International travellers should tip high in the USA, less in Europe, not at all in parts of East Asia and give items in Iran, according to international gratuities advice.
Travel experts from International Citizens Insurance have revealed the typical tipping expectations around the world and issued a country by country guide to help Western tourists to avoid falling foul of local culture norms.
From popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Brazil and the Unites States, to growing hot spots for travellers like Thailand, Japan and Iran, a failure to know the local tipping etiquette could be awkward.
A spokesperson for International Citizens Insurance said: “Travellers could be having the time of their life on holiday and then suddenly find themselves in a sticky situation when they receive the bill in a restaurant or the taxi pulls over.
“To avoid any confusion about the correct tip to leave when on foreign soil, we’ve produced a comprehensive international guide to gratuities.”
Here is the International Citizens Insurance guide to tipping culture across the globe:
Gratuities can often make up a significant share of an American employed in a service industry’s total salary, so it’s expected that both tourists and locals should tip waiters and waitresses, taxi drivers, porters, tour guides and others 15 to 20 per cent of your total bill.
As Iran is quite a closed nation, a small gift from a tourist’s home country will often be more appreciated as a token of thanks than money. Consider packing a few souvenirs in your suitcase to give to hotel, tour and restaurant staff – popular examples include branded merchandise from Western sports team, items with a flag on them or anything stereotypically Western.
It’s customary for Brazilian restaurants to charge diners a ten per cent service fee, but an unexpected additional five to ten per cent in cash will be gratefully received by servers who might not always receive their cut – but keep it subtle, as Brazilians prefer to be discreet when conducting business.
Tips in Japan will often be politely refused by service staff and it may even be considered insulting to offer a gratuity in some cases, as strict Japanese cultural expectations are that good service should simply be a normal part of life rather than something to be rewarded.
A cubierto, or sit-down charge, will often be include in the bill at a Chilean restaurant and is usually ten per cent, so staff won’t expect an additional tip but would still be grateful for a small show of gratuity in cash.
Emirati cities like Dubai require a ten per cent service charge be added to restaurant bills, but staff will still expect an additional 15 to 20 per cent tip to be gifted as a token of gratuity for their work.
Spain is one of many EU countries that typically add service charges to bills, so tipping isn’t expected or customary, but will still be viewed as a kind and generous display of appreciation for exceptional service.
Tipping is usually deemed unnecessary when using local service across China, but some high-end restaurants and tourist hotels will accept small, appreciative tips – such as rounding up the bill.
Dutch law requires establishment to include tips in their published prices, but locals and tourists will often still say keep the change or leave a tip, or fooi, when good service is received in the Netherlands.
Mexican servers in restaurants and elsewhere will often rely on tips to supplement their income, like in the USA, but are used to smaller gratuities of typically ten to 15 per cent.
Croatian tipping custom is for change to be left at bars, three to five per cent to be given at casual eating establishments and ten to 15 percent in gratuity at a more plush restaurant – a nice round amount such as a fiver or tenner will be appreciated as a gesture of thanks by other service staff.
Waiting staff in South Africa will typically expect to receive ten to 15 per cent of a total bill as a minimum gratuity in return for good service.
Similar to the UK and Ireland, there’s no strong tipping culture in Germany – if there’s no charge on the bill, bartenders, drivers and waiters will appreciate a rounded-up bill or be thankful for a tip of five to ten per cent.
The influx of tourism to south east Asia means than many Thai service staff are more open to receiving tips now than in the past, but it’s still not expected so it’s not a huge problem if you forget to leave one.
Restaurants, bars and cafés will generally include a service charge in France, so a large tip is unnecessary unless you feel compelled to leave one as a thank you for the quality of your experience.
Tipping isn’t a regular practice in Italy, but it’s common for generous and appreciative tourists to round up their bill as a cash thanks to servers who won’t always receive the coperto, or cover charge.
Taxi drivers and restaurant or hotel staff in Russia will be grateful to directly receive a ten per cent tip in cash that management can’t get their hands on and to supplement low wages, but an accompanying note of thanks will usually be equally appreciated too.
Indian waiters and waitresses will appreciate a small cash tip, whilst other staff in service industries will be grateful if you tell them to keep the change.
Australian tipping culture is the same as in the UK – it’s not expected, but ten per cent or a rounded-up bill will be appreciated where a service charge isn’t included.
A tip will generally be included in the bill at an Egyptian restaurant, but it’s customary for tourists to leave between five and ten per cent as an additional cash gratuity to the servers – who will often prefer pounds, dollars or euros to local currency.