Tipping Around the World: What is Proper Tipping Etiquette?

When planning international travel, it’s important to know in advance what proper tipping etiquette is in the countries you will be visiting.  Who should you tip and when?  What is customary and what is required?  When it comes to restaurant tipping it varies from country to country.  In some countries, change left on the table is sufficient, while other countries add gratuities to the bill.  Countries such as Brazil and Chile add 10% to the bill (you can always leave a few extra coins), but in Argentina 10% is left for the waiter.  While countries like Mexico, it is customary to leave 10-15% in cash.

In China, no tipping is law, and a customary 10-20% is added to bill; however, it is done discreetly and quietly.  Japan is also a non-tipping society, but if you do tip make sure it is in yen.  Asia/Pacific tipping varies by country, so always check prior to traveling.

European tipping varies, but the one rule is to always tip in cash.  The average tip is 10-15%, unless the “service” is included in the bill.  Even if the tip is included always leave some change on the table.  Countries such as Estonia or Scandinavia do not require tipping, but you will sometimes find service on the bill.  Here are some highlights:

  • Dubai – 10% is added to each bill
  • Egypt -10% is added to each bill, but can leave more
  • Israel – 10% is added to each bill, but can add more
  • Jordon – Service is added to bill, but leave 10-15% to waiter
  • Lebanon – 10% added to bill
  • Saudi Arabia – Leave 10-15%
  • United Arab Emirates – Leave 15-20%
  • Canada – Leave 15-20%
  • South Africa – 10-15% to waiter

When it comes to hotels, cab drivers or other services, always research country specific information.  The one universal rule for cab drivers, baggage handlers and porters is to tip in local currency.  It is also customary to tip the housekeeping staff per night of your stay. In the majority of countries, porters receive $1-$2 per bag.  Tipping concierges is also country specific, but it is customary based on service provided.  Obviously if the concierge completes reservations or arranges tours, tips would be higher than merely asking for suggestions.

In many countries, such as Mexico, it is customary to tip the gas station attendant as well.  Tipping etiquette is country specific and it pays to do some research before you depart.  The one universal rule is “Cash is King”.  For more country specific information about holidays and currency, check out our country page.

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