Here’s a small guide to tipping in different countries so you can be sure you leave the right amount when you’re dining out abroad.
There are as many ways of traveling as there are individual people in the world. Some people like to get up at dawn so they can do as many things as possible during the day, while others prefer to wake up a little later since they’re “on vacation, after all’. Some people want to plan their every step down to the minute while others prefer to improvise. There are travelers who will visit every single museum while others spend their time looking for less conventional activities, trying to ‘go local’ as much as they can.
Yet, despite all these differences, there is one thing that all travelers have in common: that uneasy feeling when you get up from the restaurant table or leave a taxi. Should I leave a tip? And how much?
So here is a list of 13 different tipping practices to make your exit as classy as possible during your international dining adventures.
1. The United States
In the US, restaurant service staff do not receive a standard salary. Instead, they live off the tips of their patrons. That’s why leaving a tip is an absolute necessity. If your waiter was attentive, polite and friendly, leave them a tip between 18% and 22% of the pre-tax amount of the total cost. You should tip a taxi driver about 10% of the fare. Though, in New York, taxi drivers expect more…as much as 22%.
2. The UK and Ireland
In these countries, the final price might already include a service charge, so you should always check your bill. If it doesn’t, you should leave an amount equal to 10% of the bill. However, it’s not necessary to tip the bartender at a pub.
In Turkey, tipping is not mandatory, but it is always appreciated, especially at the finer restaurants, where the rule is to add 10-15% to the bill. It’s important to remember that the tip should always be left in cash.
4. The Netherlands
A service charge is always included in the bill here, but in the high-class restaurants, you should leave a tip ranging from 5% to 10%.
5. France, Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany
In these countries, the service charge is included in the price, so you don’t need to leave a real and proper tip—maybe just some change as a thank you to the waiter. In France, this is called a pourboire.
In Portugal, you usually tip a few cents at the bar and a few euros after a meal in a non-touristy place. However, the service charge is not always included in the fancy restaurants or in establishments that cater to tourists, so you should always leave an additional 10% in cash.
In India, always carry some change in your pocket. At a restaurant, the rule is to leave a 10% tip if you were especially happy with the service. However, 5% is sufficient if the bill is already running high. You don’t have to tip your taxi driver, but when you’re at a hotel you should give the porters and cleaning staff a tip of 10-20 rupees, which is approximately 25 cents.
In Mexico, you should read the bill carefully before you get up and go. As a rule, a predetermined tip percentage is already included on the bill. This propina is usually around 10% of the total amount. For taxi drivers, round up the final fare. At hotels, you should leave 50 cents as a tip for each piece of luggage the porter carries to your room.
In Brazil, tips are seen as an important and expected supplement to the service staff’s monthly salary, so you should leave a tip that is at least 10% of the total bill.
In Sweden, the bill does not include a tip but leaving one is not mandatory. It is, however, certainly a nice way to thank the staff for their excellent service. So, if you want to leave a tip, you should make it 5-10% of the bill.
11. Australia and New Zealand
In Australia, the service is included in the price. However, you can easily spot jars where you can leave some coins or bills as a tip for the staff.
In China, leaving a tip is not customary, and it might even be refused unless the venue is an upscale restaurant with extraordinary service. Things are somewhat different in cities like Beijing and Shanghai that have been influenced by globalization. Here, they have borrowed some Western ways and customs, one of which is adding a 10% service charge to the bill.
Similarly, tipping is not a well-established custom in Japan. Actually, handing someone money is considered demeaning, and a waiter might feel insulted if a customer personally hands him or her a tip. Instead, you should toss some change into the communal tip boxes found in various establishments.