Travel can be messy—from airport security and congealed airline food to lost reservations and mis-rated hotel rooms. But once you're swimming with the fish or nibbling cheese in an Italian café, it makes the logistic struggles well worth it. And then comes your bill. When traveling abroad, it's hard to know tipping etiquette. How much is too little/too much? In some countries, it's even considered offensive to open your wallet after a service. In an effort not to offend your host country, take with you our country-by-country tipping guide. Here are the 20 countries most-visited by Americans in 2010, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, and a general look at their tipping policies. All are listed in U.S. dollars.
Mexico & Canada
It's no surprise that the countries right across the border hold most of the same tipping policies that the U.S. does. People in the service industry are compensated with rather low wages, thus making the majority of their cash from customer tips.
Restaurants 15% to 20% depending upon your service
Bartenders $1 per drink or 15% to 20% of your final bill
Taxi Drivers Taxi drivers are not normally tipped in Mexico; however, if they give superb service, it's OK to reward them with a few extra dollars. In Canada, you should always leave 10% to 20% of your fare.
Bell Hops $1 per bag
Tour Guides 10% to 15% of the total cost of the tour
United Kingdom & Ireland
Tipping is not generally expected in the U.K., though it is greatly appreciated when the service is done well.
Restaurants 10% to 12% of your total bill
Bartenders Not customary, but OK to throw down a dollar per drink if your service is exceptional. If you are making a large order, it isn't uncommon to pay the cost of an extra drink and motion for the bartender to "have one for yourself."
Taxi Drivers 5% to 10% of total fare
Bell Hops $3 to $5 per bag
Tour Guides $3 to $7 per person
Wages are generally pretty low in the DR, and you'll notice that tips are greatly appreciated.
Restaurants They usually add 10% to your bill automatically, though it is common to leave an additional 10% on top of that.
Bartenders $1 per drink, or 10% of your total bill
Taxi Drivers All taxi cabs in the DR are unmetered, so it's important to agree upon your fare before departing. You should leave $1 to $2 per ride.
Bell Hops This isn't a common service here, but if you're staying in a hotel with one, you should leave $1 per bag.
Tour Guides $25 per day
France, Italy, Netherlands & Spain
By law, all tips (15%) are included in the price of your food or drink, so any extra tipping is mainly determined by the quality of service. These numbers reflect what you should tip if you're very happy with their service.
Restaurants Round up your bill or leave 10%
Bartenders Again, tips are included in your bill, but for exceptional service, it isn't uncommon to leave $0.50 per drink or to just round your bill to the next euro. Many locals also choose to just leave the change with them.
Taxi Drivers 10% of your final fare if they're handling baggage, if not, $2 to $3 is common, or just round up your fare
Bell Hops $1 per bag
Tour Guides $4 to $6 per person
Service staff is usually paid quite well by the hour. In this case, a tip is mainly to show appreciation for their hard work or quick service. Contrary to the U.S., if it wasn't good service, it is acceptable to not leave anything.
Restaurants 10% of your total bill
Bartenders 2% to 5% of final bill
Taxi Drivers At least $1, or 5% to 10% of fare
Bell Hops $1 per piece of luggage
Tour Guides It is not expected of you to tip your tour guide, although 10% of the trip cost is appreciated.
It's common for gratuity to be included in the price that is quoted to you, although if it isn't, you are often expected to leave a tip.
Restaurants 10% to 15% of final bill
Bartenders $1 per drink is customary; though leave a bit more if you are making a large order
Taxi Drivers Some taxis are not metered in Jamaica; it is important to know the price before you get into the car. 10% to 15% of your final fare is appreciated.
Bell Hops $1 to $2 per bag
Tour Guides 15% of your total cost
Japan, China, & Korea
In general, there isn't a tipping culture in these Asian countries. In fact, many Japanese will take it as a sign of rudeness. However, if you are in a larger city, a tip is accepted. The more westernized it is, the more western-style of tip you should leave.
Hong Kong is different in that it is becoming more and more common or expected of foreign travelers to leave a tip.
Restaurants 10% of your final bill if it isn't already calculated into your bill
Bartenders Not necessary, though many round the bill up
Taxi Drivers No tip is needed.
Bell Hops $1.50 to $2 per service, not bag
Tour Guides 10% of your total bill is appreciated
Tipping is commonplace in India; in fact, many taxi drivers and waiters simply don't return leftover change.
Restaurants 10% to 15% of the bill
Bartenders 10% of total bill if good service
Taxi Drivers Not generally tipped, though if the service is good, $1 to $2 is appreciated
Bell Hops $0.50 to $1 per bag
Tour Guides $4 per day, or 10% of bill if great service
Contrary to what was expected ten years ago, Israel is now a tipping country. Although it is very traditional and religious, it is also a very westernized culture.
Restaurants 10% to 15% of total bill, 20% is considered to be extremely generous
Bartenders It is not completely customary to tip bartenders in Israel, although 10% to 15% of your total bill would be happily accepted
Taxi Drivers Not commonplace to tip taxi drivers
Bell Hops $1 to $2 per service, not bag
Tour Guides 10% to 20% of the total trip cost
Tipping practices in Aruba are much like those in the U.S.
Restaurants 15% to 20% of your final bill
Bartenders 10% to 15% of your final bill
Taxi Drivers Taxis are not metered, so you must negotiate a fare before departure. Normally, it is customary to leave 10% of your total fare.
Bell Hops $2 per bag
Tour Guides 10% to 15% of your total trip cost
Brazil & Colombia
Tipping isn't necessary in Brazil and Colombia, though it is accepted for good service. This rule goes throughout most of South America.
Restaurants 10% is often included in the bill, though you can add another 10% for excellent service.
Bartenders 10% of your total bill
Taxi Drivers Round up the fare or leave change for the driver
Bell Hops $1 to $2 per bag
Tour Guides 10% of the trip cost
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