Travel Money Guide - How much to tip

It’s no secret that Brits find tipping to be a minefield. It’s a custom we’ve imported from the USA, but we don’t apply it as widely as they do there. Do you tip cab drivers? What about in your local pub? The confusion only grows when we try tipping when overseas, as we don’t want to waste our carefully budgeted travel money. Where should you tip and where not? How much is appropriate to tip and when?

Confused about how to tip?

We recently surveyed people across the UK to find out the nation’s tipping behaviour. The one thing we know for sure, is that Brits don’t know for certain how much to tip! Only 19% of us are confident we know how much to tip, when on holiday overseas.

Which countries to tip in

Before you travel and plan how much holiday money you need, it’s a good idea to find out if tipping is common practise where you’re going, especially as in some countries a tip can actually be offensive. Take Japan for example – the Japanese have a strong culture of service, and people pride themselves on doing their job well for the salary they are paid. There’s no expectation of reward, so giving a tip is considered rude.

On the other end of the scale is America where leaving a tip, or a ‘gratuity’, is almost non-negotiable, regardless of the level of service. Tipping is especially important in bars, restaurants and hotels, where it is a substantial part of the employees’ livelihood because wages are low. Employees in the States can earn up to three quarters of their pay through tips, so for every drink you buy in America, plan to pay an extra dollar of your travel money in gratuity, whether or not you think it’s deserved.

To tip or not to tip gets even more mind boggling in places where it may not be customary, but it is appreciated. We’ve put together this table as a starting point to check if you should tip or not:

Countries you should tip in
Do Don’t Tipping not customary,
but appreciated
Czech Republic Fiji Australia
Egypt Hong Kong Belgium
France Iceland Brazil
Germany Japan China
Greece Singapore Denmark
Hungary   Estonia
India   Finland
Italy   French Polynesia
Morocco   Korea
Poland   Myanmar
Portugal   New Zealand
Russia   Norway
Spain   Switzerland
Sweden    
Thailand    
Turkey    
UAE    
USA    

 

How much should you tip

Even if you know that you should be tipping, it can still be confusing to know how much. 6% of Brits tip more than 20% of their bill for most services, but the amount you should tip varies from country to country and the type of service you’re receiving. From your tour guide, to your porter, cab driver, housekeeping, or bartender, each may need to be tipped differently. We’ve created this rough guide to make it easier to figure out who to tip, and how much.

 

Tipping guide
Country Bars Dining Taxis Hotel Staff Tours
Czech Republic No tip 10-15% Round up 25 CZK p/day 200-400 CZK p/day
Egypt 10% 10-15% No tip 3-10 LE p/day 50 LE p/day
France No tip No tip 10% 1-2€ p/day 2-5€
Germany Round up Round up Round up 3-5€ p/day 10%
Greece No tip 5-10% No tip 1-2€ p/day 2-5€ p/day
Hungary No tip 10-15% 10% 200-500Ft 500Ft p/day
India No tip 5-10% No tip 20-50 R p/bag 100-300 R p/day
Italy No tip 10-15% No tip No tip 5 €
Morocco Round up 10-15% Round up 10-20 Dh p/day 5-10 Dh
Poland No tip 10-15% No tip No tip 10-15%
Portugal No tip 5-10% Round up 1-2€ p/day 5€ p/day
Russia No tip 10-15% Round up 30-120 R 300 R p/day
Spain No tip 10% Round up 2-5€ p/day No tip
Sweden Round up Round up Round up No tip No tip
Thailand No tip 10% Round up 20-50 Baht 300-600 Baht p/day
Turkey Round up 10% Round up 4-5 TL p/day 10-15 TL p/day
UAE No tip 15-20% Round up 5-30 Dirhams No tip
USA 15-20% 15-25% 10-15% 15-20% 15-20%

Holiday tipping checklist

There will always be tipping rules unique to where you’re visiting, and tipping etiquette is likely to vary in different regions and cities even within countries, so it’s best to do a little research about your travel destination before you set off on your journey. Here’s our checklist to help you get it right:

  • Factor in tips by adding an extra 10 to 20 per cent to your planned holiday budget.
  • Make sure you travel out with some local currency for taxi drivers, hotel porters and any other tips that may come up along the way.
  • Always check the bill to see if service is already included before adding a tip.
  • If the service charge is included on the bill, feel free to ask what happens to it. Often it doesn’t go into the waiter’s pocket, in which case you might want to hand over a little extra.
  • Never ask the person providing the service directly how much they should be tipped. They may tell you nothing out of culturally expected politeness, when in fact tipping is the norm. A hotel concierge can be a good guide to local tipping for non-hotel services.

How much do you tip?

Tipping will always come down to personal preferences and experience, despite what may be socially expected. Just make sure you’ve budgeted a little extra travel money for tips.