Tips around the world
Overseas travel is a great way to both broaden the mind and have a lot of fun discovering different parts of the world, but knowing how to behave in foreign countries can be a minefield. One of the areas which causes the most confusion is tipping; namely whether to tip at all, how much and to whom.
As most European countries have minimum wage legislation, waiting and hotel staff do not rely on tips to pay their wages. Tips are seen as a welcome bonus though. In restaurants, where service charge has not been added to the bill already, most customers will round the bill up or leave around 10% of the bill as a tip. If the service has been particularly poor, there is no obligation to tip at all, and even where the service charge has been added to the bill you can refuse to pay it. Taxi drivers will expect to have the bill rounded up by a couple of pounds or euros, and for bellboys in hotels the tip should be a similar amount. In coffee shops and bars an increasingly common practice is to have a jar or saucer by the cash register where spare coins can be left to be later shared between all of the staff.
The tipping situation in Asia can be very confusing. In Japan, tipping is not part of the culture and you will not be expected to leave money on the table in a restaurant or tip hotel staff. Waiters and hotel staff will refuse the tip and hand it back to you. In Thailand the situation is different again. Tips are not expected, but it is common to round up to the nearest 10 baht for a taxi fare, leave a small gratuity after a meal or leave a 20 or 50 baht note for chambermaids or hotel bellboys. China has a strict policy of no tipping and to many workers offering a tip is insulting as it implies their employer is not paying a fair wage. In Hong Kong though, tipping is the norm and rounding up to the nearest Hong Kong dollar, or leaving 10% in the restaurant is the easiest way to manage the situation.
Australia and New Zealand
Tipping in restaurants in Australia is not common practice, unless you are dining in a particularly expensive restaurant. For taxis and cafes, tipping again is not expected but most locals will round up the bill to the nearest dollar or tell the taxi driver to keep the change. The situation in New Zealand is broadly similar.
Wages in countries such as Mexico are low, and many hospitality sector workers rely on tips to pay their bills. Taxi drivers are not generally tipped, but in a restaurant the standard tip is between 10% and 15% of the bill. For hotel stays, have a ready supply of US dollars as it is common to hand between $1 and $2 to bellboys, chambermaids or bartenders.
This entry was posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2011 at 8:31 am and is filed under Guest travel articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.