You’re dining at a restaurant and you’re ready to go. The bill arrives and you fish for your wallet. The total is €46 but what about the tip? How much should you leave? Is the tip included? Tip, gratuity, service fees, reward, gift… however you might call it, sometimes tipping can be a real hassle, or panic, if you don’t know how much is too much, or too less, when travelling abroad.
Each country has their own set of rules, which seem as we have found out not so strict and can change at any moment. Some say its just a matter of how you feel or how good the service was. Tip amounts are not the only thing that varies from country to country, but service standards as well. What we might regard as good service may not be the standard in other countries or in other situations. Sometimes receiving or leaving a tip is an insult other times if you don’t leave enough it might be wise not to eat at that same place again. So we’ve collected a few tips for tipping in some of your favourite travel destinations so you’ve got the heads up when the bill arrives or your taxi ride ends.
In Australia tipping in entirely optional. It is becoming more and more popular however from the tipping custom brought over by Americans. 10% is more than enough at restaurants while taxi drivers and hotel porters do not expect any gratuities for their services.
Most Belgium restaurants add 15% to the bill already but it is polite to leave a few Euros on top of this if the server is good. When there is no tip added to your bill, it is customary to leave at least 15% on the table or when you pay. Taxi drivers and car park attendants don’t expect a tip but it’s a nice gesture if you round up the fare.
In Cyprus there is a tip of 10% expected on top of every restaurant and hotel bill. Hotel porters and housekeepers are also tipped on a regular basis as well. Taxi drivers are seldom tipped but cloakroom and washroom attendants should be left €1.
If your drink is brought to you at a bar or café in Spain, it is good manners to leave €1 or some coins. If you order the tourist lunch menu at restaurants in some cities you can expect that there will be a 10-15% tip added to your bill at the end. Typically these service fees are added on tourist bills while locals are left to pay this at their discretion.
It is a big insult if you eat at a restaurant in the USA and you don’t leave a tip. This is the tipping capital where all waitresses and waiters receive at least 15% at the end of the meal. This is because most wait-staff are paid much less than minimum wage so the tips are left to supplement it. A general rule to follow is that if someone (hotel porter, taxi driver, bar tender, etc.) helps you or goes out of their way for you, leave them a tip.
There is only one situation in which tips may be left in Japan, high class ryokan. Giving coins directly is considered to be very rude, so place it in an envelope and either hand it personally or leave it in a noticeable place in your room with the recipients name on it. In most other cases it is considered very rude to tip in Japan.
So don’t sweat when the bill comes or you’re at the moment of tipping or not tipping. Read up on tipping customs before travelling to avoid an uncomfortable situation. What are the tipping customs in your country? Let’s hear them!