The ultimate tipping guide for international travellers
New York, USA. Image credit: Instagram.com/christiholloway
Tipping. It’s an absolute minefield for Aussies and Kiwis, as we have a minimum wage of around $18 per hour and often assume other countries are the same, ie. that they have legislation to protect employees and make sure they’re paid enough to live on. Which just isn’t the case.
Vancouver, Canada. Image credit: Instagram.com/inside_vancouver
In Canada, service workers earn as little as CAN$10 per hour and in the States it can go as low as US$7 per hour. It’s not enough to cover the average person’s cost of living, so leaving extra on top of the bill is essential. Not tipping 15 to 20 per cent in North America is considered very rude and if you don’t tip you’ll often find yourself not getting served. Ever been blithely ignored by a bartender standing right in front of you in New York or Los Angeles? Chances are, you didn’t tip them for your first drink. And you’re going to do a lot of waiting until you correct the balance.
Kyoto, Japan. Image credit: Instagram.com/visitjapanau
That said, in other countries tipping isn’t part of the culture at all. If you tip in Japan wait staff will assume you’re bad at maths and chase you down to return your money. In other parts of Asia where Australians regularly holiday – like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines – tipping isn’t expected, but people earn so little that a small tip from you can make a big difference to them (just make sure you hand the tip directly to the person who served you. ie. the masseuse, not the front desk).
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Image credit: Instagram.com/departure_now
To avoid general bill and tipping anxiety no matter where you are, confirm prices and whether they include tips at the time of booking (eg. a tour or restaurant). Also ask the front desk of your hotel how much a taxi to your destination should cost and don’t hop in until you’ve confirmed something near that with your driver.
Scroll down for a detailed guide on how much gratuity you should leave wherever you go (amounts listed are approximate and will fluctuate depending on exchange rates).
New York, USA. Image credit: Instagram.com/gubiofficial
USA and Canada
These are the two countries where Aussies have the worst reputation for being tight with money. Always tip between 15 and 20 per cent in restaurants and bars – if you don’t, servers will often ignore you. Tip cabbies and Uber drivers between 10 and 15 per cent (there’s an option to tip your driver on the Uber app after your ride). Give US$2-3 in cash to bellhops and room service. Leave US$2-3 dollars for housekeeping each day.
Paris, France. Image credit: Instagram.com/mrs.nedrya
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Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria and the UK
Tipping is not expected in these countries, as most restaurant bills include a 10-15 per cent service charge (listed as servizio incluso in Italian, service compris in French and Servicegebühr in German). Round up taxi fares and give a one euro tip to room service, luggage attendants and housekeeping per service (ie. one euro for each day that housekeeping clean your room).
Thira, Greece. Image credit: Instagram.com/soludos
Tip restaurants and yacht charters between five and 10 per cent. Round up taxi fares and give one euro per service to porters and housekeeping.
Bali, Indonesia. Image credit: Instagram.com/baligasm
Most restaurants and cafes will add a service charge to the bill, but still leave a tip of 10,000-20,000 rupiah ($1-2). Round up taxi fares to the nearest 10,000 rupiah. Leave a 20,000 rupiah tip for spa or nail treatments. For tour guides, tip 100,000 rupiah per day ($10).
Bangkok, Thailand. Image credit: Instagram.com/tommy.nyu7
As a rule, if a server doesn’t come to your table (eg. at a walk-up bar or when buying street food) there’s no need to tip. If your restaurant bill doesn’t include a service charge and wait staff were good, tip 10 per cent. Round up taxi and tuk-tuk fares – but make sure you agree on a price before getting in (or just use the Grab Taxi app, which is like Uber). Make sure you give a good masseur at least 15 per cent and hand it directly to them (they only get a small amount of what you pay at the front desk). Tip porters and housekeeping 50 baht ($2) per service. Give good tour guides 300 baht ($14) per day.
Tip the following amounts if you get good service: five to 15 per cent of the restaurant bill, 50,000VND ($3) on your bar tab, 50,000-100,000 ($3-6) for a spa service. Round up taxi bills and give tour guides 100,000 per day ($6).
Ilocos Sur, Philippines. Image credit: Instagram.com/rnldchrstn
Leave a 10 per cent tip if the restaurant bill doesn’t have a service charge (sometimes listed as ‘SC’), round up taxi fares and give 50-100 pesos ($1-3) for spa services. For porters, 20-40 pesos per service is fine (50c-$1).
Japan, China, Singapore and the Pacific Islands
Tipping isn’t part of the culture in these countries. The exception is in international hotels in China and Singapore, where you can give porters the equivalent of $1 per bag.
Cadiz, Spain. Image credit: Instagram.com/spain
Spain & Portugal
No tip is expected, but round restaurant and taxi bills up. Give one euro per service to housekeeping, room service and porters.
Stockholm, Sweden. Image credit: Instagram.com/visitstockholm
Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland)
There is no tipping in Scandinavia, as service workers receive fair wages.
South Africa, Kenya & Morocco
Tip 10 per cent at restaurants and bars. Give porters and housekeeping the equivalent of $2 or $3 per service. Round up taxi fares.
Tlayacapan, Mexico. Image credit: Instagram.com/eddge
Some restaurants will add a 10 per cent service charge, but if not, add a tip of 10-15 per cent. Round up taxi fares and tip porters and housekeeping 20-50 pesos ($1-4) per service.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Image credit: Instagram.com/diegotovar
Colombia & Brazil
No need to tip in restaurants, as a 10 per cent service charge is usually added to the bill. Give tour guides 10 per cent and round up taxi fares. Allocate 50 cents per service for bellhops and housekeeping.
Peru, Chile & Argentina
The standard amount to tip tour guides and restaurant bills is 10 per cent. Give a few pesos per service for porters and housekeeping. Round up taxi fares.