Do You Tip in Other Countries? Understanding Global Tipping Etiquette

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

Traveling exposes you to a variety of customs and practices, especially when it comes to gratuities. You might wonder whether it's necessary to tip while you're abroad. Find out in this guide.

Tipping customs vary significantly by country. In some countries, tipping is expected and part of the culture, with percentages similar to the US. In others, it is not customary and can even be considered rude. Always research the specific tipping etiquette for the country you are visiting.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping practices differ widely across the world, with some countries expecting it and others considering it rude.
  • It's important to educate yourself on the local tipping customs before traveling.
  • Proper tipping etiquette is a gesture of appreciation consistent with cultural norms.

Understanding Tipping Culture Globally

When you're traveling, it's important to understand the local customs, especially when it comes to gratuities. Tipping can vary greatly from one country to another, and what's considered generous in one place might be seen as offensive in another.

Region Suggested Tip Additional Information
North America (US & Canada) 15-20% of bill Expected for good service
North America (Mexico) 10-15% in cash Even if you pay the bill with a card
Europe (Germany, Ireland, UK) 5-10% Not a strong tipping culture
Europe (Italy, Spain) A little more than 5-10% Varies by establishment
Europe (France, Scandinavia) Check for service charge Often included in bill
Asia (China, Japan) Not customary, small gratuity at high-end places Can be considered impolite
Asia (Thailand, India) Small tips becoming more common For services
Middle East (Egypt, Jordan) 5-10% Customary on bills
Middle East (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) 15-20% Similar to US practices
South America (Brazil, Argentina) 10% Expected in restaurants
South America (Chile, Peru) Smaller tip, check for service charge Varies by establishment
Africa (Morocco, South Africa) Around 10% Standard in restaurants
Africa (Tanzania) Less expected, appreciated for good service In less touristy areas
Australasia (Australia, New Zealand) 5-10% for exceptional service Not entrenched but welcomed

Tipping in North America

In the United States and Canada, tipping is very much expected. For good service at restaurants, you should tip between 15% and 20% of your total bill. In Mexico, it's customary to leave a 10% to 15% tip in cash, even if you pay the bill with a card.

Tipping in Europe

Europe has diverse tipping practices. While Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom don't have a strong tipping culture and usually, a 5-10% tip is adequate, countries like Italy and Spain might expect a little more. However, always check your bill, as some places include service charges, especially in France and Scandinavia.

Tipping in Asia

Tipping in Asia can be quite complex. In China and Japan, tipping is often not practiced or can even be considered impolite. However, leaving a small gratuity at high-end restaurants or for tour guides might be appreciated. In contrast, there's an emerging tipping culture in places like Thailand and India where small tips are becoming more common for services.

Tipping in the Middle East

The Middle East varies when it comes to tipping. In Egypt and Jordan, a tip between 5% and 10% on your bill is customary. Whereas, in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, the tipping practices are similar to those in the USA with 15% to 20% expected for good service.

Tipping in South America

In South America, the approach to tipping can differ by country. Brazil and Argentina typically expect a 10% gratuity in restaurants. In Chile and Peru, a smaller tip is customary, but always check your bill as, similar to Europe, service charges may be included in some establishments.

Tipping in Africa

Tipping across Africa is varied; in destinations like Morocco and South Africa, a tip of around 10% in restaurants is standard. In less touristy areas, such as Tanzania, tipping is less expected but always appreciated when you're particularly pleased with the service.

Tipping in Australasia

In Australia and New Zealand, tipping isn't as entrenched in the culture. While it's not expected, a tip for exceptional service is always welcomed. Around 5-10% in restaurants or cafes would show your appreciation for exceptional service.

General Tipping Guidelines

When traveling abroad, understanding the local etiquette for tipping can enhance your experience and show appreciation for services received.

Restaurants and Bars

In many countries, tipping at restaurants and bars is customary to reflect the quality of service. Typically, you'd add 10-20% of the total bill to your payment for the servers or waitstaff; however, checking the bill for a service charge is crucial, as it may already include a tip. In some European countries, leaving cash directly to the server ensures they receive their due tip.

Hotels and Accommodations

Hotels and accommodations often expect tips for various services. For porters, €1 to €2 per bag is standard in parts of Europe, while housekeeping staff could be tipped €2 to €5 per day. A tip for the concierge can vary, but $10 to $20 is often appreciated for exceptional service.

Transportation Services

Tipping drivers, especially taxi drivers or private car services, often entails rounding up to the nearest whole amount or adding 10% of the fair. For tour guides, a tip that reflects your satisfaction with the tour, ranging from 10% to 20% of the tour cost, is typically expected.

Personal Services

If you're utilizing personal services, such as hairdressers or spa treatments, a tip between 10% to 20% of the service cost can convey your gratitude. It's best given directly to the service provider to ensure they receive it.

Tipping Etiquette and Practices

When you're traveling, understanding the local tipping etiquette is essential to ensure respectful and appropriate interactions.

Understanding Local Customs

Every country has its own tipping customs. In Japan, for instance, tipping is not customary and can sometimes be viewed as insulting. Conversely, in the United States, tipping is much more expected, and service staff rely heavily on tips for their income. When you travel, take the time to learn the local customs regarding tipping to avoid any cultural faux pas.

Cash or Credit?

Typically, cash is the preferred method for tips, especially in places where tipping is customary but not legally required. It ensures that your tip goes directly to the person providing the service. Paying tips in local currency is also important, as it may be inconvenient for the recipient to exchange foreign money.

Service Charges and Gratuities

Some countries include a service charge in the bill, especially in Europe. This means you're not obligated to leave extra money for a tip, but small gratuities for exceptional service are always appreciated. Ensure to review your bill to see if a service charge has been added before deciding whether to tip additionally.

How Much to Tip

The appropriate percentage to tip can vary greatly. In many European countries, leaving a 5-10% tip is generally sufficient, while in the United States, 15-20% is the norm. For services like housekeeping in a hotel, a couple of euros or dollars per day is a helpful guide. Remember, the amount you tip reflects your appreciation for the service provided.

Tipping on Travel

When you're globetrotting, understanding the local tipping customs is key to smooth interactions with service providers like tour guides, porters, and drivers.

Planning Your Trip

Before jetting off, research tipping practices for your destinations. Refer to guides like Reader's Digest for a rundown on countries where tipping isn't customary. Remember, what's standard at home might be taboo abroad. Prepare small bills or change in the local currency to handle tips without hassle.

Tipping on Tours

Your tour guide is your gateway to a memorable travel experience. If they've done an exceptional job, a tip is a generous way to show appreciation. Guidelines vary: 10%-15% of the tour cost is typically standard where tipping is practiced. For group tours, consider $1-$2 per person for half-day tours, or double that for full-day excursions.

In some places like Japan, as noted by The Points Guy, tipping your tour guide might be seen as offensive, so it's crucial to be culturally informed.

Tipping for Transportation

Whether you're in a taxi, using a rideshare app, or relying on a shuttle service, tipping your driver for good service is common courtesy in many countries. Around 10% to 15% of the fare is standard, but always round up to the nearest convenient amount for ease. However, if you're using a service that includes gratuity in the price, there's no need to tip extra. When engaging porters at airports or hotels, a tip of $1-$2 per bag is generally acceptable, depending on the country.

Published: 01-02-2024

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