Not understanding local tipping etiquette when you’re traveling abroad leaves you feeling confused and out of place… and can earn you some dirty looks. Your lack of knowledge, while understandable, doesn’t only make you feel uncomfortable—it can make those you’re interacting with feel uncomfortable as well.
The good news? Those hiccups in your past travel experiences never have to happen again, thanks to Roomkey’s tipping guide.
Tipping Culture in the United States and North America
First things first—let’s get a handle on what is considered appropriate tipping etiquette in the United States. The rules can vary slightly depending on the level of service and the quality of the business. However, using these guidelines will provide you with a solid base of knowledge to help you feel confident no matter where you roam.
How to Tip at a U.S. Hotel:
When you’re staying at a hotel or resort, especially an “all-inclusive” vacation, the gratuity may already be included in your total bill. Always double-check to see what will be included in the bill before you start tipping the staff.
- Bellhop or Porter – If anyone helps you remove your bags from the vehicle or loads them into the vehicle before departure, tip $1 per bag. If they carry or otherwise transport your bags to or from your hotel room, tip $2 to $3 per bag.
- Valet – You don’t have to tip your valet driver when you drop your car off, but if you have special parking requests, it is a good idea to tip $2 to $5 at the time you make the request. You can tip at each interaction with the valet staff to ensure the person moving your car receives the tip, in which case tip $2 to $5. If you tip when you pick up your car only, tip $5 to $10 based on the difficulty of parking, length of your wait, and quality of the establishment.
- Room Service – Anytime you have food delivered to your room, if the gratuity isn’t included in the bill, add 18-20% as a tip.
- Toiletry or Towel Delivery – If hotel staff delivers something to your room, it’s a kind gesture for you to show your gratitude with a $2 tip.
- Doorman – When the doorman hails you a cab, secures you a spot on a crowded shuttle, or checks in with your ride-hailing service, tip them $2 to $3. If it was a difficult job or if you were running late, make it $5.
- Concierge – Everyone knows the concierge is the person you go to when you need dinner reservations or tickets to a show. When you use their services, your tip should be based on the difficulty of the task you’re asking them to complete for you. If you’re getting dinner reservations around the corner and it’s not too busy, $3 to $5 is enough. If they get you tickets to the hottest new restaurant in town, where the reservation waitlist is six months long, your tip should increase accordingly.
- Housekeeping – Tip $2 per day at most hotels or $3 to $5 at high-end and luxury hotels for your housekeeping staff. The staff often rotate duties throughout the week, so it is important to remember to leave the tip each day on the desk, marked clearly with a thank you note.
How to Tip at a U.S. Restaurant or Bar:
- Full-Service Seated Restaurant – As you probably know, most restaurant servers in the U.S. aren’t paid minimum wage and rely on tips to make their living. Standard, modern tipping etiquette requires you always leave at least 15% of your total as a tip, but if the service wasn’t terrible, tipping 20% is considered appropriate. If the final bill for your meal includes gratuity, you’re not required to include an additional tip, but it’s common to pay attention to the percentage of the added amount and if it is less than 20%, you can choose to make up the difference.
- Fast Casual Restaurant – If you’re ordering at the counter, but a server is bringing your food to you and clearing your table, it’s customary to tip 10-15% of the bill. The same rule applies at a buffet if your server is bringing and refilling drinks and clearing plates. If you’re ordering, picking up the food, and clearing your own mess, no tip is required.
- Food Truck or Street Vendors – There are varying opinions with this rule, but most people agree rounding up your bill or tipping the change is the least you should do when visiting a food truck or street vendor. If the food is incredibly tasty, the service is quick, or if there is seating where someone comes to serve you or clean up, tip 10-15%.
- Food Delivery – Having food delivered directly to your door is both a convenience and a luxury. Always tip a delivery driver who works directly for the restaurant $2 to $5 depending on the distance traveled and the weather. If you’re using a delivery service, tip at least $5 or 20% or your order, whichever is higher.
- Tip Jars at Bakeries and Coffee Shops – Only you know how much trouble you’re asking your barista to go to with your morning order, but if it’s a simple order like drip coffee, rounding up to the next dollar is appropriate. If you’re hanging out and working in the shop, asking for an incredibly difficult order, or ordering 23 items at once, adjust your tip appropriately.
- Bars with Table Service – In a bar where a server comes to your table, your tips are often shared among the server, the staff behind the bar, security staff, and entertainment staff. It’s customary to leave 18-20% of your bill as a tip to ensure there’s plenty to go around.
- Bars with No Servers – Make sure you always leave $1 to $2 per drink, or at least 18% of your total bill.
Other Important U.S. Tipping Situations:
- Taxi or Ride-Hailing Services – You probably hate driving in traffic and navigating directions to somewhere you’ve never been. Drivers’ jobs aren’t easy, so make sure you tip them about 20%.
- Coat Check – Keeping track of everyone’s coats is hardly the most glamorous job around, but carrying your outerwear, dripping rain from your coat on an establishment’s fancy décor, or misplacing your overcoat is simply not acceptable. Remember how necessary your coat check attendant is and tip them $2 to $3 per coat and $1 to $2 for any additional items you check.
- Bathroom Attendant – Restaurants and lounges that employ bathroom attendants want to make sure you are at your most comfortable with other guests. They have mints or breath spray, lotion, hand sanitizer, and can help straighten ties or hemlines to ensure you don’t embarrass yourself while interacting with other people. You don’t have to tip every time you visit the bathroom, but tip $2 for each time you visited the facilities before you leave.
- Tour Guide – The general rule of thumb for tipping tour guides is $1 per hour, per person. If the tour lasts more than one day, tipping 10% for a good tour is appropriate but 15-20% is acceptable for a great experience.
- Gas Station Attendant – If there is a choice between self-service and full-service and you choose to have someone pump your gas for you, tip them $2 to $3.
- Personal and Beauty Services – For any service done by a trained specialist for you personally—from a hairdresser or nail technician to a masseuse or an acupuncturist—a tip of 10-20% of the full cost of the service is appropriate. For last-minute service or an exceptional experience, you can’t go wrong with a tip of 20-25% of your bill. Don’t forget to include your pet groomer as well.
How to Tip in Canada
The standards for tipping in Canada are similar to those in the U.S. In fact, you can tip slightly less in a taxi at 10-15%, but otherwise, you should use the same rules. It’s not frowned upon to tip in U. S. dollars, but it’s more appropriate to tip in Canadian dollars.
Tipping in Mexico
Like in the U.S., service industry staff in Mexico make very little as an hourly wage and rely on tips. The etiquette for tipping is almost identical to that in the States, but generally using the local currency (pesos) is appreciated.
At your hotel, double-check to make sure that your service charges aren’t being added to the total bill for your stay. If not, tip 10-20 pesos per bag when someone handles them for you and 10-20 pesos per night for housekeeping. When the concierge gives you assistance, show your gratitude with a minimum of 100 pesos and add more if the task was difficult.
When you visit a restaurant or bar, a 10-15% tip is appropriate, and cash is preferred. Sometimes gratuity will be added to your bill, and if it is, an additional tip is not necessary.
Your taxi driver doesn’t expect a tip unless he helps you with your bags, but your tour guide will. Tip your tour guide 100-200 pesos per day but increase the tip to 200-300 pesos if your guide is also your driver.
How to Tip in European Countries
Countries across Europe have varying rules and ideas about gratuity. Some prefer their tips in euros while others prefer an alternative. Below you’ll find some European hotspots and the guidelines for those countries.
If your destination isn’t included below, a general European guideline is to tip hotel staff 2 euros (or the equivalent in an alternate currency) for anyone who gives you assistance. Round up for taxi rides, and add 10% to your restaurant bill if a charge isn’t included.
Tipping in the United Kingdom
- If gratuity isn’t added to your bill when you sit down to eat, tip 10-15%. If you’re eating fast food or visiting a pub, tipping isn’t expected unless you have table service.
- When you take a taxi, you can simply round up the bill to the next full pound, since pounds are the preferred currency.
- If you’re on a tour, it’s expected for you to tip 20 pounds per day.
- While staying at a hotel, tip 1-2 pounds per bag and 1-2 pounds per night for housekeeping.
How to Tip in France
- It’s customary for restaurants, cafes, and bars to add a service charge, or service compris, to the bill, but if for some reason they don’t, always tip 10-15% of the bill. If the service charge is on the bill and you have incredible service, feel free to leave a few extra euros.
- When you take a taxi, it’s not expected for you to tip, but to show appreciation it is common to round up to the next full euro.
- At your hotel, tip one euro per bag and one euro per day for housekeeping
- When you take a guided tour, tip at least 25 euros per day. If the guide is nationally certified, tip at least 50 euros per day.
Tipping in Germany
- When you sit down to a meal, tip 10% for a full meal and round up to the nearest 5 euros for beers and other small items. Don’t leave your change on the table—hand it directly to the waiter. If your bill says “Bedienung,” it means gratuity has already been included in the bill.
- When you’ve had a good taxi ride, round the bill up to the next euro and tip 2 euros for each bag the driver helped you load and unload.
- Your tour guide expects a tip of about 30 euro per day, per each person in your party on the tour.
How to Tip in Italy
- Italian restaurants sometimes include a cover charge known as pane e coperto or servizo, but if you don’t see that, no additional tip is expected. If you’re in a bar or pub and you order table service, round up the bill about 5 euros. At an espresso bar, spare change is all that is expected.
- When you take a long taxi ride, round to the nearest euro.
- At your hotel, the people who help you directly—porters, valets, or housekeepers—will welcome 1 or 2 euros.
- When you take a guided tour in Italy, tipping isn’t commonplace. If you feel inclined, tipping 1 euro for each person in your party is plenty.
Tipping in Spain
- You’re not expected to tip in Spanish restaurants, but for exceptional service or high-end establishments, up to 10% is adequate.
- Tipping isn’t expected for a taxi ride, but to show your appreciation, simply round the bill to the next euro.
- If you’re staying at a high-end hotel, tip 1 euro per bag when someone assists you with them.
- When you take a guided tour, tip 30 euros per day.
How to Tip in Portugal
- Always check your bill to see if gratuity has been included. If it hasn’t, add a minimum of 5 euros or 10%, whichever is higher.
- Tip your taxi driver about 10% or round up to the nearest euro.
- While staying at your hotel, tip 1-2 euros per bag.
- Your tour guide will be grateful for tips of about 5 euros per day, per each person in your party.
Tipping in Ireland
- It’s a good idea to check for included gratuity when you dine in Ireland, but if it’s not included, 10% of the bill is common. If your bartender provides you with table service, leaving 1-2 euros is appropriate. Remember to carry some cash, since many places don’t share credit card tips with their servers.
- When taking a taxi, a 10% tip is considered a great tip but rounding up the bill is what is expected.
- Your hotel bill often includes housekeeping charges, so you will want to double-check. When someone helps you with your bag a small tip of 1-2 euros is plenty.
- While you’re touring around Ireland, your tour guide doesn’t expect any sort of additional tip.
How to Tip in South American Countries
When in doubt in South America, follow the etiquette you’ll find below for Argentina, as many of the countries follow similar tipping guidelines.
Tipping in Argentina
- Leaving a tip is expected in Argentina, even if the rates are slightly lower than they are in the U.S. Whenever you receive excellent service or have an incredible experience, don’t hesitate to add to your tip. Leaving a tip of about 10% of the total bill in a restaurant is customary. Add an additional 5% if you’re dining in a high-end or luxury establishment.
- At your hotel, check to see if the housekeeping charges are added to the total bill. If not, leave 25-50 pesos per day. Anytime a porter or bellhop helps you with your bags, tip them 25-50 pesos.
- No matter where you’re going or how long it takes to get there, a standard tip for your taxi driver is 10% of the bill. If your ride was exceptional, add additional pesos.
- If you take a guided tour, provide your guide with 150-300 pesos for a full-day tour.
How to Tip in Chile
You are expected to tip everyone who provides you any service while you’re in Chile. It’s acceptable to tip in U.S. dollars while there, but if you have local currency, it is appreciated.
- When you’re eating in Chile, your final bill will include a 10% gratuity charge and may include a 5% sit-down fee if you’re in a high-end establishment. It’s customary to add an additional 5-10% to the bill tip if the service was good.
- When you leave a tip for your housekeeping staff at your hotel, remember to clearly mark it as such or hand it to them directly. For porters and bellhops, a $1 to $2 tip is appropriate.
- Your taxi driver will expect you to round up your bill or leave 10%, whichever is higher.
- Any tour guide who takes a group sightseeing will expect $10 to $25 per day, depending on the size of the group.
Tipping in Asian Countries
The cultures spread across the Asian continent are incredibly diverse. However, most Asian countries are similar in their beliefs about gratuity. Generally speaking, when traveling in Asian countries people do not expect you to tip. If you do tip, while they may accept it, they only do so to keep from publicly shaming you. Generally, even if you’re trying to be nice, you’re causing shame and embarrassment without meaning it.
There are exceptions to the rule, and it’s always best to study the individual countries you intend to visit in-depth before arriving to learn the customs.
How to Tip in China
In China, high-end restaurants and some in tourist destinations will add 10-15% to the final bill as a service charge, but there is no expectation for you to tip beyond that amount. Tipping is expected with taxi cabs, but even then, you’re only expected to round up the fare. If you’re staying in a luxury hotel a small tip of 10 yuan per bag is acceptable to tip your porter.
Tipping in South Korea
If you visit South Korea, tipping isn’t a common practice. Rounding your cab fare up is common, but otherwise, research local Korean customs for other ways to show your appreciation.
How to Tip in Japan
Customs in Japan are somewhat like those in China. Giving someone a tip is still considered to be rude. If you must leave a tip for some reason, leave it discreetly in an envelope.
Tipping in Thailand
When you eat at an upscale spot in Thailand, add 10% to the total bill if they don’t include a service charge. If you’re dining somewhere on a more moderate level, you should simply round up the bill.
How to Tip in India
Whether you consider India part of southern Asia or part of the Indian subcontinent, the rules there for gratuity are quite different from those in the rest of Asia. Always double-check your bill to see if there are service charges included in the bill, as this is a common practice in India.
If gratuity isn’t included in your hotel bill, tip 50 rupees per bag when someone assists you with it and 200 rupees for your housekeeping staff per night. Some hotels will have a tipping box for you to use, but if not, leave it in a clearly marked envelope with the front desk staff.
When you dine at a high-end Indian restaurant, tip 10% if the charge isn’t already included in the bill. When you’re dining in a more moderate establishment, a tip of about 7% is standard. If you eat from a food stall or a street vendor, gratuity is not expected.
When you take a taxi anywhere, tell them to keep the change as a gesture of appreciation.
Tipping in Oceania
It’s easy to say that Australians and New Zealanders aren’t enthusiastic about tipping. In Australia—especially in tourist destinations—10-15% gratuity is plenty when visiting a nicer restaurant. Feel free to round up the bill to show gratitude to your cab driver.
However, when you’re in New Zealand, many people will still be embarrassed if you attempt to tip them.
How to Tip in African Countries
In most African countries, restaurants and other tourist destinations add a 10% service charge to your bill. If they don’t, tip 10-15% of the total bill for good service. If you’re having drinks in a bar, always round up your tab.
If your travels take you on safari, or another guided tour of the region, companies generally publish appropriate guidelines for how to tip the staff, including drivers, guides, porters, and cooks.
Tipping in the Caribbean Islands
While each visit to a Caribbean island is a different experience, there are some basic rules of thumb for tipping you can follow and be confident you won’t be found offensive.
When you go out to eat, most restaurants include a charge of 10%. If this is the case, you aren’t expected to leave additional tips. However, if there isn’t a service charge on your bill, tip 10-15% and $1 to $2 for each drink from the bar.
Many hotels in the Caribbean add service charges to your final bill to cover the cost of all gratuities you would spend while staying there, but not all do. It’s important to be aware of the hotel’s policy before you arrive so you will be prepared.
If your hotel does not include service charges, tipping bellhops $1 to $2 per bag is customary, and $2 per day is the minimum for the housekeeping staff. If you are staying in a luxury hotel or resort, you may want to add $1 to $2 to each tip.
Depending on which island you’re visiting, the rules for taxi fares vary widely in the Caribbean. While some islands require payment per car, others expect payment per person. In some places, taxi fares are based on fixed government rates, but other times it’s a meter system. While most places require taxis to post their rate card, it’s a good idea to understand the fare rates before taking a ride, and a $1 to $2 tip is appropriate for most rides within the same city—unless it’s unusually busy or a holiday.
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