Your Sure-Fire Guide to Tipping While Abroad
Travelling abroad is not always easy or straightforward. There are many etiquette rules that we may not be aware of until it is too late. One such category revolves around tipping. How are you supposed to know the amount to tip, how the tip should be made and if a tip is even considered normal? You might be surprised to learn that in some countries, tips are hardly ever required. To take the guesswork out of this process, let's have a look at some basic rules regarding tipping etiquette. The best way to look at this is to break down these practices in a country-by-country manner. You may very well save yourself a bit of money as well as embarrassment!
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
- The Russian Federation
In Spain, tipping is not normally required but it is still a good form of manners. If you are only ordering a single drink from a local pub, a tip is usually seen as a bit "over the top". However, a dinner at a friendly restaurant should be accompanied by a small tip. There is no set amount here. It is generally a good idea to leave approximately five per cent of the overall bill.
Thankfully, you will not have to be concerned with these etiquette rules if you plan on visiting Switzerland. In this country, the tip is legally required as a portion of the bill. This can be seen on menus; many display that the gratuity is included within the price of food or drink.
The Japanese have always embraced a warm and yet formal culture. So, you need to be very careful in terms of tipping etiquette here. Tips are not required. In some cases, you may even have the money returned to you. This is not rude at all; it is actually a form of courtesy on the part of the Japanese. A nice "arigato!" (thank you) works quite well instead.
Like Switzerland, any tipping charges will normally be displayed on the menu. Still, keep in mind that these prices may also include the use of a table or even the silverware in a fancy establishment. If the meal and service are extraordinarily good, an extra tip will always be appreciated.
Tipping is considered mandatory for most services if you are visiting the United States. While percentages can vary, it is not entirely out of the question to expect to pay an additional 17 percent on top of the normal balance for a meal. Tipping etiquette here is a bit extreme, for not leaving a tip is considered to be quite rude. However, recall that the employees of even the fanciest restaurants will survive more on tips than on their hourly wages.
The Irish are an extremely friendly race and therefore, the etiquette rules here are somewhat relaxed. While never mandatory, it is a good idea to leave a tip that is approximately ten percent of the total bill. You may very well get invited to another round of pints!
Service charges are included within the cost of the meal, but it is still customary to leave between five and ten per cent in the form of a tip if the service has been phenomenal. Unlike some other countries such as the United States, it is not common for customers to leave money upon the table when leaving. So, be certain to tell the attendant that this money is intended as a tip.
As with some other countries that we have already mentioned, tips are included in standard service fees in Iceland. So, tips are normally not expected unless you are extremely impressed with the services that have been provided.
Much like the United States, tipping etiquette is very important in India and it is considered to be rude if normal employees of the service industry are not thrown a bit of extra cash. The only instance when this will not apply is in regards to taxi drivers.
France is known for its rather complicated laws and in terms of tipping etiquette, this is just as true. Under French regulations, all restaurants have a built-in 15 percent surcharge on any bill. Interestingly enough, this is not immediately paid to the waiter. Instead, this amount is added to his or her salary when they are paid.
According to Chinese customs (much like in Japan), the etiquette rules generally frown upon tipping here. In fact, it is illegal for any taxi driver to receive or ask for a tip (this should be kept in mind as a tourist). The only instance when this is not the case is in reference to tour guides. Similar to waiters in the United States, the majority of their income is derived through tips.
Most bills include a ten per cent fee that is devoted towards a standard "tip". However, this is only considered optional and you are not obliged to pay for this amount. It is wise use your own discretion here. If the services were truly outstanding, tipping etiquette normally dictates that you should give the waiter a bit of a bonus.
Regardless of the state of the Greek economy, it is often the case that the restaurant will not allow their staff to keep any tips that they have received. You have two choices here. You may choose to discretely pass a tip along. Still, it is better to ask the manager beforehand whether or not tips are allowed at any particular establishment. Tourist-related companies many not necessarily follow these etiquette rules while more traditional locations will.
Canada is quite similar to the United States in terms of tips. Most hotels expect a few dollars upon leaving if you have been happy with their service. In restaurants and bars, 15 percent is thought to be the standard amount. You can choose to tip 20 per cent if the service was truly exceptional. Finally, it is common for food delivery services to expect a tip. The amount will fall between five and ten per cent.
In most parts of the United Kingdom, it is not common to tip in bars and pubs. However, you can always say something like "please have one for yourself" or round up the bill to the nearest pound. In terms of hotels, tipping the doorman or chambermaid a few pounds tends to show courtesy and you may even be treated slightly better. When eating out, a service charge of 12.5 percent is normally added to a bill when there's 6 people or more. In more exclusive restaurants, this service charge is added irrespective of the number of diners. Keep in mind that this rule is not universal and should you be confused, never be afraid to ask. If this service charge is included, you will not be expected to tip anything extra.
If you are planning on dining out during your trip to Russia, it is good to know that the normal tip rates are anywhere between 10 and 15 percent of the entire cost. Give this in cash directly to the waiter; it is not uncommon for many restaurants to not offer you the ability to pay with a credit card. You may also give a tip to a porter or a bellboy if you feel that it is warranted.
So, we can now see that these etiquette rules are quite different depending upon where it is that you are planning to visit. Never forget that each culture will view such service charges in an entirely different way. This is a handy how-to guide so that you are able to leave the best impression possible during your visit.