Tipping etiquette varies from place to place. Sometimes giving a tip is expected in exchange for service, other times it is appreciated, and in some cases, it won’t even be accepted. It is important to be aware of tipping customs around the world when you travel. As a general rule, go above and beyond the tipping norms for exceptional service – but a sincere thank you goes an even longer way. Delve into our travel tipping guide for recommendations (it’s free!).
Cab Drivers: Tip anywhere from 10%-20% of the fare (depending on the speed, safety, and efficiency of the driving), with a minimum of $1 for short rides. Add a dollar or two if they assist with your bags. Remember to have cash on you as not all foreign cabs accept credit cards.
Valet Parking Tip: $2-$5
Porter: $1-$3 per bag
Airport wheelchair assistance: $3-$5 at the gate
Shuttle drivers: $1-$2 per bag
Doorman: A tip is not required for holding the door, unless you would like to. Tip $1-$4 for carrying luggage and $1 or $2 for hailing a cab.
Bellhop: $2 first bag and $1 per additional bag
Housekeeper: Tip your housekeeper daily since you may have more than one throughout the week. It also helps to ensure a good quality cleaning. Tip anywhere between $2-$5 per day, depending on the quality of hotel and level of service. At an all-inclusive resort, $20 per week is a good amount for the maid to be dispersed throughout your stay.
Room Service: 10%-15%. Sometimes this is the “gratuity charge” included in the bill.
Concierge: There is no obligation to tip the Concierge for answering standard questions. You can give a dollar or so as a thank you or tip $10-$20 before you check out if you frequently used their services. Tips should be given when they organize something for you – a dinner reservation, excursion, class, theatre ticket – especially if they went out of their way and the reservation was hard to get. Ten per cent of the activity price is sufficient (or a maximum of $20).
Spa treatment: 15-20%, can do 10-15% in the Caribbean
Food and Drink
Servers: Tipping your server 15%-20% is customary. You can even go above and beyond if the service was extraordinary, and arguably, some tip only 10% if the service was under par. Note that sometimes gratuities are included in the bill, but even then, in some cases it is customary to tip more, up to an extra 10%.
Hostess: Tipping the restaurant hostess is not required unless they were able to secure you a table on a busy night.
Bartenders: Tip $1 per drink. If it’s a fancy cocktail, you may want to tip a little more. Bartenders may notice your appreciation and suddenly you find yourself at the top of the line every time.
Baristas: You don’t have to tip when you order a coffee, though you could leave any extra change if there’s a tip jar. If you go there often or it’s a specially crafted coffee with latte art, you can leave an extra dollar per coffee. If you’re lingering at a café or nice restaurant, a little extra should do the trick (around 10%).
Nightclubs: Tip coat check and bathroom attendant $1 only if there is a coin dish.
Tipping Tour Guides
Tipping tour guides is very important since most tour companies operate on the assumption that their guides will be tipped – and pay them less. Some tour guides operate solely on tips for smaller, localized guided tours. Guides provide you with years of insight and experience, as well as attractions, food, and safety tips. You can tip each day or once at the end, approximately 15% of the cost of the tour. This includes museum guides, ski instructors, or week-long tour guides. They won’t always ask for one, so discreetly put your tip in an envelope. About $10-$20 per day is the norm.
Don’t forget to tip the driver for getting you around safely and on time – about 15% of the tour cost will do. If you go on private tour in the Caribbean, tip about $25 for guide and 15% for driver.
What currency should I tip in?
When you’re abroad, tip in the local currency or whatever is widely accepted. For example, tip in local currency or American dollars in the Caribbean and Mexico, except for Cuba for which you should tip in CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) or Canadian.
Tipping in different countries
In the Middle East, tips are usually included in the restaurant bill. Sometimes, it is appreciated if you add 5-10% above that. Don’t ask for doggie bags to bring home – food is usually given to the staff or homeless. Tip: When visiting a mosque, tip a dollar for the person who watches your shoes and a dollar for the person who hands robes to the women.
Latin American restaurants require tips of only 8-12% of the bill. In some places like Brazil, the tip is usually included in the “servico” portion of the bill.
Most Asian countries don’t tip, but customs can vary greatly. In China, you don’t leave a tip unless it’s a tourist restaurant or hotel where they’ve come to expect it, in which case, you would tip discreetly. In Japan, people may respectfully decline while others appreciate a tip, but only a yen. In Thailand, tip about $1 per dinner, $3 for a massage, and 50 cents for the bathroom attendant. In Vietnam, it is customary to tip 10% for restaurants.
Australia and New Zealand don’t have a strong tipping culture either, based on the assumption that visitors are friends and family. You can tip a few dollars to hotel porters or for extraordinary service at restaurants, but it’s not expected.
What are your recommendations for tipping abroad? Share your thoughts below.