This is A Guide to Tipping Around the World. The etiquette of tipping in different countries, can be a source of consternation. The list is as comprehensive as possible, but feel free to add any others in the comments.
Tipping in different countries is one of those things that can make a relaxing holiday much more stressful if you are unaware of the etiquette of tipping in different countries. While people say ‘Don’t stress over tipping,’ the reality is, if you are not used to it, it does become a stressful situation because most people aim to do the right thing in the countries that they visit. As guests of the country that you visit, it is incumbent to have an idea of what happens.
Our Experience with Tipping in America
- 1 Our Experience with Tipping in America
- 2 A Guide to Tipping Around the World
- 2.1 Tipping in the USA
- 2.2 Tipping in AUSTRALIA
- 2.3 Tipping Etiquette in CANADA
- 2.4 Tipping in EUROPE
- 2.5 Tipping in PARIS .. a little different
- 2.6 Tipping in LONDON
- 2.7 Tipping In JAPAN
- 2.8 In SOUTH KOREA
- 2.9 Tipping in THAILAND
- 2.10 Tipping in CHINA
- 2.11 Tipping in VIETNAM
- 2.12 Tipping in the PHILIPPINES
- 2.13 What to Tip in SINGAPORE
- 2.14 What to tip in DUBAI
- 2.15 Tipping in INDIA
- 2.16 Tipping in SOUTH AFRICA
We had spent two months in the USA, and trust me; tipping is a royal pain in the butt. I am sure we over tipped to be on the safe side, but it was always a situation that caused us some angst. Add into the mix that there are different ‘rules’ in the different states in the USA. Some states charge a sales tax, as well as the tip. Some include the tip in the bill; others don’t. Suffice to say, we did not see anything united in the United States of America with tipping.
Pay Service Workers a proper salary
I get it that many workers are not paid an appropriate wage, and they subsist on the tips they receive. Many people in the service industry were sure pleased with Gordon’s and my nervousness, and thus our overpayment on tips. It seems simple to me. Pay workers a proper minimum wage, or more for that matter, and get rid of the reliance on tips. Too simplistic? Probably, but we don’t have to tip in Australia, and it seems to work out just fine. Of course, if we love a meal or the service, we do leave a tip because we want to, not because we will be scared of any reprisals.
You might like to read 9 Reasons We Should Abolish Tipping, Once, And For All
9 Reasons We Should Abolish Tipping, Once And For All
A Guide to Tipping Around the World
There are certain countries where you do HAVE to tip as previously stated, and the United States of America is one of them.
Tipping in the USA
Tipping generally will be 15 to 20% of the bill after you have added the sales tax to the bill. Eg. Bill is $100, the sales tax could be $10, the total is $110. The tip should be between $11 and $22. Simple right? Well no, because not all states have this sales tax, and sometimes the sales tax is already included, and sometimes the tip is already included, and sometimes it isn’t. Complex right? Yes, it is. [clickToTweet tweet=”For a country that has UNITED in their name, as in the USA, they are anything but United ” quote=”For a country that has UNITED in their name, as in the USA, they are anything but United on anything really, and certainly not on tipping.”]
You will find that when you are given change, it will be in $1 notes. This is to help you out with the tipping in the USA. You will end up with wads of $1 notes, but you will quickly give them to anyone, and everyone who looks like they might provide a service.
Bell boys etc: $2-5 per piece of luggage
Man who opens the door for you: $2
The man who walks past on the way somewhere else: – hell, give him a dollar too.
Tipping in AUSTRALIA
Be careful what you read as some information is incorrect. I read an article from a reputed magazine Conde Nast, published in 2015, which stated that in Australia, you need to pay 10-15% to the waiter. This is entirely incorrect and would come as a shock to any Aussie’s and also to the wait staff. PS, to the author who specified ‘waiter,’ we have both female and males, and they are called waitstaff! In Australia, we reward good service not because we have to. Tipping a cab driver, who we call a taxi driver, is not the norm, and only done if the passenger feels like it…generally after a big night on the town and they don’t know what they are doing…and they are eating a kebab.
We don’t tip. In saying that however, if you have a fantastic meal and great service, we show our appreciation by leaving a tip. Often when you go to a coffee shop, café or bar, you will see a jar next to the till. This is not for tips, but generally for a local charity, and if you have no great love of small change in your pocket, and support the local charity, then throw your loose change in there.
As a random aside, I worked at a high-end restaurant as a WAITRESS back in the days, and the tips I received paid my way through University. The caps lock is on ‘waitress’, because I know what I would think if I read that.
Tipping Etiquette in CANADA
15 to 20%, depending on the service. There is also a sales tax to take care of, which is about 10%. Those both have to be added to the cost of the food and the drinks. Please, just tell me how much you want in total, and we will hand it over. In a situation where travellers are on a limited budget, this must be a really great concern. Not only do you have to work out what you can pay for the meal, but then deduct what you will have to give in sales tax and tipping.
Tipping in EUROPE
Tipping in Europe is not expected. Of course, if you like the meal or the service, then it is up to you to show your appreciation.
Tipping in PARIS .. a little different
This is quite funny actually. You don’t have to tip in Paris, or in France. Many people do if they have enjoyed a meal or the service. However, according to a French lady we met on a walking tour of Paris, if the service is really not to their liking, they leave a tip in a foreign currency, like 1000 dong, the Vietnamese currency which equates to 0.063 $AU or 0.044 $US. [clickToTweet tweet=”The Parisian way of saying, that service or food was so bad, that it is worth a smack in the head.” quote=”This is the Parisian way of saying, that the service or food was so bad, that it is worth a smack in the head.”]
However, if you stop at a café for wine or coffee, and you must do both, leave your small change, or nothing or Vietnamese dong depending upon the standard.
If you are an American traveler… People all around the world know that you tip for everything, so you can expect to be treated differently. AKA you will be taken advantage of. That is why so many people wear a flag of their country somewhere on their person. This is not because they are that patriotic, but so that everyone knows that they are not American, and therefore not gouged and charged a lot more than anyone else.
Read: 14 Do’s and Don’ts in Paris
Tipping in LONDON
It is customary, but not compulsory to leave 10-15% of the bill when eating out. However, restaurants often add on a service charge (usually 12.5%). It is polite to tip 10-15% of the taxi fare for black cabs and licensed minicabs in London. But again, not compulsory and I am saying that because I know many people are on tight budgets when they travel.
Tipping In JAPAN
Tipping is not a common practice in Japan, and could even be seen as an insult, as the Japanese pride themselves on meticulous attention to detail and to pleasing the customer.
Read: 25 Do’s and Don’ts in Japan
In SOUTH KOREA
Tipping is not required nor expected in Korea. Most major hotels will add a compulsory 10% service charge to bills. This is on top of the 10% VAT (which is usually included in prices at most stores in Korea, but not in some high-end restaurants).
Taxi drivers will appreciate it if you tell them to “keep the change”, or jandom gajiseyo in Korean, but this is not expected, and they will have trouble understanding if you want to give them anything more than change
Tipping in THAILAND
Officially tipping in Thailand is not expected. However, the reality is that many Thai people work long hours for very little money. I think you need to tip anyone who provides a form of manual service that has helped you out. When you realize that 20 baht is only .56cents in $US or .79cents in $AUS, it does not hurt to contribute a bit. The local people will often hint very strongly that you pay a bit more, and that is up to you. I always do.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The way that Thai people save face and make some money is by engaging in haggling over prices.” quote=”The way that Thai people save face and make some money is by engaging in haggling over prices.”] It is a sport to them, and yes, you will probably pay more than you should, and still grab a bargain. Haggle, but show respect to the people
Read: 10 Do’s and Don’ts in Bangkok
Tipping in CHINA
Generally, no one tips anyone in China, with some exceptions. Yes, Americans will be ‘encouraged’ to contribute more than other nationalities, which I will explain in a minute. Group tour guides, catering to foreigners depend on tip income.
There is an etiquette issue here too. The guide gets a larger tip than the driver. One is more senior than the other. However, if the driver is crazy mad, and remember you have to judge it by the countries standards, or the guide is lousy, don’t tip. That is a clear message to the company that they need to do some professional development.
It has been suggested that for a small group, $10US per day per person as a tip for the tour guide and $5US per day per person for the driver as gratitude for their service. As a group, you should figure this out together, so it is a cohesive tip.
Of course, the more remote the place that you are visiting in China, the more generous you should be.
Now the story of how Americans are walking targets. A friend went on a cruise on the Yangtze. The American passengers were on one deck, and all of the other passengers were on another. He asked a staff member, who he did tip, why was this. The answer was simple. Americans always pay tips. The sub text was, you Aussies don’t.
Tipping in VIETNAM
Tipping is not expected in Vietnam but is very much appreciated. It is similar to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and a lot of Asia, where the wages are so much less than in the western world, maybe excepting the US.
Tipping is much like China for group tours. Again, the driver may seem erratic and beep the horn a lot, but once you have been on the road for a day or two, you will realize that this is the norm. Again, wages are very low in Vietnam, so it doesn’t hurt to leave some extra dong at times.
Tipping in the PHILIPPINES
The Philippines is traditionally a non-tipping culture. Restaurants and hotels usually charge a service fee. Tipping is optional on bills that already include a 10% service charge. That’s the standard practice. Again, much like other Asian countries, consider what we have and many others don’t.
What to Tip in SINGAPORE
Tips are usually included in the bill, but if you want to reward exceptionally good service, you can add what you like. I, however, think that if you are having a drink at a bar where they charge you $36 for wine, they aren’t getting anything. On the flip side, in Little China, India or Little Arab town, drop a tip for especially good food.
Read: Singapore – Not as Sterile as I Anticipated
What to tip in DUBAI
You will find that most service in Dubai is exceptional. It makes you want to tip.Dubai’s government mandates adding a 10 percent service charge to all bills at hotels, restaurants, and bars. Tips are usually divided equally among staff but sometimes go directly to the people who have helped you. Parking valets and porters are the exception—they usually get 10 dirhams, $2.75US or $3.75AU. Use xe.com for currency conversion. Cab drivers don’t expect anything, but rounding up is a good idea. Remember in Dubai they have Lady and Family dedicated cabs..look for the pink cabs
Tipping in INDIA
In most restaurants, 10% is a sufficient tip, which may be added to the bill. You will be encouraged to donate more, but it is up to you.
Tipping in SOUTH AFRICA
Tipping in South Africa is widely practiced. Here is some information on tipping in South Africa, which is from South Africa.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. They ask if they can watch your car while you are going about your business – if you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay.
- In South Africa, we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at gas stations to fill up our vehicle tanks, check oil, water, and tire pressure, and clean the windscreens. How much to tip for this special South African service? From R2 up.
- The going rate for porters at airports is between R5 and R10 per piece of luggage.
- South Africa, you’ll soon see, has a tradition of roadside newspaper vendors. It’s custom to give the seller a few cents – rounding off the cost of your newspaper should be sufficient.
- Hotel porters usually expect a tip of R10 to R20 per porter service.
- Tour guides and drivers, Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides, and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons. Should you need assistance in taking your purchases from supermarket to your vehicle, you may want to show your gratitude to your helper with a small monetary reward.
There are others countries not included in this Guide to Tipping Around the World.
Please add any others to in the comments.
Thanks for writing this! Used to wait tables in the U.S. If I got below a 7.7% tip, I ended up PAYING money out of my own pocket to wait on tables these tables!
At the end of the day, I would tip out 7.7% of my total sales to bussers, food runners, bartenders, support staff, etc… So, let’s say someone tips me $5 on a $100 tab, I was paying $2.70 to wait on them. Wages in my restaurant were around $5.50/hour, for what its worth. Many restaurants in the U.S. have similar tip out policies.
I wish the system would change and restaurants would pay their workers fair wages, but this is the unfortunate situation in the U.S.
Appreciate the post.
Noel, then you would have loved us as your customers. It is an unfortunate system in the US
You have written a well curated post with amazing snapshots. You shared so many great places in your post. Loved this post!! Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful tips.
Where the f* have you heard, that you do not tip in Estonia? Was about to read this, but this doesn’t make any sense.
tipping is voluntary. Do a Google search; go there.
Thank you for your tips on tipping. They were helpful. My only comment being that Americans are more united than the news would have you think. Don’t believe everything you see on TV. Still a pretty great place.
we spent 2 months there and loved it…except the tipping. People were so polite.
I really like what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and reporting!
Keep up the superb works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.
Thanks for that. We love encouragement.
Tipping in U.S. isn’t that complicated. This will please anyone: 15-20 percent of the restaurant bill (unless bill already includes a service fee, which is usually done for large tables, to keep people from stiffing the poor server). A very small tip if service was bad, none if you feel insulted.
At airport, $5 for curbside check-in. $5 if somebody actually carries your bags or wheels you through the airport (like my elderly Mom). At hotels, $5 if you have to use a valet for parking. $5 a bag if somebody carries your luggage up to your hotel room. Best to carry your own luggage, save the tip and avoid the usual ridiculous conversation with the bell hop about how the air conditioner or heat thermometer works.
Oh, and if you go on an all-day trek or any kind of guided experiences, it’s good to give the guide a tip if you liked the service. $5 to $10 should do it, since others are also chipping in. Best rule: anything is better than nothing. $1 to your barista, for instance.
Thanks for this. Yet different states have different methods, where some have sales tax included and others don’t. I would rather our system in Australia – pay people properly and then tipping is unnecessary.
This is a great and very useful post. Liked that you included so many places. It’s really very handy. As an American, it is hard not to tip when visiting other countries who don’t do the practice.
I feel for you American’s you tip everyone who walk passed you. That is why Americans are exploited as travelers.
very nice post , really superb .
Thanks for the tipping guidelines, as an Australian I always struggle with this when travelling.
I tend to work on 10% of the bill, unless the tip has already been added on then they nothing 😉
It is so tricky, I think we were more towards the 20%. Too much.
Thanks! I never get used to this. In Norway it is not customary. If you want to, sure, if not, not a problem.
It seems that when I wrote this guide to tipping around the world, that it is mainly the US, where you have to.
Great post Paula! It’s natural to think that tipping is the same all over the world. Thanks for opening my eyes to the reality that the tipping protocol varies by country. I featured your post on my weekly “This Should Go Viral” series on my blog! Check it out.
Thanks Kheesha, tipping is one of those pesky things that can stress people out – us in included
what thorough guide. very handy! I take tipping in the US for granted because I’m American. What bugs me is traveling abroad and having service charge, bread, linen charge, etc. tagged on to my bill. The service charge strikes me as an imposed tip and the other two ought to be baked in to the prices.
This is true. Australia has what is called the GST, added to most goods and some services; this is the Goods and Services Tax. While there was a lot of objection to it, at least it is in the bill when we get it, and you don’t have to calculate it. I had actually forgotten that we pay GST until you mentioned it, and maybe that is why I found tipping in America, painful.
Tips about tipping, I love it. That is one thing I often forget to research when I travel so thank you. I usually wait to see the porter stand awkwardly waiting patiently for us to click that he’s expecting that little special handshake!
I hate how they just stand there. We panic and give them everything. This was a good post to write for us as well.
We were told that tipping is not customary in Switzerland by our hotel porter, so that was quite helpful to know. We don’t tip in Europe as a norm. In South Africa where I live I refuse to tip the parking attendants at the malls as they drive me crazy! Unless of course they help me with getting the dog food into my car. Great post 🙂
I think if they carry the dog food to the car, the probably deserve it (smiley face)
I am not sure that I agree with you saying that you don’t need to tip in Australia. David and I always tip at restaurants – usually 10% – and I think that that is fairly common. Only if the service has been truly awful would we not tip. I do agree that the US is difficult. The thing I hate most is that the waiters are soooooo friendly and chatty and I always suspect them of doing this to increase the tip then looking at us with daggers if we fail to meet their tipping expectations. I much prefer Oz where you get reasonable service without all the added ‘I’m your friend for the evening’ rubbish and then you leave a reasonable tip. May we need to start educating America to the Aussie way of doing things. Mind you for true tipping hell try travelling in Egypt. It is just a nightmare. Even the guy who accidentally bumps into you on the street expects a tip.
and I disagree with you Lyn. Very few people tip in Australia. Yes, people can choose to tip if they have a wonderful meal with great service, but it is not expected and nor is it the norm. Considering that we actually pay our wait staff decent wages, and even better wages on public holidays, then it really is not something that most people do. Yes, we also found that we were the most important people in the world when we ordered a meal in the US, but their wages are total carp, and therein lies the issue.
I totally agree with you Paula. The US need to overhaul their wage system and pay their waitstaff better rates. Tipping is so confusing and the expectation of a 20% tip is huge in my opinion!
Yes, that is the problem. Bad wages, and the expectation of 20%, which I have to say because we were so confused we did give them. They were so sorry when Gordon and I left to come home 🙂
What a great guide and quite comprehensive for each country (I also love the little funny notes ie French leave other denominations if they hate the meal). Your photographs are wonderful!
Thanks Noel, the Parisian lady told us that they are very particular with their service, and therefore like to express themselves accordingly if that service is not up to scratch.
Agree this can be a very confusing topic. I am surprised that a publication such as Conde Nast was providing the incorrect information (I guess writers and editors were not researching properly). In the United States, it is complicated as you mentioned. In my case, I always check the bill to see if the tip was already included (a lot of people do not do that). But, some places expect a 15% and other a 18%. I prefer when they include a tipping guide with the bill.
I was surprised that Cande Naste published that about Australia. Trust me, as Australians tipping is not done, unless by choice.
What a useful guide! It’s really intersting how different cultures see tipping. It would never occur to me that some might see it as an insult but so good to know. As an aside, the food picture from South Korea looks so tempting. I want to reach into it and grab some!
It would be terrible to insult someone by tipping them when it is an insult. It is too confusing, and yes the US owns this issue.
It really is a minefield – in the UK out of London 10% is the standard, but often they try to take it through the credit card payment… and I wonder if it ever gets to the staff, we always try to leave cash instead. What I do begrudge in London (fancy) bars is the expectation that when you order a drink at the bar there is a service charge on top – isn’t that part of the standard cost to pour a 10 second drink…?
I agree, it is a minefield and one open to abuse, as we see time after time in a lot of places we travel to.
Great “tips.” 🙂 I honestly HATE tipping in general. I prescribe to the Japanese’s philosophy – why should I tip for great services that, as a customer, I deserve anyway? There have been a movement here (some restaurants in the US) to abolish tipping and the results have been an increase in restaurant business. Who invented tipping anyway…
Yes, I am with the Japanese philosophy too. I heard about some states in the US wanting to opt out of tipping. This is where the US is a little unusual; nothing is very ‘united’ in what they do. But I hope they do get rid of it everywhere soon.
We’ve just come back from Switzerland where you don’t tip as service is included – mind you the bills are pretty high! I didn’t realize there were different tipping customs in different US States, thanks for the tip (couldn’t resist the pun!)
I couldn’t believe that there was no consistency, and I would rather just get a bill with everything included. Love Switzerland, it is expensive.
What a useful guide to publish. I’m always lost when it comes to tipping. I was born in Germany where one might be generous and leave some small change behind. Now I reside in Australia where tipping isn’t really common place either.
Thanks Juergen, our lives are easier that is for sure. I want to enjoy a meal, and then not have to work out some convoluted mathematical and diplomacy skill at the end. Tell me what I have to pay upfront, and one that I know I am paying upfront, and then I will choose if it deserves a little bonus. Tipping around the world can be stressful.
Tipping in the US drives me insane. We’ve actually been hassled before by waitstaff who said that the tips gets divided up with the bar staff so wanted 20% for themselves and 15 for the others. I don’t mind paying for good service but so often we don’t get this. I hate feeling as though I have too. In France it is automatically included in the price. In Australia I rarely tip. (I’m Australian). Service has to be exceptional for me to tip.
Tipping in the US is a nightmare, and i am sure it is open to corruption. The sooner they get rid of it the better for tourists, and for themselves as well. I also will only tip in Australia if both service and food is really outstanding, and if I have paid an arm and a leg for it anyhow.
I had a waitress run after me because we left a tip she considered too little. But I explained that we left just under 10% because a) the service was sub-standard with a 20 minute wait for drinks to arrive and over 30 minutes to get our meals, b) the food wasn’t really good either, and c) half cold when it arrived (but no waiter to get our attention and send it back). We found it generous to tip at all in this case!
My next tip: “Be nice to your mother.”
This is why tipping sucks. The compulsory payment of a % when you do not get what you deserve and then get harassed is ridiculous. I think “be nice to your mother’ is always the ultimate punchline.
It’s funny…you mention that tipping was stressful in the US (and as an American, I agree – I personally hate it). But the other way around is equally stressful, especially when you are in a “no-tipping” country but a tip line stubbornly keeps appearing on credit card receipts. (WTH? that should be illegal). To add to the stress level, instead of leaving the table as is customary in the US, the waitperson hovers over you while you sign and you’re wondering “OK, I’ve read that you’re not supposed to tip in this country. But there is a tip line and this person is standing next to me. If I don’t tip, is this person going to get mad at me and make a scene?” So, you tip something. During our 3 week vacation in Australia, I was leaving small tips (5-10%) because I received conflicting information. Most sources on the internet said “no tipping” but some said “small amount for good service”. In the early days of our trip, when I didn’t tip, it seemed like I got the icy glare or the server seemed offended (perhaps it was my imagination). So I tipped small amounts until about midway in our trip when we were served by the owner of a small restaurant in QLD. She was very friendly and we had a nice back/forth about our countries (she enjoyed visiting Hawaii and California). I used the occasion to inquire about her position on tipping in Australia and she said “no tip…unless you really feel compelled to do so, but nobody is going to think less of you if you don’t tip.” She further explained that the minimum wage was quite high compared to the US so people didn’t see why the waitstaff should get more money (this also explained the higher-than-we-expected restaurant and attraction prices). After that exchange, I felt comfortable enough not to tip. As you mention, there is also a double-standard for Americans in many countries without a tipping culture…people may expect tips from Americans (or know they can guilt us into doing it) because previous ill-informed Americans have tipped them. It stinks.
I see your point. It is rude to have a tipping line, and a hovering person glaring you down. It does make you feel as though you had better pay it. In Australia, staff are generally paid a lot more than in the US. We do leave something if the meal AND the service is fantastic, but otherwise no we don’t. Australia is expensive, sorry about that. We did find the tipping culture to be unusual for us as Australians when we visited the US, and I do believe that Americans are walking targets for being ripped off.
Fantastic “tips” Paula. And the photos are wonderful too. This is such a helpful post for so many people. I have bookmarked it and will reference it agin (soon I hope). I have never tipped the guy who opens the door for me.
Thank you. It was so tricky for us in the US, to ‘do the right thing’. I think many people probably cried when we left. We erred on being too generous because of so many conflicting and confusing info.
As an Aussie in London I think it’s worth mentioning how many businesses in London have been outed recently by the media for taxing staff on tips.
Many mid-high end establishment reportedly taking a slice of 15% or more for Admin fees or to prop up management salaries. I was outraged and annoyed to think my gratuities are going backinto the corporate monster.
Know where your tips are going, and in the UK, tipping is OPTIONAL, despite it being on the bill they can’t make you pay it.
Thank you for adding this. People need to know what is happening. It sucks.