Imagine that you pay the bill after a scrumptious dinner and still get weird looks from your server, calling you a cheapskate for not leaving a tip. Alternatively, generous tipping might fetch the same reaction in some parts of the world.
Tipping culture is a brain-teaser for avid travelers because it may change sooner than the time zone!
To tip or not to tip – that’s the question. And the only question that matters while putting out a stack of notes in the cab or writing credit card receipts in the restaurant. Here’s your gratuity guide to the rescue.
The United States is the leading exporter of tipping culture. You’re expected to pay about 15-20% on the overall bill in restaurants, bars, and taxi rides. Putting $1-2 on each drink towards the bartender is customary. The same is true for hotel porters and housekeeping staff.
Here, service charges are not generally included in the invoice. And waiters earn less than minimum wage unless supplemented with gratuity.
Canada and most Caribbean islands are accustomed to the same rules.
The employees in the hospitality industry of countries like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia expect foreigners to tip. However, look out for cover charges in eateries to prevent double-tipping.
In Latin and South America, people favor staying at off-grid haciendas compared to hotels. So, you should make a pool – let’s say $20-50 – and hand it over to the host/maitre d’ at the checkout.
You have to haggle for taxi fares beforehand, so tips can be easily avoided.
Unlike in the US, service charges are added to the quoted price. And the wait staff is well compensated. Still, you’re encouraged to reward a modest tip if you feel flattered.
It wouldn’t be necessary at counter and takeout services.
One common tradition in Europe is to round up the bill to the next euro. It’s true for cab drivers and chauffeurs as well. Hotel porters are an exception – feel free to offer €1 for a bag. But the expected amount decreases as you visit the Balkans and overlooked Mediterranean countries.
Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland make up the breathtaking Nordic region. These countries are known to be elegant and expensive, but not tip-crazed indeed.
From busboys to the bellhops, no one looks forward to gratuity! Service charges already go into the wages of restaurant and hotel workers. But tipping concierge and cab drivers is at your discretion.
You should give €3-6 to tour escorts and slightly less to the drivers per day of their work.
You must put aside 10-15% for table service in Russia. The sit-down is not charged. Make sure to have some cash in the local currency because credit card facilities are not widespread.
The same goes for Turkey. Only a few upscale establishments charge baksheesh. Whereas attendants in Turkish Hammams expect tips, such is not the case with the Russian Banya – two can’t miss sauna experiences!
Also, the European rule of thumb to round up taxi fares might upset Russian drivers. They expect lavish tipping of around 200 rubles at the end of the trip.
The Arab holiday destinations are full of tipped professionals. You should give at least 10-15% at the end of the meal or a taxi ride. Housekeepers and porters also reach out for farewell rewards. You can tip them a sum of $1-2 in equivalent local currency.
However, dining spots and accommodations in Israel often incorporate gratuity!
The Dubai government has also made these charges compulsory. But for the sake of all flashiness, servers would appreciate a couple of extra dirhams.
East and Southeast Asia include China, Japan, the Korean peninsula, and countries that border the South China Sea – Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand are a few to name!
Travelers love soaking into the hidden cultures of Southeast Asia. This diverse region exhibits a nascent tipping tradition. But the status-quo is evolving due to the influx of tourists in China and neighboring island nations.
Japan is the strongest advocate of the no-tipping policy, so much so that workers may even turn down the offer. Still, rounding up the fare is a common practice across the region.
There is no hard-and-fast rule in India. Giving 10% in restaurants and cafes is standard. Bear in mind to not tip everyone asking for it – mostly, they are street beggars.
You may give about 50 rupees to housekeeping and coatroom staff. Porters flock to lift your luggage at airports and bus stations. Politely refuse the errand if you’re unwilling to grant a tip. Letting tuk-tuk and taxi drivers keep the change will suffice.
If someone goes out of the way, you should raise the bar.
Africa remains a hotbed of tourism thanks to the historical sites in Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, and the rest of the continent.
You’re supposed to leave a 10-15% tip for wait staff in restaurants, especially in the non-existence of separate charges. Porters and maids also appreciate gratuity since they’re underpaid. If you don’t consider tipping as borderline bribery, the hotel concierge might bring you a favor or two.
Cab drivers in touristy areas are familiar with 10-20% gratuity. Remember to make payments discreetly.
The service industry in Australia and New Zealand doesn’t skimp on finances. Naturally, tipping is not a big deal throughout the South Pacific. Although bonuses are highly welcomed, keep it under 10% for servers and $5 for housekeepers.
Rounding up a taxi fare to the nearest $5 is a warm gesture. But Australia is best explored by a private car.
Hospitality is woven into the indigenous culture of Polynesian isles. So, don’t take the locals’ behavior as an indirect call for tips. Nonetheless, you should reward in proportion to the experience.
Globetrotting puts you closer to different cultures. You must understand and respect cultural sensitivities. Tipping is a form of “thank you note,” thus never hold back to writing one whenever the situation warrants it!
Make transactions in person according to the quality of service. For example, a bartender who stirs multiple ingredients with an umbrella peeking out of the cocktail glass deserves a higher tip than someone who just opens a beer bottle of the same price.