Tipping culture varies widely around the world. In some countries, tipping is expected and even essential, while in others it is considered rude or unnecessary.
Tipping in many countries is very rare or often not done at all, and unthinkable to some visitors. If you do choose to tip, it is important to tip fairly. A good rule of thumb is to tip 15-20% of the bill for good service. If you receive exceptional service, you may want to tip more. However, you should never feel obligated to tip more than you can afford.
- Check to see if a service charge is automatically added to the bill. If it is, you do not need to tip.
- If you are unsure about tipping customs in a particular country, ask your hotel or tour guide for advice.
- Be discreet when tipping. Do not make a big show of it, as this could be seen as offensive in some cultures.
- Tipping is not always about the amount of money you give. A small, thoughtful gift can sometimes be more appreciated than a large tip.
This map shows tipping customs in different countries.
Here is a general overview of tipping culture and etiquette in some major world regions:
Tipping is customary in North America, and the standard amount is 15-20% of the bill. In some restaurants, a service charge may be automatically added to the bill, in which case tipping is not expected.
A cultural norm, tipping has been a part of North American culture for centuries, and it is seen as a way to show appreciation for good service, however, tipping is expected, even if the service was terrible.
If you receive exceptionally poor or rude service and the manager does not correct the problem when you bring it to their attention, a deliberately small tip (one or two coins) will express your displeasure more clearly than leaving no tip at all (which may be construed as a forgotten tip).
- Taxis – 10–20%. For livery cabs, if you hail the cab on the street and negotiate the fare in advance, then pay the negotiated amount plus an extra $1–2.
- Shuttle bus drivers – $2–5 (tip more if they help you with your luggage)
- Private car & limousine drivers – 15–20%
- Parking valet – $1–3 for retrieving your car (unless there’s already a fee for parking)
- Tour guides/activity guides – Between $5 and $10 depending on the size of the group (tips are lower in large groups), the cost of the tour, how funny/informative the guide was.
- Full-service restaurants – 18–20%; tip higher (~20%) in higher-cost cities like New York and San Francisco. Many restaurants automatically charge a mandatory tip for larger groups, in which case you do not need to add any additional amount.
- Food delivery (pizza, etc.) – $2–5 minimum; 15–20% for larger orders
- Bartenders – $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15–20% of total
- Housekeeping in hotels – $2–3 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays
- Porter, skycap, bellhop, hotel doorman – $1–2 per bag if they assist ($3–5 minimum), $1 for hailing a taxi or calling a cab
- Hairdressers, masseuses, other personal services – 10–15%
Central and South America
Tipping is also customary in Central and South America, but the standard amount is lower than in North America, typically 10-15%. In some countries, such as Brazil, a service charge may be automatically added to the bill, in which case tipping is not expected.
Tipping is not as common in Europe as it is in North America or Central and South America. In some countries, such as France, tipping is considered rude. In other countries, such as Germany, tipping is not expected but is appreciated.
Tipping is not customary in most Asian countries. In some countries, such as China, tipping can even be considered offensive. In other countries, such as India, tipping is becoming more common, but the standard amount is still relatively low, typically 5-10%.
Middle East and Africa
Tipping is customary in some Middle Eastern and African countries, such as Egypt and Morocco. The standard amount is typically 10-15%. In other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, tipping is expected and the standard amount is higher, typically 20% or more.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to tip is up to the individual customer. However, it is important to be aware of the arguments for and against tipping so that you can make an informed decision.
Here are some of the arguments in favour of tipping:
- It is a way of showing appreciation for good service.
- It ensures that servers are motivated to provide good service.
- It can help to create a more personal connection between customers and servers.
- It can help to create a more positive atmosphere in restaurants and other businesses.
Here are some of the arguments against tipping:
- It is unfair to force customers to pay extra for services that should be included in the price of the product or service.
- It can lead to servers being underpaid, as they may rely on tips to make up for low wages.
- Tipping can lead to social inequality. People who can afford to tip more often receive better service than people who cannot afford to tip as much.
- Tipping can lead to tax evasion. Servers may not report all of their tips, which means that they are not paying taxes on all of their earnings.