Updated: Aug 20
When in the United States, tipping 15-20% is encouraged and appreciated, and more can be added for a job well done. It is not the same for the rest of the world. In this guide, I have outlined my general guidelines on tipping around the world!
Dining in Europe is a unique experience, where you go to enjoy the company you are with and delicious food. A dinner could last upwards of 3 hours with a few drinks, appetizers, and desserts. This completely changes the structure in which servers are compensated, which means that tipping is not mandatory in most European countries. That’s not to say that you’ve server wouldn’t appreciate a few extra Euros for an excellent job. In addition, in European countries, most restaurants add in a “service charge,” which is generally 10 or 15% of the bill. This is usually thought to be the tip. When you have your morning coffee in a café, it is customary to round up to the nearest dollar, to the server.
Tread lightly when tipping in Asia. In Japan and China, it can be seen as offensive. Like in Europe, there will most likely be a service charge added to your bill, and if you feel like you must tip, place it in an envelope so that it can be received as a gift instead of an obligation. This goes for Australia and New Zealand as well. It is not customary to tip and will be refused in most situations. Whereas in other parts of Asia that are more tourist-centric, such as South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are more accepting of tips when visiting more western establishments. Finally, if you are traveling to the Philippines, tipping on average 10% at most establishments that offer a service is becoming more commonplace and even compulsory.
When traveling to Egypt, it is expected to tip an additional 5 to 10% on top of the standard 12% service charge. This baksheesh, tipping, is even likely when engaged in a conversation. Children will even come over to request a baksheesh. Tipping is also generally expected when traveling to the rest of the Middle East. The typical tip is anywhere between 15 and 20% on top of any service charge.
Central and South America
Now heading to Central and South America, tipping is generally a review of the service similar to the rest of the world. The average tip for the region is about 10%. In Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and, Costa Rica a service charge may be added to your bill, in which case it’s not necessary to tip unless your service was extraordinary. If you are in Chile, a unique tipping situation is to give a few pesos to the person who packs your groceries into a bag at the supermarket.
My best overall tipping advice for when you travel is to tip in the currency widely accepted in the country and directly to the server. If you tip on a credit card, the server will most likely not receive the tip. In addition, round up the bill to an even amount.
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