The Ultimate Guide | International Tipping Customs

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 06:25 am

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 06:25 am

Discover the diverse world of international tipping customs with our comprehensive guide. Learn appropriate tipping percentages and etiquette for services worldwide and cultural nuances from North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Whether you travel abroad or at home, ensure you make a positive impression by increasing your knowledge.

Introduction to International Tipping Customs

Here is a guide to the fascinating world of tipping practices worldwide. We explore the engaging techniques of listing in this informative resource. Whether you’re a globetrotter, a business traveler, or simply curious about different cultures, this guide will provide valuable insights into how tipping is practiced in various countries and regions. Discover how to navigate international interactions confidently and respectfully by understanding tipping percentages, etiquette, and cultural considerations.

Tipping Customs in North America

Throughout North America, tipping is a crucial part of the service industry. Understanding the customs and expectations of tipping can enhance smooth interactions and show appreciation for excellent service.

  1. United States: As a common courtesy in the United States, tipping is often a significant source of income for service industry workers. In restaurants, it is customary to tip servers about 15-20% of the total bill before tax. Other service providers, such as taxi drivers, hotel staff, and hairstylists, are also expected to receive 15-20% tips.
  2. Canada: There is a custom in Canada to tip servers around 15-20% of the pre-tax bill. Other service providers, such as bartenders, hotel staff, and taxi drivers, expect around 15-20% tips.
  3. Who to tip: Additionally, it is common practice to tip bartenders, taxi drivers, hotel staff (such as bellhops, concierges, and housekeepers), hairstylists, and spa service providers.
  4. Etiquette and expectations: It is customary to leave cash tips directly to service providers, although some establishments accept tips via credit cards. Tipping should be based on the quality of service received. A larger piece of information may be appropriate if the service was exceptional.
  5. Exceptions and variations: It is essential to check for automatic gratuities before tipping additional amounts in high-end establishments or parties with large numbers. As a token of appreciation, small change or loose coins can be left in fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, and self-service establishments. However, tipping is not mandatory.

You can demonstrate respect for service providers by understanding and following North American tipping customs, which will contribute to positive interactions during your travels or while enjoying local services.

Tipping Customs in Europe

Here are some critical insights into European tipping customs, which vary significantly from country to country.

International Tipping Customs
International Tipping Customs
  1. Western Europe: Generally, restaurant service charges are included in the bill in countries like France, Germany, and Spain, but a small additional tip is often left as a token of appreciation for the service. In countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands, a gratuity of around 10-15% is expected in restaurants, but verify if a service charge has already been included in the bill.
  2. Eastern Europe: There is a wide range of tipping customs in Eastern Europe. In some countries such as Poland and Hungary, listing around 10-15% in restaurants is customary. However, rounding up the bill or leaving an additional tip is appreciated in other countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  3. Service charges and gratuity: It is more common in European countries to include a service charge or gratuity in the bill, particularly in restaurants. Check the account to determine whether a service charge has been included before providing an additional tip.
  4. Cultural variations: Cultural factors can also influence tipping customs. Tipping is less common or expected in some countries, especially in more casual establishments. Others, such as Switzerland, include a service charge, and tipping is not mandatory but appreciated.
  5. Etiquette and expectations: In Europe, tipping is more common than in North America and is appreciated, although it is not always mandatory. The tip amount is often determined by the level of service received. It is common to leave information in cash directly with the service provider.

Ensure that you are familiar with tipping customs in the country that you are visiting. By adhering to local businesses, you will show your appreciation for excellent service while respecting the local cultural norms.

Tipping Customs in Asia

While tipping is not always common in some Asian countries, others appreciate it. Here are some key insights into Asian tipping customs:

  1. East Asia: Traditionally, tipping has been viewed as unnecessary or even rude in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. A small tip may be accepted in high-end establishments catering to international visitors. However, the focus is on providing excellent service without expecting additional compensation.
  2. Southeast Asia: In Southeast Asia, tipping practices vary widely. In countries like Thailand, tipping is more prevalent, particularly in tourist areas. Generally, it is customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip for services such as restaurants, taxis, and tour guides. In Indonesia and Vietnam, tipping is also appreciated but is less prevalent than in other countries.
  3. Hospitality industry expectations: In Asia, especially in luxury hotels, a service charge covers gratuities for hotel staff. However, if hotel porters, housekeeping, and concierge provide exceptional service, it is customary to give them a small tip.
  4. Alternative forms of appreciation: There are alternative ways to express appreciation in Asian countries. For example, giving a small gift or expressing gratitude verbally may be more meaningful in Japan than leaving a cash tip.
  5. Local customs and sensitivities: When tipping in Asia, it is essential to consider local businesses and sensitivities. Overtipping can be regarded as disrespectful or even embarrassing to the service provider in some countries. It is always advisable to observe the local culture and follow its practices.
  6. Tourist areas and international establishments: In tourist areas or international establishments, tipping expectations may be more aligned with Western customs. In such cases, it is advisable to follow the customary tipping practices of the region to demonstrate appreciation.

If you are travelling to Asia, it is essential to understand the tipping customs of that country. It is possible to improve your interactions and show appreciation for the services provided by respecting local traditions and expressing gratitude in culturally appropriate ways.

Tipping Customs in Latin America and Africa

Culture and economics can affect tipping practices in Latin America and Africa, which can differ from country to country. Understanding local customs can assist in ensuring appropriate tipping practices. To understand tipping customs in Latin America and Africa, the following information is provided:

Latin America:

  • Mexico: Tipping in Mexico is customary. Tipping between 10-15% of the bill in restaurants is standard. Hotel staff, taxi drivers, and tour guides are also expected to tip.
  • Argentina: The standard tip in Argentina is around 10%. Hotel staff and taxi drivers are also frequently listed. Some establishments may include a service charge, so checking the bill before adding another tip is essential.
  • Brazil: It is customary in Brazil to tip around 10% on top of the service charge. Tipping hotel staff and tour guides is also expected.


  • North Africa: Tipping is common in many countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. Tipping is expected for services like restaurants, hotel staff, tour guides, and taxi drivers. It varies based on the level of service provided.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Sub-Saharan African tipping customs vary by country. In some countries, like South Africa, tipping is customary in restaurants, hotels, tour guides, and safari guides. Tipping percentages can range from 10% to 15%.

Cultural considerations: 

Latin America and Africa view tipping as a gesture of appreciation for service. Building relationships and respecting cultural differences can enhance interactions.

Local guidance: 

The best way to navigate tipping customs effectively is to seek local guidance or conduct research specific to the country or region. Understanding local customs and expectations may vary, which can help ensure appropriate tipping practices.

In Latin America and Africa, you can show appreciation for good service and contribute positively to the local economy and service industries by following the tipping customs.

1. What is the guideline for tipping?

The standard recommendation is to tip at least 10% in the event of poor service. However, you should carefully check your bill since some restaurants already include a gratuity in the price. In such cases, you may or may not wish to add another tip. In sit-down restaurants, it is customary to tip wait for staff 15 to 20 percent of the bill amount before taxes.

2. What is the formula for tipping?

For instance, if the total bill for a service is $27 and the customary tip percentages are 15% (0.15), 18% (0.18), or 20% (0.20), then a tip is calculated by multiplying the total bill amount by the tip percentage, which is expressed as a decimal.

3. What is the tipping rate?

It is generally considered appropriate to tip 15% for average service. Generally, tipping around 20% is a good gesture if your server goes above and beyond. If your service is excellent, you can tip above 20%. You should, however, speak to the manager about poor service rather than withholding it.

4. What is the tip total?

A Total Interest Percentage (TIP) discloses how much interest you will pay throughout your mortgage loan.

5. What is the purpose of tipping?

Individuals tip for various reasons. Some tip to support servers, boost their earnings and bring them joy. Others tip with the expectation of receiving good service in the future. Some tips to avoid any negative judgment from the server, not wanting to be perceived negatively. Others tip due to a sense of duty or responsibility.


In conclusion, understanding international tipping customs is essential for travellers and individuals engaging in cross-cultural interactions. This guide will give you insights into tipping practices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. When familiar with tipping percentages, etiquette, and cultural considerations, one can navigate tipping situations confidently, respect local customs, and express appreciation for good service.

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About The Doers Firm

The Doers Firm is a studio that focuses on web development and digital marketing. They specialize in creating websites and implementing digital marketing strategies. The team at The Doers Firm is highly regarded and consists of passionate individuals. They have also developed a useful tool called the Tattoo Tip Calculator, which helps solve a specific problem.

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