Tipping While Traveling: The Rules Of Tipping

Tipping While Traveling
Featured image: BySilent / Public Domain

Even the most economical tourist is aware of the fact that all restaurants and hotels in the world have their own rules about tipping. Traditions vary from country to country, so it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with these rules in order to evade putting yourself or your hosts in an awkward situation. Everyone has a different opinion and interpretation of an acceptable way to show your appreciation to the staff. Don’t forget that too much or too little can be sometimes offensive. The most common tipping mistake is to not tip.

As an illustration, if you try to give a tip in a luxury hotel in Japan, the staff will see your gesture as rude and arrogant display of wealth. On the other hand, if you miss giving a tip in any restaurant in the United States, you probably won’t be welcome anymore among the staff who met your requirements. While such rules may leave travelers in doubt, experts say there are few basic rules about tipping. In many places in the world, if you are in doubt, they recommend it is better to give something than nothing. In most cases, the practice regarding the tip can be broken depending on the area where you are. If you are, for example, in Europe, the fee for services is usually included in the price of a meal. It is customary to leave another 5-10% for gratitude, especially in top restaurants. However, if the price of services isn’t included in the bill, add another 15% of the total amount. It is common to leave 10% to taxi drivers, while hotels carriers usually get a euro per bag. The experts agree that it isn’t necessary to leave a tip in any hotel in the world for an advice on what to see in the country you’re in, but always show them how much you appreciate it. In Europe, it is enough to leave a euro for each service, such as, organizing transportation to the airport or booking a restaurant. However, if you require something special, it is expected to leave at least 15 euros, depending on your request.

Asia is a world unto itself and tipping customs vary from country to country. For example, in Japan, leaving a tip is offensive in every situation, while in China, restaurant staff expect at least 3% of the total price of food or beverages. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong a tipping amount increases up to 15% if the service fee isn’t included in the bill. You shouldn’t leave tips for taxi drivers in China, while in Hong Kong is considered mandatory. Hotel carriers should be given two to three dollars per bag in both countries, especially in more expensive hotels, while three to five dollars is enough for simpler requirements. This amount should be automatically increased if you are more of a demanding guest.

In America it is not always clear to whom you should leave a tip. In some exclusive bars that amount rises up to 20%. To taxi drivers in major cities like New York or Chicago you should leave 15% of the fare, but in smaller places it is enough to leave a small change. It is desirable to give a dollar to the bag carrier; however, if you are staying in more exclusive hotel, carriers are expecting two to five dollars per bag from you, even more for heavy bags. For hotel services, such as organization of transport to the airport, it’s customary to leave three to five dollars. If you are demanding and want to have a last minute dinner reservation, or during the weekend when it’s crowded you should give at least 20 dollars for this service. In South America, the taxi fare should be rounded, while in South Africa drivers expect a tip of 10% of the fare. Indian taxi driver don’t expect any tip.  It is enough to leave a little more than the invoice amount in a restaurant, up to 10%. Hotel carriers will be satisfied with an equivalent of a dollar per bag.

Featured image: BySilent / Public Domain

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