Friday, June 14, 2024

How much should I tip in: Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand

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  • Tipping is not widely expected in Asia, and can actually be seen as offensive in some countries.
  • In most of Africa, a 10-15% gratuity on restaurant bills is customary.
  • In Europe, it varies from country to country, but in general visitors don’t need to leave a huge tip.

To tip or not to tip – and how much – is a question on many American travelers’ minds as they venture abroad this summer.

The U.S. is known around the world for its generous tipping culture, but that standard, as much as 20% on some bills in some cities, hasn’t exactly been exported to other locations. In fact, according to Justin Chapman, a travel expert who specializes in safaris at Go2Africa, tipping in some locations may actually be seen as offensive.

Here are his rules of thumb depending on where you’re visiting this summer.

How much to tip in Europe

It varies from country to country, but in general visitors don’t need to leave a huge tip in most of Europe. In some countries it’s becoming increasingly common for a 10-15% service charge to be included in the bills in places like restaurants, while in others, it’s up to the visitor’s discretion.

Chapman said a good rule of thumb for Europe is to leave a little change and round up to the nearest euro on a bill if you’re not sure what to do. The same goes for taxis, bars and coffee shops.

How much to tip in Africa

In most of Africa, Chapman said, a 10-15% gratuity on restaurant bills is customary, as are tips equivalent to $10-20 per day for staff at your lodging or any tour guides you may do business with.

How much to tip in Central and South America

A 10-15% tip is customary in most restaurants in Central and South America, but tips are even more important for tour guides, who Chapman said rely heavily on the extra income. In Colombia, he said, $10-20 per day is appropriate for guides, while $5-10 is alright in most of the rest of the region. Chapman said it’s especially important to tip generously for guides in Brazil. 

Taxi drivers across the region don’t necessarily count on tips, but rounding up to the nearest whole currency amount is often appreciated.

How much to tip in Asia

Tipping is not widely expected in Asia, and can actually be seen as offensive in some countries, particularly in China and Japan. In Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam, tipping is becoming more common and around 10% is generally seen as an acceptable gratuity there.

In general, Chapman said, it can often be best not to tip in Asia if you’re unsure to avoid inadvertently causing offense.

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How much to tip in Australia and New Zealand

Tipping isn’t generally expected in Oceania, but Chapman said 5-10% or rounding up to the nearest Australian or New Zealand dollar can be appreciated, especially in high-end establishments.

Travel tipping advice

If you’re planning to tip but aren’t sure of the etiquette, Chapman said here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Tip in cash whenever possible
  • Consider the cost of living: more expensive areas, or places with high tourist traffic, are more likely to expect higher tips
  • Ask a local if you’re not sure what the regional custom is

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at zwichter@usatoday.com.

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