Tipping Etiquette Outside the U.S.

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When you depart the USA your US tipping habits should stay home with the pets!

Tipping expectations vary quite a bit from country to country.  While tipping, and tipping well, is common in the United States, this is not necessarily the case in other places.

hand holding world with euro coin on it

How Much Should You Tip In A Restaurant Overseas?

It’s a cultural thing.  Honestly, if you’re from the U.S. I know it’s hard not to leave big tips.  It’s what we do, right? But really, you don’t have to feel like you’re keeping food off the table of your server’s children by not leaving a huge tip.  A number of countries actually already include the tip, or service charge, on the restaurant or cafe bill.

In fact, you will notice that when you use a credit card in most foreign countries there is not a space for gratuity on the signature slip. This is because tips should be cash or not at all. Rounding up to the next whole amount is common in cafes and everyday restaurants when paying in cash.

A little extra will make your service person love you forever.  I would encourage it if your server has stepped up and done what you consider a very nice job.  Unlike the US,  service employees make a living wage so they are usually already nicely compensated for the work they’ve done.  If you think they did a great job, then it’s nice to give them a little extra for a job well done.

How Much Should You Tip the Bartender Overseas?

As for bars, bartenders rarely get or expect tips.

Should You Tip Hotel Employees Overseas?

Sometimes.  It depends on what your interaction with them was and what they helped you with.

Should You Tip Tour Guides and Drivers?

Yes, most of the time Tour Guides should get a tip but the amount varies depending on where you are and what kind of tour you’re on.  Same for Drivers but again, the amount will vary and this is more so for a driver guide vs. a taxi driver.

Do your research before you go and know the correct tipping etiquette.  If you’re clueless and ask the server instead, they will not always be truthful.  We have had waiters tell us that the service is not included and that it is customary for people to leave them a large tip. Americans! We are programmed to leave large tips and if you don’t know the correct tipping policy you may well fall for that little trick 🙂

Tipping Guidelines Outside the U.S. Summary

While I’ve given you a few general guidelines here, the bottom line is that the tipping guidelines vary slightly from country to country. So it’s important to do your research and check the specific guidelines for the countries that you’re planning to visit to be sure you’re clear on what to do regarding tipping.

Comprehensive Country-Specific Tipping Guides

Got a tipping dilemma?  You might find this nice guide to tipping etiquette around the world useful.

And speaking of restaurants, check this out for a great way to organize your potential restaurant lists while traveling.

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