How to Tip Around the World

Tipping can be a controversial topic, since whether or not you should tip, and how much, depends on who you ask. Therefore, consider this a general guideline, keeping in mind that there are no hard and fast rules in many countries.

United States

It should be noted that even in countries without a tipping history, an increasing number of people in the service industry, especially in touristy areas, have come to expect tips from Americans, even if they don’t expect tips from the locals. In those cases, tipping is discretionary.

Prices throughout are in dollars, so remember to convert to local currency. It’s also best to tip cash in the local currency whenever possible. Finally, more upscale establishments and services will command larger tips, which are reflected in the price ranges.

Starting with the U.S., unless a service charge has been added, tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill, before tax, at restaurants. Bear in mind that waiters earn as little as $2.13 an hour before tips in many states. If there’s a coat check, leave $1 to $2 unless there’s a fixed price. Leave $1 to $2 a drink at bars, unless you also ordered food. In that case, tip 15 to 20 percent. There’s no obligation to leave anything in the tip jars that are commonly found at coffee shops and take-out spots, but $1 will suffice for good service.

Canada

Canada generally follows similar guidelines as the U.S., so tip 15 to 20 percent at restaurants. Exceptions would include counter service, since tip jars aren’t as common.

Mexico

Tipping guidelines are similar to the U.S., so tip 10 to 15 percent in restaurants and bars.

United Kingdom

Restaurants, especially in cities, often add a service charge. If not, tip 10 to 15 percent. Tipping isn’t expected at pubs or fast-food places.

France

Restaurants, cafes and bars typically add a service charge, or service compris, to the bill. If not, it’s customary to leave up to 15 percent for good service.

Italy

Some restaurants include a cover charge, known as pane e coperto, and/or a service charge, or servizio. However, the Lazio region (which includes Rome) has banned the pane e coperto charge. It’s worth noting that additional tipping isn’t expected, whether or not those charges appear on a bill, aside from rounding up the bill. It’s also not expected at bars unless you ordered table service. In those instances, round up the bill as well.

Spain

Tipping (propina) generally isn’t required or expected. If the service at a higher-end restaurant was good, leave 10 percent. You can simply round up the bill everywhere else.

Croatia

Tipping generally isn’t required or expected in Croatia either. Round up the bill at casual spots, and tip 10 to 15 percent at nicer establishments.   

Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, which includes Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, a service charge is typically added at restaurants and bars, so there’s no need to tip more. However, it’s common practice to round up the bill. It’s also customary to tip 10 percent at upscale restaurants.

Turkey

Tipping, or baksheesh, is expected in major cities and touristy areas. It’s customary to tip 10 percent unless a service charge (servis dahil) is already included. Have Turkish lira on hand, since unlike other countries, you can’t add the tip on a credit card. Round up the bill at bars.

Russia

Service charges aren’t usually added, so tip 10 percent. Only tip in bars if you received table service.

Middle East

Culturally, tipping is expected throughout the region. Tip amounts vary from country to country, and should be given discreetly.

Israel: If a service charge is added, simply round up the bill. If it’s not, tip 10 to 15 percent.

United Arab Emirates (UAE): This includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A 10 percent service charge is often added, along with a six percent tourism tax. It’s not uncommon to tip 10 to 15 percent on top of this for good service. If these charges aren’t added, tip 10 to 15 percent.

Egypt: A 10 percent service charge is often included in the bill, but it’s common to add an additional 10 percent since the service charge goes only to the restaurant, not the waitstaff.

Morocco

Tip 10 percent, unless a service charge is already added. Round up the bill at bars.

South Africa

Unless there’s a service charge, tip 10 to 15 percent. Round up the bill at bars.

India

Tipping culture in India is complicated, with as many exceptions as rules. While tipping isn’t required, some service providers in large cities and touristy areas may expect them. Keep in mind that amounts are discretionary. Tip 10 percent at restaurants and bars unless a service charge is added.

China and Hong Kong

Tipping has long been considered a rude practice in China, although that mindset is slowly changing. Generally tips aren’t expected at local spots, but service charges have become more common in tourist areas. Hong Kong is the exception, where tipping is a more common practice.

Some upscale businesses may include a 10 to 15 percent service charge; otherwise don’t tip in China. Many Hong Kong restaurants add a 10 to 15 percent service charge, in which case you only need to round up the bill. Bartenders don’t expect tips.

Singapore

Generally there is no tipping throughout Southeast Asia, but it’s not an uncommon practice at upscale or Western hotels and restaurants. However, there are some exceptions in the region.

Tipping in Singapore isn’t necessarily expected, but it’s become more common as a result of a sizable expat community and international visitors. Restaurants often add a 10 percent service charge, and additional tipping is optional.

Philippines

Tipping has become a more accepted practice, particularly in the tourism industry. Many restaurants and bars include a 10 percent service charge; if not, tip about 10 percent. Round up the bill at bars.

Thailand

Upscale eateries typically add a 10 percent service charge; if not, tip 10 percent. Round up the bill at more modest spots.

Japan

Similar to China, Japan maintains a no-tipping culture, to the extent where giving a tip can be considered rude. At restaurants, it's not unheard of for waiters to run after customers in order to return the tip.

In the rare cases when you feel you must tip, leave the money in an envelope.

Australia

Tipping isn’t expected at most establishments or bars. Leave 10 percent at high-end restaurants.

Brazil

A 10 percent service charge is commonly added at restaurants; if not, tip 10 percent.

Caribbean

It’s customary to tip 10 to 15 percent at restaurants and bars.

In conclusion, an overall rule of thumb for tipping around the world is that when in doubt, tip 10 percent in countries that have tipping practices. In countries that don’t, such as Japan, consider giving a small, thoughtful gift for service that went above and beyond.

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