wait staff (as in some barbecue restaurants).
In Israel, tipping in restaurants and bars is expected. Some add the service charge to the bill, in which case no further tipping is needed. Just ask if "service is allready included" if the bill is in hebrew. In some Nargila (Shisha/hooka) bars there are also "security charges" that are not compulsory, but are added onto the bill, you then choose to pay it or not. This covers the cost of hiring an armed guard at the bar in the remote chance of attack. Israelis very rarely pay this, however tourists often do not realise it is not compulsory.
Tips are generally modest in Turkey (a few percent max), but Americans tend to do over-tip as they do anywhere, which is leading to higher expectations in touristy places.
In Turkey, it is advised to tip in Turkish liras. If you absolutely can not tip in liras, foreign currency is fine as long as it is paper money and not coins. Foreign coins are difficult to exchange.
In inexpensive eateries, tipping is not mandatory, but locals usually do leave a few coins. Do so as well. If you are patronizing a higher-scale establishment, it fits tipping customs in Turkey to tip around 10-15%., this is expected at such places.
If you are fortunate enough to try out a Turkish bath, it is customary to tip 15% of the total and split it up among all of the attendants. This is an important thing to keep in mind when tipping in Turkey, and will ensure your experience goes smoothly and is enjoyable.
United Arab Emirates
In India there has traditionally been little or no tipping. Tips in India are never a percentage of the total value and many traditional restaurants in India do not expect a tip. Some restaurants have also have started placing jars at the cashier for people to drop in some change if they feel so, but this is a rather rare phenomenon. Most clubs in India have a complete ban on its members from tipping. Usually no service industry except the food services industry expects a tip. In India, it is unlawful for taxi or rickshaw drivers to charge anything above the meter.
Tipping is not customarily done in Malaysia. Service charge of 10% is included in total bill in most air conditioned restaurants. You'll often hear prices quoted as "plus plus". This is the price plus tax and service charge.
Tipping is not required in the Philippines, except when the customer wants to show appreciation for services rendered. However, tipping is becoming more common especially in service-oriented places (spa, salon). In some restaurants and hotels, "Service Charge" (8%-12%) is included in the bill when issued; thus customer has the option to give an dditional tip or not. In taxis, it is common to add 20-50 pesos on top of the fare.
Tipping is not required in Singapore; however, it is common for restaurants to levy a 10% service charge before GST, the local goods and services tax. In most restaurants the employees never actually receive this service charge.
Tipping is actually prohibited at the airport and discouraged at hotels and restaurants where a 10% service charge is included in the bill.
Tipping is also not the norm in taxis, as congestion or Electronic Road Pricing charges are often already included in the final fare. All taxis must advertise a hotline to call if the customer feels dissatisfied.
Tipping is not common in Thailand and the Thais themselves don't do it. Thais do round up (or down) the taxi fare to get it to an amount that is easier to pay for (such as from 59 or 61 to 60 baht). Sometimes they also leave the change in restaurants, but even this is a rare occurrence.
You don't have to feel odd if you don't tip at all, as that's what the locals do. But the many foreign visitors attending Thailand have changed some practices. Tipping is starting to become more common in high-end hotels and restaurants, and even lower-end restaurants frequently attended by foreigners. Don't go overboard when tipping — never give more than 50 baht. In some tourist places, especially along Khao San Road, there are even restaurants hinting for a tip. This is not common (and even rude) in Thai culture, so you can easily ignore it.
Do not tip when a customer service charge is applied, as this is supposed to be the tip, applied only in luxury restaurants and hotels.
Tipping in Vietnam is illegal.
In Europe, tipping practices vary from region to region, although, in general, tipping is not considered obligatory. In European countries it is a legal requirement to quote prices including all taxes. The expectation when a price is advertised, is to pay that amount and no more. Restaurants post a menu outside including prices. If a service charge is to be added, this is usually indicated on the menu. If an establishment attempts to charge more than was shown on a menu, for example by adding a service charge not clearly posted, or by adding a tip by default, this is seen as an attempt to overcharge the customer.
In Austria, tipping small amounts is fairly common. Rounding to a multiple of a Euro is common, and for low sums the amount paid is often a multiple of 50 cents (i.e. a bill of 7.80 can be paid as 8 or 8.50, a restaurant bill of 47.00 could be paid as 50.00 etc.)
Tipping is not practiced when the goods are exchanged over the counter (i.e. in fast-food restaurants or at street stalls). Traditionally, the owner of a restaurant does not receive a tip. A tip is known in the German language as Trinkgeld, which literally translates as 'money for drink'. It is also common practice to tip other service employees, like taxi drivers or hair dressers.
Tipping in Belgium is not obligatory as service charge is always included. However, people often give tips as a sign of appreciation. Usually, this is done by paying in bank notes with a total value slightly higher than the price of the meal and telling the waiter/waitress that they can keep the change.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tipping is not particularly common, although it may occur in restaurants and bars. Prices are usually already adjusted upwards, and labour laws ensure a minimum wage for all workers, therefore tipping is usually not expected.
Taxi drivers and hairdressers are often given tips by rounding up the displayed price to the nearest multiple of 5 or 10 kuna.
A unique practice of tipping exists among the pensioners who receive their pension via mail in rural settlements. They may leave any coinage to the postman who delivers it as a sign of appreciation.
Although it is customary to tip in the Czech Republic, it has very little to do with the size of the bill, and more to do with a sign of appreciation. It is common to round up the bill by a few crowns to make it even. Away from places regularly visited by foreigners, leaving a "tip" on a table after a meal at a restaurant is not the usual practice; locals may even object to it.
Traditionally, the tip has not been common, but is being introduced by outside influence. Tipping should be given only as a token of real appreciation for the service. Be aware that the tips will most often be split between the waiters and the kitchen. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any extra service (such as carrying bags) will be listed on the receipt according to rate.
Tipping has been common in Estonia only after the restoration of independence, and therefore isn't always requested. A 10% tip is usually added to the price in restaurants and taxi drivers often keep the change. Some restaurants and pubs have a jar or box on the counter labelled 'Tip' on it, where customers can put their change.
In Finland tipping is entirely optional and almost unheard of outside restaurants and bars. They can even be seen as an offensive or pompous act. Coat checkers generally have a service fee. Bar patrons may tip the bouncer when leaving for satisfactory service in the establishment in general. Consequently tips are most often pooled. Bars often have a brass tippikello, tip bell near the counter. upon receiving a tip, the service person strikes it with the largest denomination of coin given in the tip.
Tipping government and municipality service personnel for any service is not allowed, and could lead to legal problems.
Tips are not expected in France since service charges are included in the bill. However, French people usually leave the small change left after paying the bill or one or two euros if they were satisfied with the service quality.
Tipping in Georgia is pretty much unknown, and in many cases could deeply offend the recipient's sense of hospitality.
In Germany tips are commonplace in restaurants and bars (not in fast-food restaurants). The most appropriate way is to round it up, maybe add a bit (1-2 Euros) if necessary.
Tipping in Gibraltar is comparable to that of the UK, where you can round the bill up to the following pound, or more, if the service was above standard. It is not compulsory and is not expected, but is most appreciated.
Traditionally tipping in restaurants is not customary in Greece. Rounding of the bill used to work both ways i.e. When the bill was 41.20 they would ask for 41 or even 40, when it was 28.80 you would give 29 or 30. A tip was considered insulting, and the best way to show appreciation was to come back. In touristy areas this almost completely vanished nowadays, but off the beaten track it is still alive.
Tipping certainly is not based on a predetermined percentage. Customers usually leave a tip on the table, varying from few coins to large amounts of money, according to how satisfied they are by the service, but usually something like 1-2€. Tipping to taxi drivers is uncommon.
Tips are given in Hungary for some services: in restaurants, in bars, to cab drivers, to hairdressers, and often to people that fix things around the house, like plumbers and electricians.
Although not legally required, social norms encourage that tips are given. The amount varies by profession: in restaurants the normal amount is around 5% to 10% of the total bill, but hairdressers can expect 25% or more in tips, since they are expected to make more money in tips than in wages.
In Iceland tipping is rare. Service charges are generally included in the bill.
Tipping is not a general habit in Ireland. The same general rules apply as in the United Kingdom. For example, it is not customary to tip in bars or for any over-the-counter service, but waiters in pubs and restaurants are usually tipped a token amount.
Although it has been cited that tipping for taxis is typical, it is not common in practice Commonly people will round-up the fare to the nearest note to avoid fumbling for small change(for example, hand over €5.00 for a fare of €4.60)
In Ireland it is not customary to tip a percentage of the total bill, a few small coins is generally considered quite polite. Like most of Europe it is common to round up to the nearest note, (i.e. paying €30 for a bill of €28).
Isle of Man
Tips (la mancia) are not customary in Italy but are offered only if a special service is given or to thank for a high quality service. Almost all restaurants (with the notable exception of Rome have a price for the service (called coperto) and waiters do not expect a tip, but they will not refuse it, especially if given by foreign customers. In cafés, bars, and pubs it's however not uncommon, on paying the bill, to leave the change saying to the waiter or to the cashier "tenga il resto" ("keep the change"). Recently tip jars near the cash register are becoming widespread, however in public restrooms is often forbidden. Leaving the change is also quite common with taxi drivers. When using a credit card, it is not possible to add manually an amount to the bill, so it is possible to leave some notes as a tip.
In Kosovo generally tipping is not expected by anyone. In Albanian parts, tipping is generally not recommended at all.
Service is included in the bill, but it is customary to leave at least a 5% tip.
In The Netherlands, tips are common in restaurants. Tips are expected to be around 5% to 10% of the total amount (depending on the quality of service), unless the service has been poor. Tips are generally not expected in bars, but are not uncommon.
Traditionally, the tip has not been common, but is being introduced by outside influence. Tipping should be given only as a token of real appreciation for the service. In Restaurants, even though there is a service fee, rounding up is the norm, and 10% is considered generous. It is not normal to tip outside restaurants and bars, but in situations where change is common it is polite to leave the change(f.ex taxis)
When you're paying for drinks or a meal in restaurants or bars and you are handed the cheque, you should give the amount you have to pay and wait for the change. If you give the money and say "thank you" it will be treated as "keep the change" type of tip. This also goes for taxis. The average tip is around 10-15% of the cheque. It is rather impolite in Poland not to tip, because it might indicate that you didn't like the food or service (unless it was bad).
You might tip tour guides and drivers too, but only if you were really happy with the service provided.
In Portugal the tip generally consists of some coins. It is usually given in restaurants and coffee shops, especially by tourists, but is not necessary.
The tip is usually 10% of the bill and is expected in restaurants, coffee shops, taxi, hair dressers.
In Russia, tipping is not necessary, except in fancier restaurants (especially in Moscow). In such cases, a tip exceeding 10% would be unusual. Some restaurants may include service into the amount, but that is very rare. Tipping is not considered customary for taxis, in fact, you should negotiate and settle upon your fare before you get in the taxi.
When tipping in Russia, or anywhere else throughout Eastern Europe for that matter, you should leave a tip of around 10% to 15%, on condition that there is no service charge on your bill already.
Gratuity amounts may vary as many establishments do not accept credit cards. Don't be surprised to find your bill rounded off to the nearest whole number.
It is also customary to leave hotel workers, coat check attendants, drivers and hotel housekeeping staff a generous tip. Drivers and tour guides are usually tipped up to $10 (approximately £6.37) and housekeeping staff are tipped about $1 (approximately 63p) to $2 (approximately £1.27) daily, which is usually left on the bedside table or in an ashtray.
Tips are never considered a strict obligation since service charges are always included in the bill, however leaving a tip (10-15%, but not exceeding 200 RSD) is common in restaurants (not in fast-food restaurants) if the customer is satisfied with the service. It is also considered polite to give tips in bars and to hairdressers. In taxicabs the price is typically rounded up (e.g. if the meter displays 592, give 600 RSD), but if the displayed price is already round, no tip is fine; even rounding down by a slight amount (paying 602 as 600) is acceptable, at least for locals.
Tipping is not compulsory in Slovakia, but in practice it is common in sit down restaurants, where rounding up the bill or leaving around 10% tip is common. The tip is given directly to the waiter (give him/her the amount of money on the bill including the tip, when he/she starts to give you change back, say "It's ok"), not left on the table in most establishments. Outside restaurants or bars tipping is unusual.
Tipping is not customary in Slovenia and traditionally it is almost never done. In recent times, however, high-tourist areas have begun to accept tips, which are welcomed but not obligatory.
Tipping, or "propina" in Spanish, is not mandatory or considered customary in Spain. The tip amount in restaurants depends on your economic status, the locale and type of establishment. If you feel that you have experienced good service then leave some loose change on the table - possibly €1 (approximately 84p) or €2 (approximately £1.69). If you don't, it is no big deal.
Bars expect only tourists, particularly American tourists , to leave a tip. They are aware that it is customary in the United States to leave a tip for every drink or meal. It is rare to see anyone other than Americans tipping in Spain.
Outside the restaurant business, some service providers, such as taxi drivers, hairdressers and hotel personnel may expect a tip in an upscale setting.
Traditionally, the tip has not been common, but is being introduced by outside influence. Tipping should be given only as a token of real appreciation for the service. Be aware that the tips will most often be split between the waiters and the kitchen. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any extra service (such as carrying bags) will be listed on the receipt according to rate.
Swiss workers enjoy a very high minimum wage so is tips are typically low. In restaurants, round up the bill and add a few francs with a maximum of 5, regardless of bill size. If you were not happy with the service do not hesitate to not tip at all. In cafes and bars, it is common to round-up the bill to the nearest franc. Tipping is very rare for any other services.
In general, tipping is not considered obligatory. However it is very common to leave a 5% to 10% tip if you're satisfied with the service. It is NOT possible to add tip to the credit card bill. It is very common amongst Turkish people to pay the bill with a credit card and leave the tip in cash or coins. Most waiters will bring your cash back in coins as much as possible, that's because Turkish people don't like to carry coins around and usually leave them at the table. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, but it is common practice to let them keep the change.
Tipping throughout the UK is usually appreciated at restaurants (except self-service establishments), but not always given, with typical amounts being 10%. It is less usual to tip in cafés and coffee shops. Many restaurants will allow tips to be added to a credit card bill, but it some prefer to leave cash at the table. The reason for this is that cash is deemed to have been given to the waiting staff directly, whilst credit card payments and cheques are legally payable to the restaurant. While a tip given by credit card or cheque will almost always be passed on to the waiting staff, it is illegal for restaurants to pay their staff less than the minimum wage if the amount given in tips via the restaurant management augments their wages to the level of the minimum wage.
It is not normal to tip for drinks in a pub or bar, although offering to buy the bar tender a drink is considered acceptable (albeit not commonly done) and they may also then take money for the value of a drink (which is in effect taking a tip. Commonly, this is offered by saying "and one for yourself" at the time of payment. In cases where the pub is also a restaurant, the serving staff may be tipped.
In many table-service restaurants - and 'gastro pubs' - a 'service charge' is added to the bill, usually (but not always) when the party exceeds a certain size e.g. six, in which case there is no expectation to tip further. It's worth checking the menu when ordering, for information on service charges.
It is a legal requirement to post prices including any taxes and other charges. Additional service charges at restaurants are unusual. Where these occur, it is legal to refuse to pay the service charge but people only tend to do this if they believe the service was inadequate.
Historically, offering a tip may have been seen as an insult; it is implying the receiver may be bought or bribed, and that the person doing the tipping is "better than you". This is the origin of the custom of offering to buy the barman/barmaid a drink in a pub. You would not tip a friend or work colleague, that would be an insult, but it is normal to buy them a drink. These attitudes have now largely given way.
In some establishments, tips are kept individually by the waiter or waitress, whereas in others they may be pooled and divided amongst all the staff (a 'tronc'). In other instances, tips may be set aside for some other purpose for the benefit of the staff, such as to fund a staff party or trip.
Tipping for other services such as taxis and hairdressers is not expected, but tips are sometimes given to reward particularly good service. Although in some large cities it is customary to tip both taxi drivers and hairdressers/barbers. In taxis, it is common to round up the fare to the nearest whole pound, even if that means a derisory tip of 10p. If, for example, the fare is £4.90, it is common to say "make it £5.00, just to make it easier".
Attempting to tip a policeman, fireman, nurse, doctor or other public-sector worker is prohibited and very rarely attempted; in the case of the police, it may be considered attempted bribery and, at best, will be met by bafflement on the part of the officer.
Tipping in Canada is similar to that in the United States due to the close cultural nature of the two countries but tends to be somewhat lower due to higher minimum wages and lower employee cost (e.g. universal medical care). Restaurant wait staff in Canada typically receive about 10-15% on the before-tax total.
Quebec and Ontario even allow employers to pay lower minimum wages to workers who would reasonably be expected to be receiving tips.
Tipping in Mexico is similar to the United States. It is usually from 10 to 15%.
In Mexican bars and night clubs it is often seen that they charge directly into the bill the 15% of the total amount (taxes included). That is illegal in most cases because of the imposition of the tip and because they calculate the 15% with taxes included.
In large groups, or in nightclubs the barmen expect the customers to deposit their tip in a cup left on the table before serving the drinks so the service they give is in function with the tip they received.
Viene vienes ("Car guards")
It is also customary to give a tip to the person who sometimes guard the car as if they were valet parking; in Mexico these people are often called "viene viene" (literally: "comes, comes") or franeleros and usually people give them from 3 to 20 Mexican pesos depending on the zone, although they sometimes ask for bigger sums of money when the car is left close to a night life area.
Retail stores (supermarkets)
In medium and large retail stores such as Wal-Mart there are uniformed helpers, usually children or the elderly, who bag the products just after the clerk has scanned them. This role is called cerillo (Spanish for "match"). It is common for these helpers to not have a basic salary, so all the money earned is from the tips people give them. Most customers give from 2 to 5 Mexican pesos depending on the number of products.
Cerillos also put the bags in the cart and if the load is large they can even help bringing it to the car and unloading the bags; in these cases, they normally receive more than 15 pesos.
Meals have a 10% to 15% tip (this includes fast food deliveries). This tip is usually left by most people in restaurants, although it is not so common in street restaurants or stands, where the tenders usually have a can or box where people deposit coins.
Tipping is not expected in cabs or buses, except when it is a tour. In some populated Mexican restaurants wandering musicians enter, play, and expect the customers to pay something, although this is voluntary. In filling stations, the workers usually get 2-5 pesos for every gasoline load. In stadiums people give a small tip to the person who shows the place where they should sit. Tips are also given to bellboys, barbers and people that work in similar services.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Tipping is widely practiced in the United States service sector. Standards vary, but gratuities are always given to servers in restaurants and bars, to taxi drivers, parking valets, and bellstaff in hotels, and should be omitted only in extreme cases of bad service. The salaries made in these professions, and even their taxes, take into account that they will be tipped, so it really is inappropriate to leave them out.
Tipping managers and business owners is almost always inappropriate, unless you are the host of a large party, wedding, or event. Even then, be careful how you present the tip—it's best to offer a percent of the total bill to the person in charge (usually the head caterer) and to subtly thank them for sharing it with their staff.
Tipping in the United States is so common and expected in some cases that in many service establishments, such as hair salons and restaurants, customers who did not tip are often asked to pay a tip, or more rarely may be verbally scolded or abused by staff for "stiffing" them, even though such behavior on the part of the staff is considered clearly inappropriate.
Tipping can work for you, if you are savvy. While it is usually presented as an expected part of payment, it can also be a subtle (and acceptable) bribe for preferential treatment. This is especially true with hotel staff and with bartenders. Unusually large tips can also be a good strategy for securing preferential treatment in the future, if you plan to go to the same place often. Tipping well also makes you look rather good in front of friends, dates, and business partners (and the reverse is true for tipping poorly).
Tipping is customary in restaurants offering table service. Understand that the custom is so usual here that US restaurant waitstaff are typically paid less than the local minimum wage by their employers (and are given legal exception to do so) -- the waiters often rely on customers' tips to make a living wage.
While the amount of a tip is at the discretion of the patron, the customary tip has risen in recent years from the long usual 15% to around 18% before tax (many tip 20%, since it's easier to calculate, but that is more than expected in most places). It is usual to leave more for particularly pleasing service, and somewhat less for service on the poor side.
When a server has not adequately addressed issues a customer has with service, the patron may ask to speak with a manager to have the problems corrected before considering reducing the tip. In extreme cases of inferior service, the patron may choose not to leave a tip -- travelers who have the misfortune to experience particularly bad service should consider leaving a small coin (a quarter dollar or less) to make the point that the tip was not simply forgotten.
In certain situations, restaurants may include a mandatory tip (service charge), usually around 18%. Reputable restaurants post their policy on a sign or the menu, or require servers to inform their patrons of such charges before they order. This is most common for large groups, such as six or more. This charge can be verified by the customer on the bill to avoid tipping in addition to the service charge. Rarer reasons for a service charge can occur if the customer was especially rude, is not likely to leave a tip, or is too intoxicated to notice. A customer may choose to include an extra tip for the server over and above the service charge, or, if service is poor, to negotiate an alternate service charge with management.
Tipping on wine with a meal requires some discretion and judgment, as many restaurants mark up their wine 200 to 400%. Some suggest a tip of 18% on the meal before tax, and 10% on the wine, especially if the total wine bill is near or exceeds the cost of the meal, although some may counsel that this is being cheap.
Many traditional restaurants offer carry-out ("pick-up," "take-out, or "curbside") service, and standards for tipping for such services vary. Tipping is not required for non-table services. It's nice to leave a tip in the case of exceptional service or difficult orders, or simply to show your generosity. Tipping at fast food restaurants and coffeehouses that do not offer table service is not necessary, regardless of whether there is a "tip jar." When eating at a counter (most likely in a diner), you should always tip your server as you would for standard table service.
Tipping bartenders is universal. You should tip at the end of the night if running a tab, but if you are paying cash for each round (and taking the drinks back to a table or friends), it's a good idea to leave a cash tip each time—you'll get better and more attentive service on a busy night, and may well get stiffer drinks.
The size of the tip varies on the type of establishment. In a cheap place, one dollar per drink, or one dollar per every two drinks, is common, but if you are in a classier place paying around $7-8 or above per drink, two per drink, or even more in a high-class bar (or if you especially like the bartender's service). If you run a tab in a nicer-than-your-average-bar and are paying at the end, you should go back to the standard 15-20% rule.
Tips are common, and rules sometimes complex, at nicer hotels. Motels, cheap hotels, and bed & breakfasts are generally not places for tips outside of restaurants and bars.
Parking valets, room service, and bellmen should always be tipped for carrying luggage and for delivering items to rooms (food, boxes, faxes). With room service, though, double check whether the hotel has already added a service charge. Bellmen should always receive at least $2 for carting your luggage, but should receive more if you have a lot of luggage. Housekeeping staff are customarily tipped one or more dollars per day, which you can just leave on the table. The front desk staff should be tipped only for very unusual and exceptional services. It is inappropriate to tip managers or owners.
The rules for tipping concierge are much more arcane. For most services—asking for maps, information, tours, etc.—a tip is not expected. But for things above and beyond like special, unusual, time-consuming requests, if you receive a lot of attention while others are waiting, or even just for an exceptionally high level of service, tips should generally be large, usually starting at $5 (a $1 tip would be insulting). Tips can be a good way to get special treatment during a stay too: good-sized preemptive tips for restaurant reservations could lead to special preferential treatment at the restaurant, tips can make unusual or difficult requests happen when the concierge would otherwise demur, tips out-of-the-blue can lead to special service throughout your stay, etc.
If you especially like the service you have received from an employee during a stay, consider passing them a larger tip ($5 or more) on the way out.
Most U.S. guides recommend 15-20% of the fare. Dealing with heavy baggage is often included into the price of the cab, so just tip towards the upper end (20%) if you really made the driver struggle!
It is customary to tip tour guides at the end of a tour. The customary tip tends to be around $1-5 per person, depending primarily on the size of the tour, whether it was private, and the level of service. The size of the tour group usually corresponds with size of the tip inversely, a smaller more private tour usually elicits a larger tip than a larger, more impersonal tour with many people.
Car valets are customarily tipped $2–5.
Under federal law it is considered bribery to tip federal government employees. Never tip any government employee of any type.
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Tipping is expected and much appreciated in bars and restaurants, usually at about 10-20%. A 10% gratuity ('Legal Tip') is added to the bill but servers expect more, so it's common to add 10% of the pre-tax bill unless you are dissatisfied with the service. Cash is preferred, as some establishments are known to not give them the tips from credit cards, or even the legal gratuity. It's not customary to tip taxi drivers unless it's a ride form the airport.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad And Tobago
Tipping has not been a custom, but has become more commonplace in recent times. Some restaurants, especially those in hotels or those that serve foreign tourists expect a tip. Most do not. Only airport taxis expect a tip. Local taxis do not.
Turks and Caicos Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
Tipping in the Virgin islands is expected. In the USVI, tip as you would on the U.S. mainland. In restaurants, it is customary to leave at least 15 percent of the total bill, before any discounts or special reductions. Most servers at fast food or self-service restaurants do not require a tip, but when dining in a full service restaurant with a large group, remember that gratuities are almost never included (except for parties larger than 10).
When checking baggage, tip the porter at least one dollar per bag. You should also tip maids, and depending on the level of service, it is polite to offer a gratuity to your concierge. If your hotel provides valet parking, it is advisable to tip the valet as well.
Tipping is not a traditional practice in Australia, although in recent times it has become more common in restaurants and hotels (particularly in larger cities) possibly due to more common exposure to American practices. Even in these places, it tends to be reserved for instances of particularly good service. It is acceptable to round restaurant bills and taxi fares up to the nearest dollar, five dollars or ten dollars, with the additional amount forming the tip. Therefore a tip is never based on a percentage of the bill (such as if a party was to order a very expensive bottle of wine, the party would not necessarily tip a much greater amount). Tipping staff of any other kind of business is very unusual. Bartenders are not usually tipped.
Casinos in Australia generally prohibit tipping of gaming staff, as it is considered bribery. Similarly, tipping government officials will usually be interpreted as bribery as well.
If one wishes to show appreciation for good service, a box of chocolates will serve much the same purpose as a tip would, only with much less awkwardness.
Federated States of Micronesia
In Fiji, tipping is virtually non-existent. This includes no tipping to taxis, hotels, bellpersons, restaurants, etc. However, at most all-inclusive resorts and amongst the scuba diving operations, they have a "Christmas Box" where you can donate money that is shared equally amongst all the staff at Christmas time.
Tipping is not part of New Zealand culture and is often treated with suspicion or actively frowned upon, as many people view it as a largely American custom that over-compensates certain workers while others are left out; additionally there is a feeling that tipping is paying twice for one service. Despite this, some forms of tipping are common, such as rounding up a taxi fare. It is almost as likely, however, that the taxi driver will round the fare down to the nearest dollar. Some cafés keep a jar on the counter marked "tips for staff", in which customers can leave small change.
Occasionally tips are given in a restaurant for exceptional service, particularly in the larger cities like Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. But in these cities it is becoming quite common for bar staff to be given tips of around 30 dollars built up over the whole night, especially the waiting staff. Again this is not a percentage amount of the bill but just a good will gesture by the patrons. Others may feel that the people who do this are being ostentatious and showing off their wealth. New Zealanders travelling overseas often find the custom difficult and confusing.
However, many New Zealanders travel and live in other countries, often returning to New Zealand; bringing the tipping habit back with them.
In general, people who perform a service in New Zealand, such as waiters and hairdressers, are tipped with a smile and a thank you. This is considered reasonable because their average wage is substantially larger than their American counterparts.
Papua New Guinea
Tipping is not practiced or expected in Samoa.
Wallis and Futuna
There is no obligation to tip in Argentina although it is considered customary. Sometimes rounding up or telling them to "keep the change" is enough on small checks, deliveries, gasoline tenders, etc. Leaving at least a 10% tip is considered kind and polite at restaurants, cafes, hotels, beauty parlors, barbers, ushers and car-washes. Tipping bartenders is not customary. Leaving no tip when feeling unsatisfied is not an uncommon gesture, and it's interpreted as such. Taxicab drivers do not expect to be tipped, but most people do so.
Another local custom is to tip the ushers in theaters and opera houses when they're also in charge of handing out the programmes (one may request one without tipping, at the risk of being considered cheap).
Service fees are included in most upscale hotels and restaurants, usually around 15%.
Service charges are included with the bill. Still, a small tip, around 5% or so, is sometimes given, and is considered polite.
While tips can sometimes be given for some services, delivery or tourism, tips are very uncommon. It is usually not expected in cabs, although rounding up the fare occasionally takes place. It should be noted that many restaurants include a 10% delivery charge in the note, with no further tippings being required. Such a charge often depends on the municipality. Tipping bartenders is not customary.
There is no obligation to tip in Chile. This was not the case until 1981, when law number 7.388 was derogated. It stated that tipping was mandatory at places like restaurants, and the tip amount should be between 10% and 20% of the bill. Since then, it is usually assumed that customers will leave a tip of 10%, if the service is considered satisfactory.
A service charge of 10% is generally added to the bill in nice restaurants (if it's not, you should add it yourself). Tipping taxi drivers is not common. Most "tipping" is merely rounding up to the nearest thousand pesos (e.g., rounding up your cafe bill to 7,000 from 6,700). Private tour guides do not need to be tipped, but it is common to do so, if you liked the guide.
Be aware that in some restaurants and bars that include the tip (la propina) in the bill, this extra money often does not make it into the hands of the staff person who serves you. Instead, it is simply kept by the owners. With this in mind, many Colombians will pay the bill without the tip (in cash or with credit card) and then hand a cash tip to the staff member (waiter, bartender, etc.) who served them.
Bars, restaurants and hotels include a 10% service charge in the bill, so tipping is not required. In the case of restaurants, it is customary to leave some spare change in reward for good service. Some restaurants will include a small piece of paper along with the bill, in which the client can specify a tip if they are paying with credit card.
Service charges are included with the bill, and tipping is uncommon.
There is no obligation to tip general services in Peru. In most restaurants, a tip of 2-5 soles or any leftover change is entirely sufficient. At fancier and gourmet restaurants (you'll know if you're at one) such as those found in Lima and Cusco, a 10% tip is recommended but not obligatory. There is no tipping necessary for taxis, regardless if they are hailed from the street or arranged ahead of time with an official company. Hotel services such as valets and bellboys at higher end properties may appreciate 1-2 soles in the hand. Hairstylists, coffee shop baristas, and other daily level services do not need to be tipped. Guides for any trekking, jungle, or other high adrenaline adventures should be tipped 5-10% depending on the quality and level of service.
Islands of the Atlantic Ocean
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Islands of the Indian Ocean
British Indian Ocean Territory