Heading overseas is an exhilarating time as you embrace new cultures and traditions from across the globe. In many countries, you have to adapt to new customs and traditions like tipping or paying a gratuity, which is seen as a gift of money given to someone for performing a good service. Knowing when or how much to tip can be daunting, so our personal travel managers have pulled together a cheat sheet for you to review before you set off on your next overseas adventure.
When to tip?
The gesture is not about generosity, but about gratitude. Tips should go only to people who are considered to have helped you in some way. This includes services where someone has gone out of their way to do something nice, such as carry your bags or valet park your car. Tipping is always done at the end of a transaction or hand over of goods.
One of the most common questions asked is, “What if the service is terrible, are we still expected to tip?” While it is customary to provide some form of tip, this is not mandatory. If you’ve experienced bad service, instead of leaving no tip, speak to the attendant or their manager about the situation. Addressing the issues in a friendly, casual manner will hopefully improve the overall experience and provide the attendant with some helpful feedback.
Here are some handy tipping guidelines for five top international holiday destinations.
In the USA, tips in the service industry are expected, so be sure to have a large stash of $1.00 bills on hand. Whether you’re dining in a restaurant, having a manicure, catching a cab, or getting your bags delivered in a hotel, make sure you show your appreciation for the service. When wining and dining, wait staff should be tipped between 15-17% of the final bill, however depending on the level of service and the restaurant, this could be more or less. Be sure to check whether the gratuity is included in the bill or whether a tip is required on top, as some venues already include a ‘tipping fee’.
Across Europe most restaurants include a 12.5% service charge, but slipping a small additional sum of money to your waitperson for outstanding service is always much appreciated.
With an average 16,000 Australian visitors to Bali per week, the island getaway is a hot tourist destination. While tipping in Bali is not compulsory, when you are treated to good service it is best to leave a small tip. The same rule applies in Thailand and Malaysia. In Hong Kong and Korea a small tip left in ‘western’ restaurants is appreciated.
However, tipping in Japan and China is frowned upon, in fact in parts of China it’s illegal because of the embarrassment caused to those tipped.
In Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela a tip of 10% is recommended. Across Ecuador and Peru, gratuity is automatically added to the restaurant bill, but you should add a further 10% for excellent service. Never leave a tip on the table – always ensure it is given directly to the right person.
Most staff earn a basic wage, however tips are welcome for porters, safari guides and drivers. Generally 10%-15% is expected at restaurants and bars. If you are planning a safari expect to spend an additional 10% on tips.
Keep in mind, tipping etiquette may vary depending on the country and the venue. Consult your personal travel manager or find one near you to find out the appropriate tipping procedures for your visited country.