News Travel Guide: tipping etiquette around the world

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Travel Guide: tipping etiquette around the world

Tipping etiquette varies drastically depending on where you are - it's hard to know how much to tip and when it's appropriate. So, to help you continue to win friends and not alienate people while travelling, Skyscanner Australia has compiled a handy guide to tipping cultures around the world.

tipping money wallet



A little tipping tip for those of you about to embark on an Indonesian getaway – it’s not all that common a practice! Hotels already charge 21% extra in tax, with 10% going to the government and the remainder allocated as service charge. With this rather substantial addition to your bill, tipping is never required. The same applies to restaurants, as most include service charge. But if you come across one that doesn’t, feel free to leave anything between 10,000 rupiah to 10% of the total cost.

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Much like it’s South East Asian counterparts, tipping isn’t an expected habit in Thailand. Public taxis are metered (and don’t let the drivers convince you otherwise), with fares often rounded up at the end of the journey. Most hotels and restaurants also already include a 10% service charge. However, if you feel like the service given merits a reward, go right ahead – the gesture won’t go unappreciated. At a casual restaurant, you can leave behind your loose change, but if the meal involves a more upscale setting with professional waitstaff, anything between 5% to 10% would be seen as appropriate.

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Singapore – another city that has hopped on board the 10% service charge bandwagon (and also 7% GST so brace yourself for the dinner bill). Tipping isn’t a large part of Singaporean culture, and the additional service charge means that people aren’t in the habit of tipping. The bellhops at your hotel can be given a small gratuity, as well as taxi drivers or tour guides, but it’s not expected and mostly left to your discretion. It’s worth noting that a restaurant’s service charge isn’t likely to end up in your server’s pockets, so if you’re especially appreciative of the service given it’d be best to tip the waitstaff personally.

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United States

Golden Gate bridge

Tipping is a longstanding tradition in America, one that leaves most of its tourists utterly befuddled and doing the mental math long after they’ve paid the bill. The percentage to tip varies according to venue and according (in theory) to the level of service. Those in the American service sector are paid based on the assumption that the addition of tips will build to an acceptable wage, so not including gratuities is more than a social faux-pas – it’s tantamount to a slap in the face. In restaurants, you’re expected to leave between 15% to 20%, which is higher than what is required at most other places. At bars the standard amount would be about 15%, with an additional $1 per transaction, so make sure you put your money where your beers are on a night out. And if you’re cabbing anywhere, be ready to tack an additional 10% to 15% on the final bill.

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The practice of tipping in Canada is rather similar to the one in America. 10% to 15% for cabs, 15% to 20% for restaurants, and at least a dollar a drink when at a bar. As those on both sides of the fence are fond of pointing out, they are two different countries, so make sure you trade those George Washington dolla dolla bills for loonies and toonies. The locals will thank you kindly for it – and perhaps invite you watch a game of hockey over Tim Horton’s donuts.

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Parisians will probably tell you there is no tipping standard in Paris, and the French only tip if they deem the service worthy. Anyway, in restaurants service charge is usually ‘compris’ – included in the bill. If the service provided was particularly excellent though, there is no reason not to duly reward with a further 5% in gratuity. Tips are not generally given to taxi drivers either, but rounding up would make it easier when it comes to change. And if you’re spending your night holed up in a bar down a quaint Parisian alleyway, it’s not customary to tip. Unless, of course, you’re feeling particularly guilty…

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china palace

While in some countries it’s seen as rude not to tip, in China it’s the complete opposite – tipping is borderline offensive. At local restaurants, hotels and during domestic travel, tipping isn’t expected… or even allowed, so if you have a burning desire to do so, be discreet about it. If a tip is at all required, it would have been added onto the bill as a service fee. Some of the nicer hotels and restaurants do add 5% to 10% but nothing beyond that. And if you were to tip the bellboy or concierge, 10 yuan per bag is the standard amount.

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Tokyo city

Remember how we said tipping could possibly cause offence in China? Well in Japan, it DEFINITELY does. So don’t do it. It’s not wanted or welcomed and they won’t be thanking you for your generosity. It’s considered an insult, and you don’t want to be that tourist. So the takeaway from all this? Just don’t do it.

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Now that you’re familiar with the tipping traditions of the world, there’s no holding back – time to get travelling! Search Skyscanner Australia for the cheapest deals on flights and hotels, no booking fees!