Tipping around the world

How to tip, when to tip, how much to tip: this is an area fraught with confusion and potential gaffes for even the most seasoned traveler. But don’t worry. We’ve rounded up top tipping tips to spare you from embarrassment.

United States – Keep digging deep

No question about it, you tip when in the States. It’s about 10% for taxi drivers, hairdressers, and manicurists, while concierge, valet, and porters should receive a tip in keeping with the service they perform, such as a dollar per bag. When ordering at the bar, leave the change for one drink. In restaurants the norm is 15–20%, although it’s important to check your bill, as larger parties will have an automatic 15% gratuity.

France – Reward good service

By law, service is included in all restaurant bills. But if service is good, most people will leave a few euros to show their appreciation. Hotel porters are tipped around €1 per bag, housekeepers up to €2 per person per day, and the concierge anywhere from €10–50. Taxi drivers and hairdressers should be tipped around 10%.

Germany – Make it a fair cut

In restaurants, the rule is generally 10% of the bill, although if it’s very high, 5–6% is acceptable. Taxi drivers also get 10%, and a few euros to the maid, as well as the doorman and bellboy or anyone else who assists you in a service capacity. If you get a haircut, it’s €1–2 for the person cutting, and €1 for the person who washes your hair.

United Kingdom – Please the bartender

While many restaurants automatically add a 12.5–15% service charge, this is not universal, so check your bill and tip accordingly. At the bar you’re not expected to tip, although a pound or two will be appreciated for big rounds of drinks – as will offering to stand your bartender a drink as a show of appreciation. Taxi drivers should be tipped 10%, while you only tip hotel staff if they attend to you personally.

Egypt – If in doubt, do it

Tipping is a way of life in Egypt, with the exception of taxi drivers. The rule is this: tip anyone who assists you, guides you, or does anything else that you require. That means waiters, tour guides, even the bathroom attendant. As most people in the service and tourist industries work for low wages, they are dependent on tips. If you are tipping a group, slip the tip into an envelope and give it to the person in charge.

In Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, China, and Switzerland, tipping is either banned outright or frowned upon and not expected. 

Scandinavian Traveler


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