The Complete Guide to Tipping Abroad: Hotels, Restaurants, Taxis, and More (Slideshow)
May 6, 2016
Where, when, and how much should you tip when traveling internationally? Here’s your complete guide
Considering the fact that there are so many wonderful restaurants in Argentina, it would probably help to know a little about tipping. The customary amount is 10 percent, which should be added regardless of whether or not a service or table charge has been added. Taxi drivers, on the other hand, are rarely tipped — unless they help with your bags. Taxis have a union, so their pay is already well taken care of. At hotels, two pesos (only about $0.14) can be given to porters per bag. Interestingly, in Argentinian movie theaters, ushers often show patrons to their seats and give them additional information about the show. In these cases, tipping up to five pesos is acceptable and more than adequate.
During a trip to Australia with my father, we found out on Day Two that tipping is neither compulsory nor expected in the country. Of course, this came after my dad (a notoriously generous tipper, for some reason) left $30 worth of gratuity on a $100 bill the first night, so it was too little too late. (Or perhaps too much too late.) Don’t be like my dad here, and instead simply leave your loose change, or maybe a couple dollars (U.S. or Australian, 1 USD is equal to 1.35 AUD) if the service was exceptional. In suburban restaurants, feel free to go up to five or 10 percent — but again, it is not expected. Even taxi drivers will generally return your change to the nearest five cents, and bellhops don’t expect anything (although a buck or two if they help with the bags would be a nice reciprocating gesture). Minimum wage is over $17 in Australia, so tipping is really not necessary on a regular basis.
Heading to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year? Don’t worry too much about tipping at restaurants, as a service charge of 10 percent is almost always added to the bill. Aside from this, Brazilians will rarely ever tip while out to eat. If you’re ever asked for an extra tip, because you’re a tourist, just put down R$5-10 (about $1.50-3.00) and be on your way. You don’t want to look like a sucker, but you also wouldn’t want to come off as stingy. When riding in a regular, metered taxi (yellow in Rio, white in São Paulo), it is customary to round to the nearest whole number — not just as a small tip, but also to avoid dealing with coins. In special flat-fare taxis, tipping is rare, as the price is usually already marked up. At hotels, R$5-10 is common for helpful porters, and the chambermaid would be appreciative of R$5 per night as well. All things considered, tipping in Brazil is minimal.
As I previously mentioned, tipping is very rare in China. In fact, accepting tips is sometimes seen as an insult or a form of corruption. You shouldn’t tip in a taxi (although here’s a taxi tip: Fares are often increased slightly at night), you shouldn’t tip for hotel room service (except at luxury hotels), and you shouldn’t tip at restaurants. If asked for a tip anywhere, it is probably a hustle. You could give him or her 2 RMB to be left alone (it only equals about $0.30), but again, you shouldn’t feel forced.
Tipping is generally expected when dining out at restaurants in England (unless a service charge is added), with 10 percent being standard, and around 12 percent for nicer restaurants. However, unless you have a server bringing you drinks, tips are not expected when grabbing a pint at the pub. In taxis you might want to tip £1, or £2 (about $0.70 or $1.40) if the cabbie helps with your bags, but this isn’t required. When in doubt, just round up to the nearest pound. After checking into a hotel, consider tipping the porter a couple pounds if he or she brings your bags to your room; but if the hotel is bringing food to your room, no extra money is needed.
After finishing your meal in France, it is common to find gratuities (about 10-15 percent) already included in the bill, which will be listed as “prix service compris.” If the service is good, the French will often leave a euro or two ($1.15 or $2.30) as an extra tip, but this is totally at the diner’s discretion. If tip is not included, consider five or 10 percent if the service and restaurant is nice, or a few euros for casual joints. In taxis, simply rounding up to the nearest Euro is generally expected for good service, and you should give a euro or two per bag to helpful hotel porters and bartenders.
Tips in restaurants in Germany are a sign of exceptional service, but no one will question you if you don’t leave one. A service charge is already included in the bill, so anything more than five or 10 percent is excessive. Interestingly, credit card receipts in Germany often don’t have space to write in a tip or adjusted total, so cash is always best. In a pinch, you can simply tell the staff how much you would like to tip prior to finalizing your credit transaction. Tips are sometimes given to cab drivers, housekeepers, food delivery persons, or hotel porters, but this is almost always limited to only a euro or two.
Considering the fact that Iceland is pretty expensive, you should be relieved to find out that tipping is not expected anywhere. Services fees (whether you see them or not) are almost always included in the price already, be it at a restaurant, a bar, in a taxi, or on a tour. What you see is what you pay. However, unlike some other countries, Icelanders will not be offended if you want to offer them some extra krónas. Just remember 1 ISK is only equal to 0.008 USD, so if you want to round up a dinner bill that costs 2800 ISK ($22.84), making it 3000 ISK ($24.48) should be reasonable for you, and will be very much appreciated by your server.
When dining at a restaurant in India, tipping is somewhat common, but the amount is generally small. Don’t tip more than five or 10 percent, with the latter occurring only if the bill is minimal or the restaurant is fancy. Tipping at hotels is expected, but again, very minimal. For one night in a hotel, you can tip about 30 rupees, which is only equal to 45 cents in U.S. Dollars. There are often central tipping boxes in hotels where you can leave a cumulative tip for your entire stay. Slipping 10 to 30 rupees to bellhops is also a nice (and often assumed) gesture as well; however, you do not need to tip taxi drivers — unless they are your hired driver for the day or entire trip. In these cases, about 150 rupees ($2.25) per day is appropriate, with the figure adjusted slightly based on the level of service.
In Israel it is common to tip 10 to 15 percent at restaurants, or 15 to 20 percent for exceptional service. Bartenders usually receive about 10 percent. Outside of the food industry, however, there is almost no tipping. Hotel staff members rarely get tipped, and not only are tips not given nor accepted in taxis, but drivers are more likely to round the fare down as opposed to up. You might want to tip five shekels (or about $1.30) to food delivery workers, but that’s about it.
Tipping is not very common in Italy. It is probably already included in the meal price at restaurants, or might be added in the form of a cover charge (called a coperto — which is now banned is some regions, like Lazio, where Rome is located) or service charge (servizio). These fees should always be stated on the menu, and should never be more than a euro or two. If none of these charges are added (or if they are, but service was exceptional), consider leaving a couple euros as a tip. This will not be expected, but will certainly be appreciated — as will a euro or two for hotel porters or taxi drivers, especially when they help with your luggage.
Unlike in a lot of other countries, tipping is basically nonexistent in Japan (unless added as a service or late-night charge — which is rare), and can even be seen as an insult. Still, the service in Japan is famously flawless. Tourists who tip have even reported being chased down by restaurant staff members looking to return the money they “forgot.” Bellhops and taxi drivers are very proud and fair people too, and they will often flat-out refuse tips (unless they truly believe they went above and beyond), and it’s often best to avoid offering gratuity in most cases, as it can be embarrassing for all parties involved.
As in the United States, servers in Mexico have very low base salaries and rely on tips to comprise most of their income. Keep this in mind when dining out and add 15 percent to most bills for good service. As an aid, the value-added tax (IVA) is generally 16 percent of the bill, so feel free to use the same amount as a tip. You might also want to tip a dollar or two (about 18 or 36 pesos) per round of drinks at bars, or per bag for bellhops at hotels too. A couple U.S. dollars per day for the low-paid housekeepers, especially if you’ve been making a mess of your hotel room, would be appreciated as well. Unless extra effort is made, tips for taxis are not expected.
If converting from U.S. dollars or euros, your money will go far in Morocco, so be sure not to spend too much accidentally. When dining out and spending MAD150 (about $15) on a nice dinner for two with drinks, Moroccans will generally only tip a few dirhams on top. Fine dining and tourist restaurants might add 10 percent to the bill though. For taxis, round up to the nearest five dirhams (so pay MAD25 on a MAD22 fare) for adequate service, and toss 10 dirhams ($1) to a porter who carries your bags at the hotel. Housekeepers aren’t paid very much, so consider leaving five dirhams a night for him or her, which can be slipped into your pillowcase in order to ensure the housekeeper actually receives it.
Some of the best restaurants in the world are in Peru (like Astrid & Gastón, No. 28 on our list of the best restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean 2016), and you should probably tip 10 percent at these places (many will have it included in the bill, so be sure to check or ask) — but generally tipping is not common. You can tip a sol or two ($0.30 or $0.60) at small restaurants, or give the same to hotel bellhops that help with bags, but neither is expected, and no one will feel offended if you leave nothing. There is generally is no tipping in taxis.
Servers in South Africa usually only make minimum wage, so it is customary for customers to add a 10 percent gratuity (or 15 percent if the service is exceptional) to the bill. A five rand (about $0.35) or 10 rand tip per bag is fair for hotel porters, and a few cents for the ubiquitous newspaper vendors is common. Tips are also a regular occurrence at fuel stations, since they are all full-service. Attendants will often offer to wash your windshield or check your oil, and a small bonus of R5 would be greatly appreciated each time. Parking attendants and security guards will often offer to look after your parked car, so slip them R2 as a thank you.
Unless the server really bent over backward for you, tipping generally does not occur in Spanish restaurants, save for some small change. Sure, it’s been said that this occasionally leads to lackadaisical service, but if you’re dining out in Spain, you shouldn’t be in a rush anyway. Consider leaving a euro if you feel really compelled (and do the same in a taxi or when a hotel porter helps with your bag) but it is not required, nor expected.
Tipping in Thailand is uncommon, but appreciated in most cases. A 10 percent gratuity is added onto most restaurant bills, which is absolutely enough in most cases. Feel free to round up to the nearest 10 baht in taxis, which won’t set you back much, as even a full 10 THB is only about 29 cents. 20 THB can and should be given to helpful hotel employees, like porters and housekeepers. As an interesting side note, try to avoid stepping on bills or coins, even if they are blowing or rolling away. Thai currency features pictures of the highly-regard king on them, and figuratively stepping on his face is frowned upon.
When out on the town in Turkey, consider tipping 10 or 15 percent at fancier restaurants if the service was adequate, or five percent at casual restaurants. In taxis, drivers will often round (up or down) to the nearest lira, which can be considered a tip in the former case. If they round up and you don’t wish to leave a tip for some reason, asking for the change is perfectly acceptable. At hotels, porters will be pleased with a TL3 tip (about $1) per bag, or a bit more for luxury accommodations. Heading to a Turkish bath? Plan to tip about 15 percent of your total bill to the attendants, split amongst the numerous people who will bid you goodbye on the way out the door.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai and other parts of the United Arab Emirates are notoriously expensive, so how many extra Emirati dirhams should you shell out? In restaurants, 10-15 percent is common for good or great service, and it is rarely included in the bill — except in the case of hotel restaurants, which generally add 10 percent. For taxis, AED1-3 (about $0.27-0.71) is fine, or as much as 5-10 percent on longer trips. Tip a bit more when bellhops carry your bags, up to AED5 or AED10 ($1.36 or $2.72) total. If you rent a car, you might want to consider a few dirhams for an attendant that pumping your gas, especially when it’s 100+ degrees outside.