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