Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto
TN's Official Guide To Tipping Around The World
There have been more than a handful of times when I’ve arrived in a new country, went to grab a bite at a cafe, and had no idea what’s customary when it comes to tipping. In these instances, I either looked for other tourists or searched Google for fast answers on what to tip the waitstaff.
Even in hotels where there are dozens of employees making sure you have an amazing stay. It’s not always appropriate to leave a tip in some countries. Some travelers also don’t want to tip too little or too much. Well look no further; here’s a cheat sheet for tipping on your travels.
Airport To Hotel
Depending on how you get to your hotel, here’s some advice on how to tip when you’re moving about.
Most hotel shuttle drivers in foreign countries get a flat rate per day from the hotel for driving customers to and from the airport. Considering the country you may be in, it would suffice to tip between $2 to $5 to the driver.
Forget about tipping taxi drivers in any country. Once they know you’re a tourist or if you’re in a heavy tourist area, most likely the fare is already inflated.
In The Hotel
Set a good tone for your hotel stay by tipping your porter. They’re usually the first point of contact upon arriving at your hotel. A group of four with luggage for a 3-5 day stay should tip between $10-$15. If there’s bad weather or they have to go a great distance to carry your luggage, let them know you appreciate them being great at their job. You also don’t want word going around to the rest of the staff that you’re an ungrateful American.
Often unseen, this team helps make your room spotless when your return each day (at least, they usually do). They’re also some of the worst-paid workers in the sector, so a tip for them can go a long way.
Documented as some of the most underpaid workers in hospitality, the housekeeping crew definitely deserves a tip. Since housekeeping staff consists of multiple people during your stay, a small tip a day makes the most sense. Leaving one large tip at the end of your stay could end up going to just one of the many workers.
A dollar or two a day can work tremendously but also equate to the cost of living within the country you’re visiting. Be sure to leave the tip out in the open where they can obviously know it’s for them or with a small note if necessary.
Most of us will use the internet to fill our itineraries with the best things to do and sites to see in the country we’re about to visit. But a concierge can definitely become an asset to your schedule and help you find the best deals for trips and excursions within that country. There have been plenty of times when I’ve found my personal drivers through the concierge to get the best rate for moving out and about around the city.
Tip the concierge according to the help they provide you, if they just point you in a direction then it isn’t needed but if they spend a half hour to an hour setting up your vacation activities then leave a good tip.
Front Desk Staff
Front desk staff don’t need to be tipped. More than likely they’re on a path to a management position and they make a yearly salary instead of an hourly rate.
Americans are used to tipping all over the United States. Mainly, because we understand a lot of waitstaff and bartenders work for tips and shift pay. But in Europe, staff workers are paid an hourly rate and could take tipping as a form of disrespect.
Whether in North, South, or Central America always tip between 15-20%. In South America, countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, and Chile already include a “sit-down charge” so there isn’t any need to tip. Be sure to review your receipts in tourist areas as gratuity could already be included in your totals.
In most European countries, waitstaff receive good wages working in bars and restaurants so tipping isn’t necessary. Also, if there is a service charge they’ll add it to your bill.
Now if you received exceptional service and you’d like to leave extra then that’s up to your best judgment.
Africa and the Middle East
In countries like China, waitstaff refuses tips. In Japan, tips are only accepted if they know their service went above and beyond expectations. Countries with a lot of tourism traffic such as Thailand are beginning to accept tips and add service charges to their bills as well.