Unfamiliar with the local tipping etiquette while travelling? Our simple tipping guide explains who and how much to tip around the globe – no calculator needed
Deciding whether to treat yourself to an amazing four course meal in Florence or a luxurious stay in a five star Parisian hotel? Difficult. Deciding on how much tip to leave your waitress or the hotel porter? Next to impossible. Most of us want to show our appreciation to the wonderful wait staff, friendly taxi drivers and helpful hotel employees that we encounter during our travels by leaving a small gratuity. But how much is too much and worse: how much is not enough?
Luckily, we did the math for you so all you have to worry about is making the most of your trip. Our tipping guide explains how to tip in a local restaurant, hotel and taxi, as well as the best practices when it comes to gratuity in 32 of the most popular countries searched on momondo. For a more detailed country by country breakdown, scroll down to find the complete momondo Tipping Index.
Most hotel and restaurant staff throughout Europe are paid a fair wage and do not rely solely on additional tips to make a living. Of course, this doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate an extra sign of gratitude every once in a while. In many countries, locals round up the bill to the nearest euro (or local equivalent), or leave a few spare coins on the table if the service was good. When tipping throughout Europe, it’s best to use cash in the local currency rather than leaving the tip on a credit card.
While Scandinavia is notoriously expensive, tipping is not very common and any additional gratuity is often included in the individual prices already. While a casual dinner for two or round of beers with friends can sometimes feel like a heart attack in the making when you finally see the total bill, at least you know the price upfront.
Asia and Oceania
Tourists stick out like a sore thumb in comparatively expensive Hong Kong when it comes to tipping, as it is not a local tradition. At the same time, tipping in restaurants in the Philippines and Indonesia is generally not common, but taxi drivers, guides and security guards all expect a tip. In Thailand, the tip is already included as a service charge and you are not expected to leave anything more. In some cases, you might encounter a waiter or waitress who is familiar with tourists and will hint at or suggest a tip, however this is considered rude in most countries and it’s best to just smile and be polite if you prefer to not leave a tip.
Australians are pretty easy going when it comes to tipping — tip if you want, don’t tip if you don’t want. You are by no means obligated to tip and the general consensus is that it’s no hard feelings if you simply pay your bill without adding an extra gratuity. If you do feel like being extra generous, leaving a few dollars is more than enough and will be greatly appreciated.
Americans tip for just about everything. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, valet — you name it. In many states, service oriented work is often underpaid and employees tend to rely on tips to make a decent living. So if you don’t want to come off as a rude and inconsiderate tourist, make sure to leave a minimum of 15-20% at restaurants and bars. Handing porters at least $1 per bag and leaving housekeepers $2-3 per night or $5 total at the end of your stay is the norm and will be very appreciated. If you see a tip jar at the bar or local coffee shop, you are not obligated to drop in a couple bucks or spare change. If you do however, guaranteed you will be greeted with a giant ‘Thank you’ and an extra friendly smile.
Unlike its northern counterpart, tipping in Southern America is less habitual. Good service should always be greeted with a smile and gratitude, though there is less of an obligation on tourists to pay extra. You’re likely to be paying for a lot more in cash, so rounding-up to the nearest clean note is always accepted. Be careful with transportation: it’s not uncommon for taxi drivers and the like to charge you what they deem a “compulsory service charge” for getting you from A to B. In this case, be polite, and instead only offer what you are comfortable with.
With its fairly large expat community, increasing amount of tourists and local residents, there are varying opinions about tipping in the Middle East. While many locals simply pay the 5-15% automatic service charge added to their bill, many visitors prefer to include an additional tip of anywhere up to 15%. Oftentimes at hotels, service charges go directly to the hotel rather than the staff. If you receive excellent service, it is a nice gesture to hand any gratuity directly to the person who assisted you.
While tipping culture can vary per country and per situation, you should never feel bad about being generous. So if you feel like leaving a little something extra for the waiter who wrapped your leftovers into an elaborate tin foil swan, or the housekeeper who left an extra chocolate on your pillow, go for it! Having too much karma is never a bad thing. Keep our simple tipping guidelines in mind next time you travel to a new country and the locals will definitely be thankful you stopped by for a visit.
How to tip in the world’s most popular countries:
(Percentages reflect the total cost of the bill)
|Hong Kong||0-10%||0-10%||0-10%||0-10 HKD|
|United Arab Emirates||0-15%||0-15%||0-15%||0-8 AED|
|United Kingdom||10-15%||0-10%||10-15%||1-2 GBP|
|United States||10-15%||15-20%||15-20%||1-2 USD|
*In countries with rates starting at zero, tipping is either 1) generally not common and therefore it is acceptable to leave no tip at all or 2) often automatically included in the bill as a service fee of between 5-15%
**Hotel estimates are per bag rates for hotel porters and per day rates for hotel housekeepers
***Local currency rates are based on EUR to the local currency exchange rate as of October 2016