Your guide to tipping

Tipping etiquette varies from restaurant to regionand from cab to country –it really can be a tricky affair. In some places it isn’t customary but it is appreciated. In others, you’ll be followed down the street until you pay. What’s worse is that you may think you’re being generous by giving a nice tip, when really, you may actually be insulting the staff. Find out how to get by with your gratuities with this handy guide to tipping etiquette.

Canada

Restaurants: 15–20 percent, depending on the service.

Hotels: $10–$20 to the concierge for a favour; pay porters $1–$2 per bag; housekeepers get $5 per day (tip: leave something small each day, as the person who cleaned your room all week may not be the same one who comes in the day you check out).

Guides and drivers: $10–$15 per person per day for guides;10–15 per cent for taxi drivers.

 

New Zealand

Restaurants: 10–15 percent for the waiter.

Hotels: $1 per bag; $10–$20 to the concierge for a favour; $1–$5 per day to the housekeeper (depending on your mess).

Guides and drivers: $5 for cabdrivers; $20–$50 per person for a private guide; $5–$10 for a bus-tour guide; $25–$50 per day for a private driver.

Extra tip: be discreet and also be prepared to have your tip refused.

 

China

Restaurant:don’t leave a tip.

Hotels: luggage porters get 10–20 Yuan per bag. If a hotel includes a service charge of 10–15 per cent, then nothing is expected (or technically allowed) beyond that.

Extra tip: China has a no-tipping culture, as does many Asian countries. So, if you do tip, be discreet and do it out of sight of employers.

 

India

Restaurants: 10 percent to the waiter

Hotels: 50 rupees per bag for the porter; 250 rupees a night for the housekeeper.

Guides and drivers: 400–500 rupees a day for a car and driver; allow taxi and rickshaw drivers to keep the change or tip them up to 10 percent of the fare.

 

Indonesia

Restaurants: a 10 percent tip is included. It is also customary to leave any loose change.

Hotels: a 10 percent service charge is included, but $1–$2 per porter or housekeeper is always appreciated.

Guides and drivers: guides should get $25–$40 per couple;tip drivers $10–$20;give taxi drivers 10 percent on top of the fare.

 

Malaysia

Restaurants: a 10 percent tip is usually included in your bill, but leaving 10–15 percent extra is appreciated.

Hotels: tip bellboys $1 per bag; housekeepers and cleaning staff $1–$2 per day (at the end of each day).

Guides and drivers: tip private guides or drivers $5–$10 per person, per day.

 

Singapore

Restaurants:a 10 per cent tip is usually included in your bill, but leaving 10–15 per cent extra is appreciated.

Hotels: tip the concierge up to $10 for special favours; bellboys get the standard $1 per bag; tip housekeepers $2–$5 per day (but it is not expected).

Guides and drivers: guides $15–$20 per person (but only for a full day, and they will split this with the driver). Round up the fare for taxi drivers or give them the change.

 

Thailand

Restaurants: $1 per diner for the waiter.

Hotels: $1–$2 per bag for the porter; if service charges are included, then no tip is necessary for the housekeeper or the concierge; tip your bathroom attendant $1.

Guides and drivers: $1 for taxi drivers; $2 per day for private drivers; give guides $10–$20 per person (for a full day, and they will split this with the driver).

 

Vietnam

Restaurants: if a gratuity fee is not included in your bill, then leave about 10 percent (in cash), or20 per cent if you pay by credit card. If the gratuity is included, round up the bill and leave a little extra.

Hotels: tip the concierge up to $10 for special favours; leave housekeepers $2–$5 per day;no need to tip doormen.

Guides and drivers: guides get $15 per person per day; drivers $5–$10 per day (to be given at the end of your time with them). Round up the fare for taxi drivers.

 

Italy

Restaurants: 10 percent is considered more than enough.

Hotels: give porters 3–5 euros per night; tip housekeepers 1–2 euros per night(or more for extra service).

Extra tip: tip as you see fit, but it is not customary nor is it required. Be prepared to have your tip refused.

 

Spain

Restaurants: round up the bill and leave between 5–15 percent in cash – but only if the service was good. If it wasn’t good, simply leave the table without giving a tip.

Hotels: tip the concierge 5–10 euros for special favours; cleaning staff about 5 euros a day; bellboys 1 euro per bag.

Guides and drivers: leave guides 30–40 euros per person per day, 15–20 for drivers. Round up the fare for taxi drivers.

 

United Kingdom

Restaurants: if a service fee is not included, tip 10–15 percent. Tipping in pubs is not customary, although feel free to round up to the nearest pound.

Hotels: give porters 1–2 pounds per bag; tip housekeepers 1–2 poundseach per night (or up to 5 pounds each if you’re staying at a high-end hotel).

Guides and drivers: tip the cab driver with small change and round up the fare to the nearest pound; tip 20 pounds per day for a guide and 10 pounds for the driver, (or offer to take them to lunch).

Extra tip: tips are included in many bills. Be discreet when handing tips to staff.

 

United States

Restaurants: 15–20 per cent of total bill (a la carte menu); up to 25 per cent for exceptional service; $1–$2 per wait staff member when dining buffet style. Keep in mind that service providers generally live off their tips, so, if the service is good, it’s nice to reward them. Tip bartenders $1–$2 per drink.

Hotels: tip the concierge $5–$10 for special favours; $1 per bellhop, doorman, baggage, coatroom attendant and valet; give the housekeeper $2–$5 per night, depending on the service.

Guides and drivers: tip your cab driver 10–15 per cent, or up to 25 per cent if they get you to your destination in record time; give guides 10–20 per cent depending on their performance.

Extra tip: in most US restaurants, the waiter pays a portion of their tips to the bartender, busser, hostess and food runners. Tipping is subjective in the US – if the performance or service is good then tip as you see fit.

Do you have any tips on tipping etiquette for our members? Why not share them?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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