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A Guide to Tipping Culture Around the World

If you are from the UK, tipping can be a tricky custom to get your head around. It’s an active practice that changes considerably as you journey aro... Read more
A Guide to Tipping Culture Around the World

If you are from the UK, tipping can be a tricky custom to get your head around. It’s an active practice that changes considerably as you journey around the world. What could be seen as a gesture of generosity and appreciation in some nations may be considered offensive or inadvertently clash with the more nuanced cultural norms of others.

To help navigate the intricacies of tipping, this blog aims to offer an extensive guide to what you can anticipate in different parts of the world. From the standard 15 to 20% gratuities in North America to the less prevalent, and at times deemed impolite, tipping traditions found in various Asian regions, it's crucial to recognise that tipping norms are constantly evolving and adapting.



Tipping practices in Europe diverge significantly from those in North America and Asia. In contrast to the customary expectation of tipping in the United States, Europe generally adopts a more laid-back approach, regarding it as a token of appreciation for outstanding service rather than a mandatory gesture. Nevertheless, it's important to note that these attitudes can vary significantly from one European country to another.

As a general rule, the majority of European nations, such as France, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, and the UK, typically include a service charge on the bill. However, in cases where it's not included, leaving a tip of 5% to 10% in local currency is encouraged unless you believe that the service and/or quality of the meal has been unsatisfactory. Remember that tipping customs can change, and it's always best to check with locals for the most accurate and current practices.


North America

For most parts of the service industry in the USA and Canada, tipping is voluntary only in name. The customary tip amount often ranges from 15% to 20% of the total bill in restaurants, but it can vary based on factors like the level of service and local customs. Tipping is an important source of income for many service workers in North America, as their base wages may be lower, with the expectation that tips will supplement their earnings. It's also customary to tip for services like haircuts, food delivery, and more. Tipping is a significant part of the service culture in North America, and it's generally expected to express appreciation for good service.

Even if you believe that the service was not up to standard, which is uncommon, not tipping at all is still deemed to be offensive. Leaving just a 10% tip is a clear indication that you were not happy with the experience, and in this case, the manager of the establishment will likely want to know why you thought it wasn’t up to scratch.


South America

Tipping in South America doesn't play as prominent a role in the local culture as it does in, for instance, the United States. Nevertheless, there are specific situations where leaving a tip is customary. In countries like Argentina and Chile, tipping is commonplace in restaurants, with a typical gratuity of about 10% of the bill. Additional tips are often expected for waiters. In Brazil, service charges are often included in restaurant bills, but leaving a small extra tip for exceptional service is appreciated. Colombia follows similar practices, with tipping for services like taxis and guides being customary.

Peru and Ecuador share the general custom of tipping in restaurants, with a 10% service charge occasionally added to the bill. Bolivia also observes this practice but with some variation. Each country may have its nuances, so it's wise to check the bill for service charges and adjust your tip according to local customs and the quality of service received. Tipping is a gesture of appreciation and support for service workers throughout South America and is widely appreciated around the continent.


The Middle East

Tipping customs in the Middle East, including countries like Jordan, Oman, and Lebanon, have their own unique characteristics rooted in the region's culture and traditions. In these nations, tipping is customary, and it's an integral part of the service industry. However, the expectations and practices can vary.

In Jordan, for instance, tipping is generally appreciated in restaurants, hotels, and for services like taxis. A customary tip of around 10% is often expected, but it can vary depending on the quality of service and local customs.

Oman shares a similar tipping culture, where it's customary to leave a tip for service staff. Again, a 10% tip is often seen as appropriate in restaurants, though it's always wise to check for service charges on the bill.

Lebanon, with its rich culinary tradition and hospitality, also observes tipping practices. When dining at restaurants, a 10% tip is customary, although it's not uncommon to tip more for exceptional service. Tipping extends beyond dining, with small gratuities being appreciated for services such as hotel staff, valets, and guides.

In these Middle Eastern countries, while tipping may not be as prevalent as in some Western countries, it's a meaningful way to show appreciation for the service provided and is often expected.


South East Asia

Tipping culture in South East Asia varies widely across the region's diverse countries and cultures. In countries like Thailand and Indonesia, tipping is not deeply ingrained in local customs, and it's not obligatory in most situations. However, it's becoming more common in areas frequented by tourists, such as upscale restaurants and hotels. In these cases, leaving a tip of 10 to 15% of the bill is appreciated.

In contrast, in countries like Vietnam tipping is increasingly expected, especially in the tourism industry. A small gratuity is often welcomed, but it's not as prevalent as in some Western countries.


Central, Southern and Eastern Asia 

Tipping practices in the rest of Asia can vary significantly from one country to another. In Kazakhstan for instance, tipping is not as common or expected as it is in some Western countries. However, in larger cities and tourist areas, tipping has become more customary. In restaurants, it's common to leave a tip of around 5-10% of the bill if service is not included. Tipping in Pakistan varies depending on the type of service and the region. In upscale restaurants and hotels, a service charge may already be included in the bill. If not, leaving a tip of around 10% is customary. In more casual eateries, tipping is not expected but appreciated. In Nepal, tipping is generally appreciated and expected in the tourism industry. In restaurants, a 10% service charge might be included in the bill, but it's customary to leave an additional tip if service was good. In trekking and tour industries, tipping guides and porters is common and is a significant part of their income.

However, in Japan, tipping is not a common practice, and it can even be considered rude in some situations. In Japan, service is generally of high quality, and people believe that the price you pay should cover everything. Instead of tipping, showing appreciation through polite words and gestures, such as saying "thank you," is more culturally appropriate. In some cases, attempting to tip may be refused, and service staff may chase you down to return the money.



Tipping in Africa, like all other continents, exhibits a range of customs, practices and traditions. While tipping may not be as prevalent as in some other parts of the world and is not necessarily compulsory, it is still an important aspect of expressing gratitude for good service. In many North African countries, such as Egypt and Morocco, tipping, known as "baksheesh" or "bribe," plays a significant role in daily transactions, from dining to assistance from local guides. In the southern parts of Africa, such as South Africa, tipping is customary, particularly in the service industry. Here, it's typical to leave gratuities for restaurant staff, hotel personnel, and tour guides as a token of appreciation for their services.


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