Who and how much should you tip when abroad?
Tipping etiquette varies from country to country – in the US it can feel like you have to tip everyone generously, while in Japan tips are never expected.
US establishments usually don’t include service charges in the bill. In restaurants you typically add 15-25 per cent, with high-end restaurants tending towards 25 per cent. If a waiter or waitress performs phenomenally well, the tip could climb to 30 per cent.
The general rule for tipping bartenders is US$1 per drink. Porters receive US$1-2 per bag and taxi drivers are usually given 10-15 per cent. Coffee shops or fast food restaurants may put tip jars next to the cash register; however, do not feel obliged to leave a tip. Overthe-counter services generally are not rewarded with tips. Hairdressers, masseuses and other personal services are typically tipped 15-20 per cent.
Unlike the US, many restaurants and some cafés and gastropubs (pubs serving quality meals) in the UK add a service charge of 10-12.5 per cent to the bill. Where this is added, no tip is expected. Otherwise, it’s customary to tip 10 per cent.
In pubs, tipping bar staff is not common. On occasion, you might buy the bartender a drink. As for taxis, it is customary to round up to the nearest pound and let the driver keep the change, or tip 10 per cent if it’s a long journey. Porters tend to receive around £2 (US$2.7) for their service, maybe £5 (US$6.8) at a higher-end hotel.
Tipping customs across Europe are broadly similar to the UK, with slight variations from country to country.
Tipping in most Asian countries is less widely practised than in the US, UK or Europe. In China it’s very rare, though upmarket restaurants may garner a meagre 2-3 per cent in tips. Westernised cities such as Hong Kong and Macau incorporate 10-15 per cent service charges, so there’s no need to tip on top of that. In most other cases, such as taxis or hotels, no tip is given. However, in Hong Kong, bellboys usually receive HK$5- 10 (US$0.6-1.3) per piece of luggage.
Restaurants in India usually accept 7-10 per cent tips, but the larger the bill, the lower the percentage. For example, on bills above Rs1,000 (US$15), a 5-7 per cent tip will suffice. Restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai often incorporate service charges, negating the need to tip.
In hotels, one usually tips for the entire hotel staff, generally 5-7 per cent and usually put in a tipping box near the front desk. Sometimes, if there are no tipping boxes, bellboys will expect a small tip. There is no need to pay porters, autorickshaw or taxi drivers more than the agreed fare.
Tipping in Japan is never expected. Offered tips will be refused and may be considered offensive. The only exceptions are tour guides. Although it is not obligatory, tour guides do accept tips and will not be insulted by the gesture.
Most countries in the Middle East will expect to see 10-15 per cent tips at restaurants. Cities such as Dubai typically add 10-15 per cent service charges to the bill, though it is still customary to tip an additional 5-6 per cent on top of that.
Taxi drivers are not usually tipped, but some hotel staff may expect around 10 per cent. In Israel, the standard tip for porters is six shekels (US$1.7) per bag and four shekels (US$1.1) per day for housekeepers.
South Africa has an informal system of tipping car guards, R2R5 (16-40 US cents), to assist you with parking and discourage thieves as theft is so prevalent. Tipping at restaurants in South Africa is usually around 10 per cent, but it is customary to tip 10-20 per cent to bartenders. Hotel porters get between R10-R100 (US$0.8-8) and in cabs the total cost is rounded up to the nearest R10 (US$0.8).
Neither Australia nor New Zealand have strong cultures of tipping. Tipping is never socially required, so it’s all up to the customer. It is slightly more common with taxis and hotels than restaurants – A$2 (US$1.5) might be given to cab drivers or bellhops.
Tipping tour guides is common, generally 10 per cent of the cost. Hotel doormen tend to receive equivalents of US$1-2, and taxi drivers accept tips, though it’s not expected. In countries such as Paraguay and Peru service workers are not paid much, so tipping is always appreciated. In restaurants, if there’s no service charge, tips are around 10 per cent – higher or lower depending on service.
In the US it can feel like you have to tip everyone generously, while in Japan tips are never expected