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When (and When NOT!) to Tip Abroad

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When (and When NOT!) to Tip Abroad

Million Mile SecretsWhen (and When NOT!) to Tip AbroadMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Lots of folks in the US consider ~20% to be the “standard” tip amount.  But when you’re traveling abroad, tipping practices vary from country to country!

Who to Tip is a guide to worldwide tipping etiquette.  It’s not an app, but a useful website folks can reference when traveling overseas.

Tipping Guide
Should You Leave a Tip for a Meal In France? Use the “Who to Tip” Guide to Find Out!

Here’s how to use the guide!

Worldwide Tipping Guide

Link:   Who to Tip Online Guide

Tipping customs vary significantly depending on the country.  That’s why a site like Who to Tip can be helpful when you’re traveling abroad!

In some instances, for example, tipping a tour guide is expected, while tipping in a restaurant isn’t common.  So it helps to research before you travel to a new country.

And just because you’re using points for a free hotel stay doesn’t mean you should neglect the hotel staff.  Especially if tipping porters or housekeeping is common practice.

Tipping Guide
In Certain Countries, Like Germany, Portugal, and Peru, Leaving a Tip for Hotel Staff Is Expected

In Australia, for example, tips aren’t expected.  And in some European countries, like Italy, a service charge is often already included in a restaurant bills, so you’d be tipping twice if you added any gratuity!

But in a country like Germany, leaving a couple of Euros for the housekeeping staff is expected for good service.

How to Use “Who to Tip”

Because tipping etiquette varies so much between countries and the type of service you’re receiving, using Who to Tip can help save you time and (sometimes!) money, because it’s a convenient spot to find tipping information for 81 countries.

Using the site is straightforward.  On the homepage, you’ll find a list of countries to choose from.  Click the country you want tipping information about.

Tipping Guide
Select the Country You’re Traveling To by Clicking a Box!

From there, you’ll find an overview of tipping etiquette in that country.  For example, in Italy, tipping isn’t expected unless someone exceeds your expectations.

Tipping Guide
The “Who to Tip” Site Provides a Summary of Tipping Customs for Each Country

You’ll also see tipping specifics for services like hotels, restaurants, spas, tour guides, and taxi drivers.  Along with general travel tips, like when to visit the area and what type of food to try.

Tipping Guide
A Service Charge Is Included on Restaurant Bills in Italy, So Tipping Isn’t Expected. But a 10% Tip for Spa Services Is Customary!

Million Mile Secrets team member Scott confirmed the Who to Tip information about Poland, Finland, and Mexico seems accurate.

He noted that restaurant waitstaff in Poland work partly for tips, and they very much prefer their tips in cash.  And massages (and spa services in general) are very inexpensive compared to the US, so he was always happy to leave a tip.

But in Finland, for example, waiters receive a full wage, and tipping isn’t expected.

In Mexico, 15% is considered a very good tip in a restaurant.  And because waiters prefer cash tips, he tried to tip in cash whenever possible during his trip there.

Are There Drawbacks?

Who to Tip has information for 81 countries, but there are ~195 countries in the world (depending on which source you check).  So if you’re looking for tipping information for places like Ethiopia, Seychelles, Grenada, Estonia, and others, you’ll have to find it somewhere else!

Also, you can NOT use Who to Tip without an internet connection, which could be an issue when traveling.

And it would be nice if it were an app instead of, or in addition to, a website, so it would be easier to use on-the-go.

I accessed the website on my phone.  Although it worked fine, it was difficult to navigate through the information and switch between countries.

Lastly, having the ability to calculate a tip through the website would be a great improvement.  And a feature I’d definitely suggest including if they created a Who to Tip app!

Other Apps and Guides With Tipping Information

The Global Tipping Guide Pro app seems to be the only travel tipping app for Android users.  It costs ~$2, but doesn’t get great reviews.  With the app, you’ll find tipping practices for 60+ countries and have the ability to calculate tips within the app.

Tipping Guide
You’ll Find Tipping Information for 60+ Countries With the “Global Tipping Guide Pro” Android App

Piper, a travel tipping app for Apple users, could be another good option for some folks.  It gets great reviews and provides tipping advice for 75 countries.  Reviewers like that you can use it without an internet connection and calculate tips within the app.

You can choose to pay ~$1 for each country’s information or ~$5 for all available countries.

Tipping Guide
Being Able to Use the Piper Travel Tipping App Offline Is Convenient

If you don’t want to use an app or can’t find a particular country’s tipping practices, travel sites and guide books, like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet, provide tipping guidelines for most countries.

For example, here’s TripAdvisor’s Tipping & Etiquette guide for France.  And on the Lonely Planet website (and in their guidebooks), you can find tipping information, like what’s shown here for traveling & tipping in India.

Bottom Line

In the US, folks are accustomed to tipping ~15% to ~20% for meals, spa treatments, tour guides, taxi rides, and more.  But tipping customs vary significantly depending on the country!  

Using a website like Who to Tip can save you time (and money!) when you’re traveling abroad.  Because it provides tipping etiquette for 81 countries.  

How much do you tip when you’re on vacation?  Have you had an interesting experience when it comes to tipping while traveling overseas?  Tell me about it in the comments!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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We always overtip at all inclusives in Mexico. These people work their butts off! We leave at least $2 per round of drinks, $5 to waiters and $5 day at least in room. Most resorts say tipping is included but the staff still appreciates a tip. How will they ever get ahead if not?

I’m from Taiwan and my wife if from Philippines. I’d argue that the tipping to those two countries are not entirely accurate. For example, in Taiwan, it is not expected to tip hair dresser. In fact, it is not expected to tip anywhere except tourist guides. In Philippines, 10% is way too much at restaurants. The rate is more closer to $1 per person or 5% of the bill. These guides should really provide information from locals on their customs and not from “savvy travelers” that think they know just because they travel a lot.

To tip someone is pernicious habit. Learn what Japanese do.