How to Leave a Tip in 5 Major Travel Hubs

Staff Writer
When in doubt, well, don’t be. Study a country’s tipping etiquette beforehand.

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Make sure nothing gets lost in translation when you're abroad!

Many of us have probably tried to tip a bartender in the United Kingdom, Japan, or another country where such a practice is not customary, only to meet with quizzical or even hostile looks in return. As travelers, we shouldn’t assume any “normal” thing we do in the United States applies abroad, even with so many American travelers traversing the globe.

We pulled from our previous article, How to Tip (or Not to Tip) Your Server While Traveling, to provide you with a quick cheat sheet of how to tip in a few major travel hubs around the globe. Make sure you read the full article for a more well-rounded view. Though we’re all seasoned tippers at home, it doesn’t hurt to take a look through this definitive guide on how much to tip (for takeout, bar tabs, etc.) either.

While tipping is mandatory in some places and just plain etiquette in others, it is an essential part of dining out, at home and abroad. So do it right — and watch out for these table manners that could be construed as rude outside America.

Australia/New Zealand

Until recently, tipping was not common in this area of the world. Now, leaving 10 to 15 percent at restaurants for good service is the norm. However, there is no requirement to tip at the bar.

France

Check for the words “service compris” (usually a 10 to 15 percent charge) when you get the bill. If you see this on your bill, it means you don’t have to tip. However, most locals leave a few extra coins, especially if service is good. As in the U.K., tipping at bars is not expected.

Italy

Many locals leave a few coins that make the tip as close to 10 percent as possible. The tip doesn’t have to be exactly 10 percent; simply tip whatever is convenient. There is no expectation to leave more than 10 percent, though.

Japan

It typically isn’t customary to tip in Japan. In fact, it is considered offensive, as it implies that you think the wait staff is begging for money. However, with globalization, this is changing slightly.

Mexico

Waiters here don’t check in as often, but that's so that you can enjoy your meal. Leaving 10 to 15 percent in cash is preferred at restaurants. Dollars are generally accepted, as well as pesos. It is customary to tip 10 to 15 percent on tabs at bars or the equivalent of a dollar at high-end bars.

Additional reporting by Nikkitha Bakshani

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