Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tipping Abroad

Tips for Tipping Abroad
Most travelers have at some point run into an awkward situation trying to figure out whether or not to leave a tip.  In this post, I'll give you some general regional guidelines, tips for when a tip is expected or where it might be rejected.  And, keep in mind, both in America and elsewhere, if someone isn't serving you, a tip generally isn't required.

Central & South America - Typically hotels and restaurants add a service charge, if not, 10% tip is a general rule for good service.

Europe - Service charges (or value added tax = VAT) are typically included in bills and on purchases.  Make sure to read the bill carefully, because in touristy areas the tip can sometimes be hidden or hard to recognize, causing you to leave 10-15% extra on top of what might have already been included.

Asia/Pacific - Special care needs to be taken in this part of the world.  In Japan, for example, tipping is often considered rude, though tourist-specific services, such as a tour guide, will commonly accept gratuities.  China is another non-tipping society, though nicer hotels and restaurants will include a service charge in your bill.  If you feel the need to tip, do so discretely.

Middle East/Africa - This region can be a bit more complicated.  In general, tipping is very much appreciated and never considered rude, but tips are generally in small denominations and always in the currency of the country in which you're traveling.

My advice - If you can afford to take the trip, don't be stingy on a tip (unless you are somewhere it is considered culturally rude).  Unlike in America though, 10-15% is often enough.  If you'd like a more specific country-by-country list, check out Conde Nast Traveler's article on this same topic.


  1. It's good to learn about Japan especially. Also, we Americans need to let other countries know that a take-out place such as Starbucks or a donut shop might have a tip jar sitting where you pay, but people should not feel obligated to give a tip. Yes, good service at a SIT
    -DOWN restaurant does deserves 15-20%.

  2. Thanks for the link to the specific countries!