Avoid making a tourist faux pas with this handy tipping etiquette guide.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you probably understand how awkward things can get when you’re not sure how much you should tip for someone’s service. In some countries (e.g. the US), tipping is a must, while in others (e.g. Japan) it’s almost insulting to offer a tip.
Not knowing a country’s tipping etiquette is an easy way to commit a tourist faux pas and offend the locals, so for your own sake, read up on your destination’s tipping rules before you get on your flight.
Here’s an infographic from Wikimedia Commons that sums things up nicely. Though not complete, just by looking at the graphic we can easily see that attitudes towards tipping vary greatly around the world.
This map shows tipping customs at restaurants in different countries.
no tips at all, insulted if tipped
no tips at all, surprised/confused if tipped
no tips at all, neutral/grateful when tipped
rounding-up the bill, not expected
rounding-up the bill, expected
5-10%, not expected
~10%, not expected
10-15%, not expected
15-20%, expected, not tipping is considered unethical
The variations of tipping etiquette all over the world can be confusing, so we can’t blame you if you’re still feeling a bit lost. To help clarify things, here are some general rules you should keep in mind when travelling.
1. Location matters
Tipping is more common in big cities than in small towns. People in urban areas also tend to expect larger tips.
2. Rule of thumb: always tip
There are a few countries where tipping is generally frowned upon (like Japan and Singapore), but in other countries, 10-15% of your bill will be much appreciated.
3. As much as possible, tip in the local currency
Many countries accept US dollars as currency, but if not, always tip in the local currency. Try to carry the equivalent of $1 or $5 with you at all times to avoid the awkwardness of rummaging through your purse for a small enough bill.
4. When in doubt, ask
The best people to ask are the locals, so if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing, ask your concierge or the local tourism office how much is normal