To tip or not to tip — that is the question. Whether or not you hand extra cash to a bellhop or round up the restaurant bill often depends on a country’s local customs. For example, if you live in the U.S., you’ll know that tipping is pretty much always expected by certain workers in the service industry, like servers and bartenders, who often rely on tips to make up the bulk of their wages. In other countries, like Japan, a tip will likely be seen as insulting by staff.
When traveling internationally, the fact that tipping expectations vary drastically from one country to another can make some social situations a nerve-wracking experience. Even if you’re sure a tip will be accepted, sometimes it’s not clear how much you should give. One study by Comparethemarket found that British travelers over-tip by about $89 on vacation, and nearly one in five of those surveyed found that confusion over tipping etiquette had a negative impact on their stay abroad.
So how much — if at all — should you really be tipping to service industry staff in different countries? Our researchers at Hawaiian Islands have scoured the internet for advice on how much to tip restaurant staff, hotel staff and taxi drivers in 162 countries to help take the stress out of dining and getting about abroad.
What We Did
Hawaiian Islands found advice on how much to tip restaurant staff, hotel staff and taxi drivers on TripAdvisor’s tipping etiquette guides. We then cross-referenced them with at least one other source for accuracy.
- In over a third of countries, you should give an exact 10% tip to restaurant staff
- The U.S. is the only country where an exact 15% tip is standard for taxi drivers
- You’re not ever expected to leave a tip in some countries like Japan and South Korea
Restaurant Staff in the U.S. Expect the Biggest Tips
When you’re dining out, polite and attentive servers and restaurant staff can make all the difference to your experience. But depending on where you are in the world, tips can either be an optional bonus for outstanding service or an expectation.
In 66 countries, leaving a tip of exactly 10% of the bill is the correct gesture. Many of these countries are in Europe. Though tipping as a practice started out in Europe, in many countries, it’s no longer an expected part of dining out: one study found that of the different kinds of pricing models in restaurants, restaurants in Europe generally include service costs in the bill as minimum wages are set in law. A 10% tip is, therefore, a kind gesture, but servers won’t chase you down if you forget.
While other countries like Serbia, Armenia and Canada suggest a tip range that maxes out at 20%, the U.S. is the only country in our analysis where a minimum 20% tip for restaurant staff is standard. While tipping was once declared un-American and illegal in six states, it’s now a huge part of American culture, and federal law dictates that employers can pay tipped staff just $2.13 an hour if they make at least $30 a month extra in tips. This means that tips make up over half of a typical restaurant worker’s income.
Budget a Couple of Dollars for Hotel Staff (Unless You’re in Asia)
After a long and weary day of traveling, there’s nothing better than hotel staff greeting you with a smile and helping to take your luggage to your room. Our research reveals the right amount to tip a bellhop or hotel porter if they were to carry two of your bags in 141 countries.
In 37 countries, you can choose to tip hotel staff $1 or $2. These countries include 11 in North America — but not the U.S., where the suggested tip range for hotel staff is on the pricier end at $2 to $5. In other countries — including African nations Botswana, Ethiopia and Algeria — a tip of at least 50 cents is sufficient.
In 32 countries, you don’t need to tip hotel staff. Some of these countries are located in Asia, where tipping is generally not part of the culture. These countries include South Korea, China and Japan, where tipping in any instance is likely to be refused because providing exceptional customer service (without an extra cash incentive) is already a standard. One of the few places a tip may be accepted in Japan is in a ryokan (a traditional inn). In this scenario, you can respectfully hand over a cash gift (called kokorozuke) to the staff in an envelope.
In Many Countries, You Don’t Need to Tip Your Taxi Driver
With their intimate knowledge of the local area, taxi drivers offer a swift and direct way to get to your destination — but how much should you tip them in different countries around the world? Our research of taxi tip suggestions reveals that in 88 countries, you don’t need to give any extra cash to your driver on top of the cab fare. Elsewhere, rounding up the fare is a good way to tip your taxi driver.
The most common exact percentage tip to give is 10%, which is the suggested amount in 21 countries, including Canada, France and Spain. In the U.S., where the mean hourly wage for a taxi driver is $14.45, tip etiquette dictates adding 15% to the fare.
How much taxi drivers earn as base pay can vary drastically around the world. While it was once declared one of the worst-paid professions in Australia, over in Cuba, cab drivers can earn more than doctors. In recent years, ride-sharing apps like Uber have exploded in popularity, and at least in the U.S., Uber drivers can earn more than traditional cab drivers.
Don’t Let Tipping Worries Ruin Your Vacation
If you live in the U.S., you’ll likely know just how important tips are to certain workers, like restaurant servers, who may rely on them to make up their wages. Labor standards in other countries might mean that workers don’t rely on tips, but local etiquette is to give a little something extra for their service. In other countries still, handing over a tip might be seen as a serious insult — no wonder it’s so confusing to navigate tipping customs when traveling. Explore our handy HTML table below to find out how much to tip restaurant staff, hotel staff and taxi drivers in a country of your choice.
Thankfully, the internet has made it easier than ever to stay up to date with local advice on exactly how much to tip service staff, taking the stress out of dining out, taking a taxi and handing over bags to helpful hotel porters. If you’re ever in doubt, Western Union suggests discreetly asking your server or a manager what the custom is. Or you can simply round the bill up.
Methodology & Sources
To build a comprehensive guide to tipping around the world, we searched for each country’s tipping etiquette for restaurant staff, hotel staff and taxi drivers on each country’s TripAdvisor tipping guide (e.g., for the UK), then cross-referenced these figures with at least one other source. For countries without TripAdvisor tipping guides, at least two sources were used to find accurate tipping amounts.
Where a conclusive consensus on tip amounts could not be found we have omitted these countries from the data. These are marked with a ‘—’ in the interactive table. We defined a consensus as multiple articles, datasets or first-hand knowledge that agreed on a tip amount. In many smaller nations and several African countries, we were not able to find sufficient corroboration to be able to conclusively define the tip amount.
For restaurant staff, ‘no tip’ is suggested if tips are only locally suggested for exceptional service or if tipping is uncommon.
For hotel staff, the data is based on ‘housekeeping’ staff and does not include porters, concierges or other hotel staff members.
The data was collected in August 2022.