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What You Should Tip That Terrific Waiter in Beijing, and Other Tipping Tips for International Travel




Experiencing cultural differences and learning about the way people live in other countries is one of the great allures of international travel. But it can also be intimidating trying to navigate another culture without offending the locals.

And one custom that changes from country to country and that can seem perplexing is tipping; what’s the proper amount to tip someone who provides great service?

Financial website Mint.com has your back. They put together this terrific infographic that explains the tipping practices in different countries. And if you don’t feel like carrying around a poster of that infographic on your trip around the world, you could download the free global tipping app.

Here’s an overview of tipping practices around the world:

  • South and Central America – Check the bill for a service charge; if one is included there’s no need to tip. If not, 10 to 15 percent is the expected tip in restaurants; 10 percent is fine for other service providers.
  • Europe – Restaurants and other service providers in most western European countries include a service charge to your total bill. Check the bill and if service is included, leave some change or round up to the next euro. If service is not included, leave 10 to 15 percent.
  • Africa and the Middle East – in northern Africa and the Middle East, a service charge is often included on the bill. If it isn’t, tipping anywhere from five to 15 percent is acceptable. Larger tips (10 to 20 percent) are expected in richer countries such as Saudi Arabia. It’s important to tip discreetly in these countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, tip 10 to 15 percent.
  • Asia and the Pacific Rim – In Japan, China and Korea, tips are generally not allowed. There are exceptions for some service providers, but tipping should be done discretely, if at all. In the rest of Asia and in Australia and New Zealand, tips of 10 to 15 percent are customary.

There are nuances for different service providers in every country. To get a better understanding of how to handle the sometimes sticky topic of tipping in your destination country, it’s best to include this in the homework you do before leaving on your trip.


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Linda Barbara

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