To tip or not to tip? That is the question. Tipping in the U.S. is fairly black and white, but the rules get complicated — and incredibly varied — when traveling abroad. If you don’t know the guidelines, you’re likely either throwing away money or overlooking the people who rely on your tip as part of their income.
We’ve rounded up tipping etiquette for some of the most popular destinations overseas, from bars and restaurants to hotels and taxi drivers, to save you from any potentially awkward situations.
In general, travelers in Australia do not need to tip service providers; nothing extra should be added to your bill and there’s no shame in asking for change. The reason tipping isn’t customary Down Under is Australia’s significantly higher-than-average minimum wage — service charges aren’t necessary to supplement workers’ incomes.
If you do insist on leaving a tip, 15 percent is more than sufficient for waitstaff, you can give $1 per suitcase to bellhops, leave $1 to $5 per day for housekeepers, and give $10 to $20 to the hotel concierge. But there’s no guarantee your tip will be accepted.
In many Austrian restaurants, a service charge is included in the bill, and it is customary to round up the total when paying. You can leave several extra euros or simply say “danke” (“thank you”), which is the Austrian equivalent of “keep the change.”
Europe is pretty lax about taxi-cab tipping; simply letting a driver “keep the change” in that scenario can usually suffice. That said, you should give one to two euros to hotel porters and leave a 10 percent tip at restaurants if a service charge isn’t automatically tacked on.
Travelers in Brazil are not expected to tip unless a non-standard service was provided. Many bars and restaurants add a 10 percent service charge at the bottom of a bill, but patrons are not expected to pay it.
In general, if you’re receiving a good exchange rate during your travels to Brazil, any extra gratuity you can offer service staff is greatly appreciated, even though it’s not expected.
Tipping in Canada is very similar to the United States. It’s customary to tip 15 to 20 percent in Canadian restaurants, at least 10 percent to taxi drivers, and a little extra to hairdressers, manicurists and hotel staff.
Good news travelers! Tipping in Chile is easy and cheap. Tourists usually don’t need to tip taxi drivers, and all other service workers should generally get a small tip for good service. Simply rounding up the total is typical, but a $5 tip is considered very good and $10 will ensure you receive five-star service.
The biggest thing to remember is travelers should only tip in pesos (except in hotels) and especially avoid foreign coins — exchange houses in Chile won’t change them.
No one tips for services in China (it’s actually illegal to tip taxi drivers in many areas) with one major exception: tour guides, who make the bulk of their income through tips and the commissions they earn during shopping stops along the tour.
In bars, restaurants and coffee shops, a 10 percent service charge is typically added to the bill. Travelers can pay more if the service was exceptional, but it’s not expected. A caveat: Many Tamarindo restaurants will add the 10 percent service fee, but say “service not included” at the bottom of the menu, or waiters might add “tips appreciated” on your bill. Again, tourists are not required to leave extra, but additional gratuity is appreciated.
In Croatia, tips are almost always included in the bill, so it’s not necessary to leave extra. If you are dining with a very large group, you might want to consider topping off the service charge — but again, it’s not mandatory.
According to French law, all bills in cafes and restaurants carry a 15 percent service charge — not paid to the waiter, but to the owner of the establishment, who pays his staff. As such, tipping in France (that is, leaving additional gratuity on top of the automatic service charge) isn’t obligatory — but it’s certainly appreciated by French servers, who the BBC reports make only a little more than minimum wage.
Even though service charges are included in the menu prices at German bars and restaurants, it’s typical to round up your total bill or leave an extra 5 to 10 percent tip. It’s also very important for travelers to know they need to tell the server to add the tip to the final bill — it’s not customary to leave money on the table after you pay.