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To tip or not to tip: Expert advice on tipping abroad

Here, we pull together some handy tips on when and where to tip outside of the UK.
By Editorial on Feb 24th, 2018   @freelotteriesuk

Tipping is common practice in the UK. It’s a great way to show your appreciation for good service and provide staff with a little extra money. Some places now add a service charge to the bill automatically, meaning your tip is already taken care of - though you do have the right to ask for this to be taken off if the service hasn’t been up to scratch. All in all though it’s easy to get used to the customs of the country you live in. However, when travelling, tipping can often be a confusing practice, with many wondering whether it is rude to tip, how much is enough to leave and who they should be leaving the tip with.

To help you make the right tipping decision when traveling, Louis Bridger, general manager at International Currency Exchange, has pulled together some handy tips on when and where to tip outside of the UK.


Where to tip: USA, Europe, and Australia

Where not to tip: Switzerland, China

Why? When staying in a hotel, giving a small tip during your stay to cleaners, waiters and porters will encourage staff to ensure you receive great service throughout your stay. Keep in mind, if you look after them, then they will look after you, in return.

How much to tip: This depends on the staff member in the hotel. Spare change for housekeeping, a few extra pounds for porters at the start of your holiday and rounding up a bill for bar and restaurant staff throughout your stay will help establish a great relationship.


Where to tip: USA and India

Where not to tip: Japan and China

Why? When travelling in a foreign country you may rely on taxis and the drivers for guidance. Be polite, agree on an upfront price and give them an additional tip, and you may find they help you explore a new place or offer some helpful hints to enable you to make the most of your holiday destination.

How much to tip: Depending on your budget and the length of the taxi journey, the best practice is to either round upon a bill or to give the driver an additional 5-10 per cent of your final fare.


Where to tip: USA

Where not to tip: Asia, Europe

Why? Although tipping at the airport isn’t the norm in the UK, it is in America. If you arrive at an airport and receive extra care and attention, such as help carrying and checking-in bags by porters and shuttle bus drivers, then offering a small tip will be greatly appreciated.

How much to tip: In the US, $5-10 will be about right for some airport assistance, in other countries some spare change will be enough.

Restaurants and cafes

Where to tip: USA, Europe, Middle East, Australia

Where not to tip: China, Japan, Korea, French Polynesia and Hong Kong

Why? Tipping in restaurants and cafes is a common custom worldwide. If you have received prompt service and great food or drinks then it is common to provide an additional tip on top of your bill. However, in some countries, like China and Japan, it is seen as an offense to give a tip because it is felt that good service is standard and should be expected. Always remember to check if a service charge has been included in the bill, so that you don’t end up tipping twice.

How much to tip: How much to tip in a restaurant or cafe can vary by the country you are visiting and their customs. A guide is 10-20 per cent on top of the original bill, but if you feel more or less is deserved then you should feel free to pay what you feel comfortable with.

Tour guides/trips

Where to tip: USA, Europe and the Middle East

Where not to tip: China, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia

Why? When booking a tour or excursion you will be paying a tour company for the administration but, on the day, it will often be a local tour guide that shows you around. At the end of these trips it is customary to tip the tour guide as they have provided you with a unique experience. Remember though that if you don’t feel the trip was up to scratch, you shouldn’t feel under pressure to give an additional tip.

How much to tip: As with restaurants, a guide of 10-20 per cent on top of the original cost is a good place to start.