International Information for Global Tipping

A Guide to Global Tipping

Every traveller would know how tipping can be tricky. What might be enough for a concierge in Singapore can possibly be downright insulting to a bellboy in Paris. The wrong tipping etiquette can potentially spoil your holiday; you would not want frustrated taxi drivers or angry waiters to look you in the face and tell you how stingy you appear to be.

Tipping is common in many countries, and while it is expected in major cities, it is simply not done in others. The rules of tipping also is ever changing; what you found out was appropriate on your last visit to your favorite foreign country might just be inappropriate on your next visit. So how do you deal with this? Below is a tipping guide that can help guide you through the most generally accepted tipping etiquette.

Restaurant Tipping

While restaurant tipping can vary from country to country and from one person to another, there is a general restaurant tipping that you can stick to. All you have to do is check the menu to see if some form of service charge is included. (This rule only applies to restaurants with waiters and waitresses, and not in food counters or fast-food) If it is not, a tip of 5 to 10% of your total bill is normal. If it is, tipping may be unnecessary.

Global Tipping Information

Tipping in Asia and the Pacific. In Asian countries, you must be careful that your tipping gesture is not misunderstood to be an insulting act. Across most Asian countries, tipping is not really essential but is highly appreciated (except in countries like Japan). In many countries, tipping is done to get things done and for better service. It is better to observe what the locals do and follow suit.

Tipping in Middle East and Africa. While giving tips will generally not be regarded as insulting, it might not be necessary. It is safest to follow what the locals do.

Tipping in Central and South America. Many hotels and restaurants add a service charge into you final bill, so tipping may not be necessary in a majority of cases. Tipping in America is sometimes automatic and generous, such that they are almost always expected. A dollar per luggage to the bellman and the luggage handler, a dollar for the housekeeper, a dollar or two to the taxi driver and doorman hailing the taxi and a few dollars for the concierge is usually accepted as the normal tipping behavior.

Tipping in Europe. Tipping in Europe is generally more modest than in America. Many restaurants and hotels in Europe already add service charges to your bill. In most cases, additional tip would not be necessary. However, if you are satisfied with any service you avail of, you can leave them with a few euros. In service charge-free restaurants, you can safely apply the 10% rule (or leave the change from your bill). A dollar per bag will also be appreciated by porters and bellboys.

There are no strict criteria or fixed rules when it comes to tipping. However, it is best and safest to follow as the rest do. Of course in the end, the amount of tip you give would depend on your own tipping philosophy, resources and circumstance.