Navigating how to tip while on vacation can be stressful and confusing. In the US, tipping is second nature, but that’s simply not the case in the rest of the world. In Japan, for instance, leaving a tip for the waiter is considered an insult. The rules are less straightforward in many other countries. In fact, tipping etiquette tends to be vague or so varied that you’ll often find there is no set standard.
In many countries in Europe and Asia, servers won’t be insulted if there’s no tip left after a meal. In other places, it’s most common to tell your server to “keep the change.” That means that as a tourist you’ll often have to use your own judgement when leaving behind a tip. Some factors to be aware of: the minimum wage in the country you’re visiting, the atmosphere of the restaurant, and the quality of the service.
However, no matter how loose the tipping culture is in the country you’re visiting, it’s almost always a considerate show of appreciation to tip at least 10 percent. If you find yourself truly floundering, consult this handy guide to (almost) every country where it’s customary to leave a tip.
You aren’t expected to tip in Argentina, but it is nevertheless an appreciated practice. There’s no standard tipping amount, and you won’t find a space on the receipt to leave a tip if you’re paying by card, so be sure to carry extra cash with you. While a service charge might be added to your bill, an additional 10 percent tip for your server is appreciated. At bars, tipping is not required, so it’s up to you if you want to leave a few extra pesos behind for your bartender.
Tipping at bars in Australia is very uncommon, though you should feel free to leave a couple dollars for a large or complicated order. Tipping in restaurants is becoming more common, though it’s still not widespread. It’s absolutely not obligatory, but if you’re going to tip, 10 percent is acceptable.
Like many countries in Europe, Belgium has adopted a “keep the change” attitude to tipping, meaning you can round up to the nearest whole number and simply leave that amount as the tip. A more generous tip, however, will certainly not be rejected and will be considered a show of appreciation for good service.
It’s standard practice to leave a tip for your waiter in Brazil. Like many other countries on this list, a 10 percent gratuity is often included in your check, but if not, you can leave a small additional tip. Another word to the wise: Sales tax is included in the menu prices, not added to the bill at the end of the meal.
Tipping etiquette in Canada is similar to that of the United States. Gratuity is almost never included in the check. Fifteen to 20 percent is standard, but around 18 percent is expected for good service. In Quebec especially, it’s considered impolite to leave a restaurant without tipping. You should also leave a tip for bartenders — around a dollar for every drink.
6. The Caribbean
Throughout the Caribbean, a service charge of around 10 to 15 percent might be included in your bill, so be sure to check for that. Adding an additional tip is up to you. It won’t be expected but, depending on your experience, would likely be both polite and appreciated. Otherwise, it’s customary to leave a 10 to 20 percent tip depending on the quality of service.
In Chile, the norm is to tip your waiter 10 percent. However, if you’re dining in a big city or at a restaurant that serves mostly tourists, you might be expected to tip more — around 15 to 20 percent. If the restaurant has added a 10 percent service charge to your bill, you can always feel free to add an additional tip.
At fast food restaurants and street vendors, it’s not appropriate to leave a tip, as is the case around much of the world. However, in China it’s also not necessary to leave a tip at most sit-down restaurants. There is one exception to the rule: If you’re dining at a high-end, formal restaurant, leaving a tip of at least a couple extra dollars (regardless of the quality of service) would be acceptable.
It is standard practice to tip at restaurants in Croatia. Tips are an important source of income for waiters, so while it’s acceptable to leave at minimum a 10 percent tip, you are always welcome to leave more. The gesture will be appreciated. If you want to be extra sure that the tip goes to your waiter, leave it in cash. At bars and coffee shops, a couple of kuna on top of the check is fine.
Danish law stipulates that any service charge, including a tip for individual waiters, must be included in the bill. A small additional tip, around 10 percent, is appreciated but not expected in Denmark.
In Egypt, tipping is known as backsheesh, and it’s expected from both locals and tourists. Tips are a sign of appreciation for good service and a satisfying meal. Often, a service charge of around 12 percent will be added to a restaurant bill but not always. Tipping an additional 10 percent on top of the service charge is considered polite.
You’re not obligated to leave a tip in France, but it’s considered a gesture of gratitude. The majority of restaurant bills will include a service compris or a 15 percent service charge. However, your waiter will appreciate your generosity if you do choose to leave a small additional tip. The amount you choose to leave is determined by the level of service; there are no set guidelines for tipping. Generally, five to 10 percent is considered sufficient.
There are no hard and fast rules for tipping in Germany. If in doubt, a good rule of thumb is that five to 10 percent is considered polite. If you’re enjoying a more casual or smaller meal (like a beer and a pretzel) it’s common practice to round up your bill (for example, if you’re bill comes out to 28 euros, pay 30 euros total). Be prepared to pay in cash; many servers in Germany carry change purses and will make your change directly at your table.
In Greece, you may notice that the restaurant menu lists two prices: The true cost of the dish, and the price with a service charge, ranging from 13 to 18 percent (that’s the price you’ll be paying). Restaurants in Greece will also include a “cover charge” in your bill — that’s a fee for the water and bread and butter. A service charge of 10 to 15 percent might also be included in the check. Leaving an additional five to 10 percent tip on top of that is customary, or you can round your bill up by a few euros, as is leaving loose change on the table for the person who clears your dishes.
Tipping isn’t customary, but no one will consider you rude if you leave a tip. Small gratuity fees are included in most restaurant bills, as well. And while there is a strange rumor circulating that it’s rude or even illegal to tip in Iceland, that’s a complete myth. A couple extra dollars left after a meal is perfectly acceptable and appreciated in establishments that tourists frequent.
You might see a service charge on your bill in India, which means that a tip isn’t necessary. If a service charge hasn’t been applied, you should still tip. At sit-down restaurants, it would be considered impolite to leave without tipping. Leave anywhere from a 10 to 15 percent for your server, depending on the service.
Tipping 10 to 15 percent is considered good practice at restaurants and bars in Mexico. For exceptional service, tip 20 percent, just as you would in the United States. However, it is not necessary to tip at street vendors.
Tipping everyone who provides a service is standard procedure in Morocco. In higher end restaurants, the average tip is about 10 percent. In cafes and other more casual eateries, it’s customary to round up to the nearest whole number from the check’s total and leave that as a tip. Often times, you’ll pay the bill directly to the waiter at your table, so you can hand off the tip then or leave it on the table.
A tip is not expected in the Netherlands, but if you’re feeling generous you can round up the bill up to the nearest whole euro. If you’re paying in cash and decide to leave a tip, simply tell the server to keep the change. Tipping at bars is more rare unless you’re ordering a fancy cocktail. And if a service charge has already been added to you bill, feel free to leave an additional tip, especially in the case of exceptional service.
20. New Zealand
Most servers in New Zealand won’t expect to be tipped, but it’s a show of gratitude to leave at least a few dollars or 10 percent on top of your bill. Tipping is merit-based so if you really loved your service, feel free to leave more.
If the service is good, it’s business as usual to tip anywhere from 10 to 20 percent at a restaurant in Norway. At most restaurants in Norway, diners pay by card, so leaving loose change on the table as a tip isn’t common. Leaving no tip wouldn’t necessarily be insulting, but it’s advisable to leave at least a five percent tip. A service charge may sometimes be added to your bill, as well.
If you’re enjoying a sandwich or a cup of coffee at a casual cafe, feel free to leave a few coins on the table when you’re done. It’s up to you how much you leave. However, if you’re dining at an upscale restaurant in Peru, plan to leave a 10 to 15 percent tip. Tipping is rare in small, family-owned restaurants where the atmosphere is more casual.
The Philippines doesn’t have a tipping culture, so you could technically go your entire visit without leaving a single tip, and no one would be offended. However, American tourists are spreading the custom. If you feel inclined to tip on your next trip to the Philippines, feel free to tip 10 percent at restaurants (otherwise look out for a 10 percent service charge attached to your bill).
Although tipping in Poland isn’t strictly enforced, it’s always polite to leave behind a little something extra for your server. Beware: If you pay your bill in cash and say “thank you” when handing it over, your server will assume you don’t want the change (which might be the case). If you want change, just wait to say “thank you” until the server returns with the bill, then leave behind what you think is appropriate. Try to leave the tip in cash; that way, you know it will go directly to your server.
In Portugal, casual cafes don’t require tipping (though you can always feel free to leave spare change). However, at upscale restaurants, it’s a different story. If you don’t see a service charge on your check, plan to tip at least 10 percent. Portugal is another country where you should always try to tip in cash.
You may come across this phrase on your bill at a restaurant in Russia: “Gratuities are welcome but always remain at your discretion.” You aren’t obligated to tip, but it’s polite to do so. Depending on the level of service, it’s common practice to tip anywhere from five to 15 percent.
27. South Africa
Everyone in South Africa tips their restaurant servers. Some restaurants will add a 10 percent service charge, so be sure to check your bill before tipping. Otherwise, it’s customary to leave anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of your bill depending on the quality of the service.
Tipping isn’t common in Spain, but at cafes and bars, a small tip is generally appreciated (like the spare change after paying for a cup of coffee). At sit-down or fine-dining restaurants, tipping is even less common because a service charge is included in the bill. If the service charge isn’t included, a safe bet is to tip 10 percent. You might also encounter a terraza fee, an additional charge for sitting outside.
Your server isn’t going to be insulted if you do (or don’t) leave a tip after your meal in Sweden. Gratuity is often included in the restaurant bill, but if it’s not, consider leaving a 10 to 15 percent tip depending on the quality of the service. It’s also perfectly acceptable to round up from the bill’s total and leave that amount as a tip.
The tipping guidelines are loose in Switzerland. Typically, diners round up to the nearest whole number or have a “keep the change” policy at casual cafes and restaurants. The same idea applies to bars. If the service was really impressive, leaving a 10 percent tip is polite, especially at more upscale establishments.
Though you might eat quite a bit of food from street carts and markets, you shouldn’t tip the vendors. They will assume you have accidentally overpaid and insist you take back your change. However, at sit-down restaurants, you should always tip. At more casual restaurants, it’s customary to leave an extra 10 to 20 baht. If you’re at a more upscale restaurant or you were especially pleased with the service, leave at least 10 to 15 percent.
Tip in cash in Turkey. It’s generally not possible to add gratuity to a credit card payment. Tip at least 10 percent, though a larger tip is always appreciated (and becoming more common due to a bump in tourism).
33. The United Kingdom
At sit-down restaurants, it’s customary to tip 10 to 15 percent depending on the quality of service. Be sure to check your bill before tipping as some restaurants will include a service fee of around 12 percent if you’re dining with a large group (you don’t need to leave an additional tip on top of that). If you don’t see a service charge on your bill, a 10 percent tip at minimum is acceptable. Pubs are a little trickier, but just to be safe, if the establishment serves an extensive food menu, you’ll probably want to tip like you’re eating at a restaurant.
34. The United States
You know that old cliche about an American waiter chasing a customer who forget to tip down the block? There’s more truth to that than you think. In the United States, tipping at restaurants, bars, and even coffee shops (where you’ll almost always find a tip jar in front of the register) is compulsory. At many sit-down restaurants, a 20 percent tip is not just appropriate — it’s expected. A dollar a drink at a bar (or 20 percent at a cocktail bar) is also expected. Tipping laws across the country mean that tips make up a large portion (if not the majority) of a server’s take-home pay. As one common saying goes, “If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out.” Tips in cash aren’t totally necessary but are preferred.
As in Thailand, street vendors might be, at best, confused and, at worst, offended if you try to leave a tip. However, servers at both bars and restaurants should be tipped in Vietnam. While most restaurants will add a 10 percent service charge to your bill, it doesn’t always go to the server, so be prepared to leave an additional 10 to 15 percent tip in cash.