Tipping Practices across the Globe

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Tipping rules and customs around the world are not always clear-cut. It’s important to take note of what’s customary for tourists when it comes to leaving a tip in a foreign country — otherwise, you risk insulting the locals. When I travel to a foreign country, I often find myself asking the same question over and over again: How much tip should I leave? What if the service wasn’t the greatest — do I still need to leave a tip?

Here are some of the tipping customs of some countries around the world:

United States & Canada: It’s a given that when you visit a restaurant, you’ll tip the waiter, waitress or bartender after you receive a service. Gratuity is generally not included in the bill, unless you’re dining at a restaurant with a party larger than eight. The customary tip is between 15%-20%.

Mexico: Like the U.S. and Canada, tipping is customary, but cash is preferred. An acceptable tip is between 10%-15%.

United Kingdom: Service charges are typically not included in the bill, but some restaurants have an “optional charge.” If you accept this charge, there’s no need to leave a tip. Most people leave tips of 10%-15%. Also, remember that if you have a few drinks at a pub, you’re not required to tip the bartender.

France: Tourists in France are not expected to leave a tip because the service is generally included in the overall bill price; however, French nationals customarily leave about a 10% tip. If you’re a tourist in France and you receive exceptional service, feel free to leave a modest cash tip, in euros.

Italy: Tourists are only expected to tip at restaurants, but not for any other service (taxi or gondola rides, for example). The customary tip is 10%.

China: No establishment in China will ever expect foreigners to leave a tip; it just isn’t customary. This is mainly because China’s law requires that establishments must charge tourists more than locals. If you must leave a tip, do it discreetly, out of the sight of employers.

India: Double-check your bill to ensure a service charge isn’t already included. If it’s not, then a 15% cash tip in rupees is customary.

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