When a handed a bill at the end of our meals, many of us are stuck scratching our head. How much is too much of a tip or too little? The etiquette for tipping throughout the world differs from location to location and even among cultures. With so much variation in tipping habits across the globe, it’s no wonder there is so much confusion. We asked our travel experts to investigate and this is what they found. This is the Travel Experts Guide to Tipping
Tipping around the world
As many as 1 in 3 travelers are unaware of the etiquette of tipping abroad. Many end up under-tipping or do not tip at all (bad idea). In some situations giving a tip would be considered rude. The tipping economy is estimated to be about $25 Billion Dollars a year which is twice the United States’ annual budget for NASA.
About 1/3 of Europe generally accept a 5% to 10% tip. While in the Ukraine, it is OK not to tip. Most European countries require at least a 10% to 15% Tip. There are a few exceptions. In France, a service charge of 15% is normally added, which you can see itemized on your bill. Leaving a few coins on top of this amount is customary. Germans are said to be the world’s best tippers. In Germany you are expected to tip between 15& and 20%. Also, in Germany it is customary to hand your tip directly to the wait staff, as it’s considered rude to leave it on the table. You’ll find most Swiss restaurants include a service charge of 15% in their bill; which has been the norm since 1970's. There is currently no obligation to top above that.
North and Central America
In The United States and Canada the standard tip is 15%. For better service it is customary to tip anywhere from 20% to 25%. In Belize the standard is closer to 25% , while Mexico and other Central American tips range from 15% to 20%. Tipping is essentially mandatory in North and Central America. One thing to look for in Mexico, some restaurants will automatically add a 20% tip service charge that you cannot refuse to pay.
When in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Virgin Islands expect to leave up to a 25% tip. Cuba, the Dominican Republic and all other Caribbean islands require 15% with only a few minor exceptions. Across the Caribbean, US dollars are accepted as tip, except in the French Caribbean where Euros are preferred. In Jamaica, most all-inclusive resorts prohibit tipping; however restaurants will expect a tip even if a service charge is included. If using foreign currency as tip, use note rather than coins, as coins are difficult to exchange.
Most of South America requires a 10 to 15%. Ecuador and Venezuela require a 5 to 10% Tip, but French Guiana and Suriname require no tip what so ever. In Peru, small restaurants do not expect a tip; however, tips are always appreciated. In Brazil, a standard service charge of 10% will always be included. If you see a sign that reads “No se Cobra cubierto” It means we do not require a tip. You will see this sign often in Argentina.
Most of the countries in Southeast Asia require no tip at all. In Japan,it is best not to tip, being polite is expected but it is not customary to tip. Do not be offended if your tip is refused. Thailand on the other hand is the complete opposite, Tips are expected and must be in the 20%-25% range. Most other south east countries will be happy with a 10%-15% tip.
Middle East and Western Asia
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan require no tip and it is generally considered rude to tip in these countries. All other Middle East/West Asia countries require a 10 to 15% tip with one notable exception, Kuwait, where a 20 to 25% tip is mandatory. Do NOT ask for a takeout bag in Saudi Arabia and most Middle Eastern countries as this is rude and something usually given to the homeless. Most Restaurants in Qatar include a service charge in the bill, but this is not always the case so it’s best to check before you pay.
Mauritania is the only place in Africa where a 20 to 25% tip is mandatory, the rest of Africa is happy with a 10 to 15% tip. Keep in mind that in Africa, most wait staff relies on tips to supplement their wages. In Egypt, the term for tip is baksheesh and it’s usually given in the hand to whoever is serving you. Do not leave money on the table as that is rude.
Australia and all of Oceania require no tips of any kind. Australia has the highest minimum wage in the world. Tipping is not mandatory, but can be done without issues.
We hope this tipping guide will help make your travels a lot easier. Feel free to share this tipping guide with anyone traveling so they do not over/under tip, or in the case of japan, insult the host. Knowing what is customary in the country you are visiting will make your experience more enjoyable and show your respect to the host country. We at the travel expert wish you safe and happy travels!