A Guide to Tipping Around the World

You saved money for travel, but what about tips?

How we talk about money varies from culture to culture. This is most obvious when you’re traveling around the world and the check comes and you have to decide how much to tip—if at all. Tipping etiquette around the world is different than in the United States, and while some countries expect an American-sized tip, most places won’t require as large of a tip or it can even be considered rude.

It might seem odd to tip less when you’re abroad. But in a lot of countries, servers are paid a living wage and don’t rely as heavily or at all on tips as a main source of their income. This world tipping guide can help you understand when and how much to tip. So, you’ll not only save money on travel. You’ll also save yourself from a potentially awkward situation when the check arrives.

Do you tip in Europe?

Tipping can vary from country to country in Europe, ranging from not tipping at all to tipping 15%. As a general note, places that cater to tourists have grown to expect an American-style tip of 15% or more. If you find yourself in that situation, use your best judgment.1, 2

  • Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland
    In these countries, service fees are included in the price of food and drink, so there’s no need to tip.

  • Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece
    When you’re in these countries, round up your bill or tip between 5% and 10%. This is probably the most common expectation in Europe. If you’re at a more casual café or restaurant, you can leave your change or maybe an extra Euro on the table. At a more formal restaurant, tipping between 5% and 10% is appropriate.

  • France, United Kingdom
    These countries expect a tip of anywhere from 10% to 15% at restaurants. Be sure to look for a service fee on your bill—this means the tip has already been included, so you don’t need to add an additional tip.

Do you tip in Central and South America?

Like the United States, tipping is common in parts of Central and South America. You usually don’t need to tip as much as you would back at home. If you can, it’s always best to leave your tip in the local currency, not on a credit card or in U.S. dollars.3

  • Brazil and Costa Rica
    There are several countries in Central and South America where the tip is included in the price of the bill, or culturally it is uncommon, so there’s no need to tip.

  • Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua
    In parts of Central and South America, it’s expected that you tip around 10% for good service. Sometimes there will be a service fee built into the bill. If that’s the case, feel free to tip another 5%–10% if you received exceptional service.

  • Mexico and Peru
    There are a few countries in this region where waiters supplement their income with tips like they do in the United States. However, you're not expected to tip the same as back home, so 10%–15% is best.

Do you tip in the Middle East?

Tipping culture in the Middle East varies greatly based on where you’re traveling. Some countries even have laws about it, while others have a tipping culture that is very similar to the United States.4

  • Dubai and Israel
    Some of these countries have a government-mandated service fee included in the bill. Although it’s customary to leave a couple of notes of the local currency for the server.

  • Egypt and Jordan
    It’s customary to tip between 5% and 10% of your bill. Even if you notice a service charge added to your bill, you should still tip.

  • Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
    In these countries, you should tip just like you would in the United States. Between 15% and 20% for good service is expected.

Do you tip in Asia?

Culturally, tipping in Asia is very different than in America. While there are a couple countries where you’re expected to tip, in some parts, particularly East Asia, tipping is considered offensive. If you’re planning on traveling there, you’ll save some money on your food.5

  • China, Japan, South Korea
    Pleases don’t tip—it isn’t just unnecessary, but can also be interpreted as insulting. That’s because the wait staff is paid a regular wage and their income does not depend on tips, so leaving a tip may be viewed as an insult to them or their employer.

  • Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore
    In these countries, a tip of 10% is often included in the bill. However, it’s customary to leave your change or add a few extra bucks.

  • India, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam
    In parts of Asia, you should check your bill first because sometimes the tip will already be included. If it’s not, you should tip around 10% of your bill.

Do you tip down under?

Tipping in New Zealand and Australia has become a little confusing in recent years. Traditionally, it was a no-tipping culture, but now it’s starting to become more like the United States and parts of Europe. Generally speaking, you don’t need to tip if you’re at a casual place like a coffee shop or bar. However, if you’re at a nicer restaurant, tipping between 10% and 15% is considered polite. As a general rule, trust your gut and tip what feels appropriate.6

Do you tip when it’s all-inclusive?

When you’re relaxing on a cruise or at an all-inclusive resort, you should be focused on relaxing instead of worrying about what to tip. Fortunately, usually your tip is either included or it’s added automatically and you pay at the end. If you’re not sure, check with the cruise line or resort before you arrive so you can get cash out of your checking account before you leave.7

When you're planning and saving for your travel abroad, consider the tipping culture of each country you’re visiting. Then you’ll know the real cost of those French croissants or Dim Sum you've been dreaming about. Not only will this help you prepare financially, but it can help you assimilate to the culture. If there’s ever any doubt whether you should tip, you can always ask your tour guide, trip adviser or maître d’.

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