Tipping customs vary widely across different countries and regions, making it important to navigate them appropriately. By definition, a gratuity (often called a tip) is a sum of money customarily given by a customer to certain service sector workers – such as hospitality – for the service they have performed, in addition to the basic price of the service. Tips and their amount are a matter of social custom and etiquette, and the custom varies between countries. In some countries, it is customary to tip servers in bars and restaurants, taxi drivers, hair stylists, etc. However, in other places, tipping is not expected at all and may be positively discouraged or considered insulting.
Here is a quick guide to help make tipping less stressful:
- Austria: A service charge is often included, but rounding up the bill or leaving a small additional tip is customary.
- Belgium: A service charge is often included in the bill, but leaving a small additional tip is appreciated, usually rounding up the total amount.
- Czech Republic: It is customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation for good service.
- France: Tips are not mandatory, as a 15% service charge is already added to restaurant bills, known as “service compris.” However, leaving a small tip is customary, usually rounding up to the nearest euro. If the service was exceptional, you can give a slightly larger tip.
- Germany: Service and VAT are included in the menu price in restaurants, bars, etc., all over Germany. Still, it is typical to “round up” the amount to some more-or-less round figure. A rule of thumb is to add 5-10%, generally ending with a full Euro amount.
- Ireland (Eire): Tipping is customary but not obligatory. In restaurants, leaving a tip of around 10% of the bill is common, particularly for good service.
- Italy: Service charges are typically included in hotel and restaurant bills (look for “servizio incluso”). For good service at a restaurant, rounding up the bill is a nice gesture. A service charge called “coperto” is sometimes included in the bill, which covers the bread and table service.
- Netherlands: A service charge is often included in the bill, but leaving an additional tip is appreciated. Rounding up the total amount or leaving a small percentage as a tip is customary.
- Portugal: A service charge is sometimes included but leaving an additional tip of around 5-10% is customary, particularly for good service.
- Spain: Tipping is not common among locals. However, leaving a couple of extra euros at casual restaurants and bars and 5-10% of the total bill at upscale establishments is appreciated. A service charge is usually included in the bill, but leaving a small tip, rounding up the total amount, or leaving some loose change is common, especially for good service.
- Switzerland: A service charge is typically included in the bill. However, leaving a small tip, rounding up the bill, or adding a percentage as a gratuity is appreciated.
- UK: Tipping is less common than in the United States. In restaurants, it is customary to leave a gratuity of around 10-15% if the service was satisfactory. However, many establishments include a service charge in the bill, so it’s essential to check before adding an additional tip. Typically, people tip around 10-15% in London, except when using taxis or public transport, where a smaller tip is frequently accepted. Tour guides do not need to be tipped, but this is up to the customer to decide. Some restaurants add an automatic tip to your bill, particularly if the number of diners exceeds six.
- Western Russia (which is in Europe): Tipping is becoming more common but is not obligatory. It’s customary to leave a tip of around 10% of the bill in restaurants, and tipping for other services is appreciated.
Greece and Eastern Europe
- Tipping is not strongly practised in Greece, but it is expected and customary that tourists leave a small tip while travelling in the country of around 5-10% of the bill in restaurants. Tipping for other services is also appreciated.
- In Eastern Europe, tipping between 10-15% is generally expected.
- While tipping is not mandatory in Scandinavia, it is customary and greatly appreciated. Leaving loose change or rounding up bills is a polite gesture for guides, drivers, and waiters.
- Denmark: Tipping is not expected, as a service charge is usually included in the bill. However, leaving some small change or rounding up the bill is a gesture of appreciation.
- Norway: Tipping is not expected, as a service charge is usually included. However, leaving some small change or rounding up the bill is appreciated.
- Sweden: Service charges are typically included in the bill, and it’s not common to leave an additional tip. However, rounding up the bill or leaving a small tip for exceptional service is appreciated.
- Tipping customs in the Caribbean can be relaxed, but it is generally expected among well-heeled tourists. In Barbados and Antigua, restaurant bills may include a 5-15% service charge, and additional tips for great service are welcome.
- The Bahamas: Tipping is customary in the Bahamas due to its tourism industry. In restaurants, a tip of around 15-20% of the bill is expected. Tipping for other services, such as hotel staff and taxi drivers, is also common.
- Cuba: Whilst it’s discretionary, a tip of 10% of the total bill in restaurants and bars is a good rule of thumb in Cuba. If you tip with US dollars, it will be more than appreciated by service staff and is preferred to the local CUP currency (the Cubas peso). Cuban people reward restaurant waiters and waitresses, grocery store cashiers, garage mechanics, bartenders, taxi drivers, barbers, room maids – in fact, anyone who provides a service.
- Jamaica: Tipping is a common practice in Jamaica. In restaurants, a tip of around 10-15% of the bill is expected. Tipping for other services, such as hotel staff, tour guides, and taxi drivers, is also customary.
- In wealthy areas, tipping is not expected but appreciated. A 10-15% service charge is often added to restaurant bills, and small tips for hotel porters and valet drivers are considered reasonable. Tipping customs can vary among establishments and individuals, so it’s always a good idea to consider the specific context and local norms when deciding whether and how much to tip.
- United Arab Emirates: Tipping is generally expected and appreciated. In restaurants, a service charge is often included in the bill, but it’s common to leave an additional 10% as a tip. It’s customary to tip hotel porters, housekeeping staff, and valet parking attendants in hotels. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped, but rounding up the fare is appreciated.
- Saudi Arabia: Tipping practices in Saudi Arabia can be more limited than in other countries. It is not customary to tip in restaurants, as a service charge is usually included. However, in upscale establishments, a small tip may be given to waitstaff. Tipping hotel staff, such as bellhops and housekeeping, is appreciated. Tipping taxi drivers is not common.
- Jordan: In Jordan, tipping is customary but not obligatory. In restaurants, it is common to leave a 10% tip for good service. In hotels, tipping bellhops, housekeeping, and concierge staff is expected. Tipping taxi drivers is not mandatory, but rounding up the fare is a common practice.
- Lebanon: Tipping is widely practised in Lebanon. In restaurants, it’s customary to leave a 10-15% tip, particularly if a service charge is not already included. In hotels, tipping bellhops, housekeeping, and other staff is expected. Tipping taxi drivers is not mandatory, but rounding up the fare is appreciated.
- Dubai: Many restaurants in Dubai include a service charge of around 10-15% in the bill. However, it’s customary to leave an additional 5-10% tip for the waitstaff if the service was satisfactory. Tipping is customary in hotels. It is common to tip bellhops for carrying luggage, housekeeping staff, and concierge services. The amount may vary, but a tip of around 10-20 AED per service is often given. Tipping taxi drivers in Dubai is not mandatory but appreciated. Rounding up the fare or leaving a small tip is common practice.
- Israel: Tipping customs are similar to those in many Western countries. It is customary to leave a tip of around 10-15% of the bill in restaurants, particularly if the service was good. Some restaurants may include a service charge in the bill, so check before tipping. Tipping hotel staff is expected in Israel. Tipping bellhops for carrying luggage, housekeeping staff, and concierge services is customary. The amount can vary, but a tip of around 10-20 ILS per service is common. Taxis: It is expected to round up the fare or leave a small tip for taxi drivers in Israel. While not mandatory, it is appreciated.
- Canada: Like the United States, tipping is customary. In restaurants, a gratuity of 15-20% of the bill is expected. Other service providers like taxi drivers and hotel staff also appreciate tips. Canada falls somewhere in between Europe and the US, with 15% extra for good service in restaurants being a common practice.
- Mexico: Tipping is widely practised. In restaurants, a tip of around 10-15% of the bill is expected. Tipping for other services like taxi drivers, hotel staff, and tour guides is also customary.
- United States: Tipping is an important aspect of the service culture and is widely expected. Minimum suggested tips include 5% for taxi drivers, at least $1 per bag for bellhop service, 18% for restaurant service, and $1 per bar drink. Tipping around 15-20% of the total bill in restaurants is customary. Tipping is also common for services such as taxis, hairdressers, hotel staff, and tour guides.
- China: Tipping is not part of the culture, and the bill is often presented at the beginning of the meal. Tipping is not expected, especially in local establishments. However, a service charge might be added in high-end hotels and some international restaurants, or a small tip can be given for exceptional service.
- India: Tipping is expected in various situations, and tipping practices in India can vary. A service charge may be included in the bill in upscale restaurants and hotels. If it’s not included, giving a tip of around 10% is appreciated. Tipping is also expected for other services like porters, drivers, and tour guides.
- Japan: Tipping is not acceptable and can be perceived as rude. It is best to refrain from leaving extra tips in these places.
- Maldives: A 10% service charge is automatically added to purchases, eliminating the need for additional tipping. However, leaving a tip is a nice way to reward the staff for their great service.
- Singapore: Tipping is not customary or expected, as a service charge is usually included in the bill. However, leaving a small tip for outstanding service is appreciated.
- South Korea: Tipping is not common or expected, as good service is considered part of the job. Trying to tip may be refused, but leaving some loose change or rounding up the bill can be a gesture of appreciation.
- Thailand: Tipping is not traditionally part of Thai culture, but it has become more common in tourist areas. In restaurants, leaving a small tip of around 10% is appreciated. Tipping for other services is also becoming more prevalent.
- Turkey: In Turkey (covering both Asia and Europe), a service charge is sometimes included in the bill, but it’s customary to leave an additional tip of around 5-10% for good service, particularly in restaurants.
- UAE (United Arab Emirates): A service charge is often included in the bill, but it’s customary to leave an additional tip of around 10% for good service, especially in upscale establishments.
- Vietnam: Tipping is not traditionally expected, but it has become more common, especially in tourist areas. Leaving a small tip or rounding up the bill is appreciated.
Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific
- Customs vary across the Asia-Pacific region. Tipping is not expected in some countries, while in others, it may be customary.
- Australia: Tipping is not as common or expected as in some other countries. It’s customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip if the service is exceptional, but it’s not obligatory.
- New Zealand: Tipping is discretionary, but a 10% tip for excellent service has become customary in restaurants.
- Tipping customs in Africa vary depending on the destination and experience. For high-end safari camps where guides play a crucial role, consider tipping around $20-50 per day.
- Cameroon: A lively land full of unique cultures and landscapes, but certain parts of the country are dangerous for Western travellers. Tipping here is customary but not compulsory. In restaurants and bars, add 10% to the bill or round up in smaller establishments. Leave the local equivalent of $2-$5 (US) in hotels for your bellboy, maids, waiters, and other hotel staff. Also, have enough money in your pocket or bag to leave up to $15 US (in local currency) per day for your tour guides and drivers.
- Egypt: Tipping is customary in Egypt, which is mainly located in North Africa. In restaurants, a tip of around 10% of the bill is expected. Tipping for other services is also common.
- Kenya: Tipping is common. A 10% service charge may be included in restaurants, but leaving an additional tip of around 5-10% is appreciated for good service.
- Morocco: Tipping is customary. Leaving a tip of around 5-10% of the bill is appreciated in restaurants. Tipping for other services is also common.
- South Africa: Tipping is customary. Leaving a tip of around 10-15% of the bill is common in restaurants. Tipping for other services like taxi drivers and hotel staff is also expected.
- Tanzania: Tipping is common, especially in tourist areas. Tipping safari guides, drivers, and hotel staff is customary, and the amount can vary based on the level of service provided.
Central and South America
- Leaving change in the local currency is common practice in Central and South America and is greatly appreciated by locals.
- Argentina: Tipping is customary. In restaurants, a tip of around 10% of the bill is expected. Tipping for other services like taxi drivers and hotel staff is also common.
- Brazil: A service charge, known as “serviço,” is often included in the bill. However, it’s customary to leave an additional tip of around 10% if the service is satisfactory.
- Colombia: Tipping is common, with a customary 10% tip of the total bill. Some restaurants may include a service charge, so checking the account is important.
- Costa Rica: A 10% service charge is typically added to restaurant bills. Additional tipping for excellent service is at the discretion of the customer.
- Peru: It is customary to tip guides and drivers around 10%. However, understanding the local customs and practices is important to avoid unintended consequences.
It is very important to remember that sometimes, tipping is illegal: you should never try to offer a gratuity to government workers and, more widely, police officers, as the tip may be regarded as bribery.
This paper provides a useful summary of tipping practices around the world, but it doesn’t cover all countries. Please refer to the sources and reading list at the end for more information.
It’s important to note that tipping customs can change over time, and there may be variations within each country. When travelling, it’s a good idea to research the specific tipping practices of your destination or ask locals for guidance to ensure you adhere to local customs.
Sources and Further Reading
- Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper’s Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity, by Steve Dublanica, published by Eco PR, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Keep-Change-Clueless-Tippers-Gratuity/dp/0061787280/
- Gratuity: A Contextual Understanding of Tipping Norms from the Perspective of Tipped Employees, Paperback – 2 Jun. 2010, by Richard Seltzer (Author), Holona LeAnne Ochs (Contributor), published by Lexington Books, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gratuity-Contextual-Understanding-Perspective-Employees/dp/0739144235/
- Tips on Tipping: A Global Guide To Gratuity Etiquette (Bradt Travel Guides), by Carole French (2011-04-12), Paperback, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tips-Tipping-Gratuity-Etiquette-2011-04-12/dp/B01JXPS7WK/
- The Tipping Point: An Argument for Eliminating Gratuities, Paperback, 18 April 2018, by Peter Caldon (Author), published by iUniverse, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tipping-Point-Argument-Eliminating-Gratuities/dp/1532047479/
- Lonely Planet Country Guides, at: https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/en-gb/collections/country-guide
CAUTION: This paper is compiled from the sources stated but has not been externally reviewed. Parts of this paper include information provided via artificial intelligence which, although checked by the author, is not always accurate or reliable. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials covered in this paper for any particular purpose. Such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this paper meet your specific requirements and you should neither take action nor exercise inaction without taking appropriate professional advice. The hyperlinks were current at the date of publication.
End Notes and Explanations
- Source: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated in the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: bing.com [chat] and https://chat.openai.com ↑
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratuity ↑