The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

How much to tip abroad

What should you tip when abroad? Do you even need to? When are you expected to tip? Find out in our guide to tipping in America, the UK, Australia and more...

How much to tip abroad
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Avoid an awkward social faux pas or a confrontation with a waiter. Below we outline what you can expect to tip for and how much around the world...

 

Tipping in the United States

Tipping in the United States is a bigger deal than in most countries because many people depend on this extra income, particularly for waiters and bartenders. Under federal law, the minimum wage for tipped employees is just $7.25 per hour. Generous tips are often what people in the service industry rely on to make a living.

But what happens if you trip to sneak away without tipping? Some restaurant staff will actually directly ask you if there were any problems with your meal which can be awkward. If you plan to visit that establishment again, you may want to be carefully about how much you tip. If the service wasn’t good, leaving just the 10 percent of the total bill is code for bad service.

And it’s not just restaurants where you’re expected to tip in the States. Taxis, bars, hairdressers all do too – it’s a part of the American service industry. Often Americans will tip their postman and gardener at Christmas time too, though this likely won’t apply to you. In terms of taxis fares, if a driver is particularly helpful, 20 percent tip is considered reasonable. A tip for getting your hair cut is also expected. You’ll want to tip your hairdresser 20 percent, and leave a few dollars for the person who washed your hair.

If you are staying in a hotel, bellhops expect a dollar for every bag delivered, plus a few bucks for helping you in the room.

When buying takeaways or hot drinks over the counter, you don’t have to tip, though you’ll see that baristas put a jar for tips against the cash register; this can be a worthwhile way to get rid of unwanted loose change.

 

Tipping in the UK

Many restaurants in the United Kingdom add a service charge of 12 1/2 to 15 percent on the total of your bill so it’s calculated for you, though some will give you the choice of adding your own gratuity.

If service is included, you are not expected to add anything further but you may want to add a small sum for particularly good service or extra attention.

You are not expected to tip with cash for drinks in pubs. However, if you are being served several big orders from the comfort of your seat all night, the floor service staff will appreciate your tip. It isn’t customary either to tip the cab driver, but rounding the total amount up will make things easier when you pay for your fare.

 

Tipping in Malaysia

People don't normally practise tipping under any circumstances in Malaysia. Of course service staff will be happy to receive it if it is offered. If that’s the case, you can leave around 10 percent of the bill. Restaurants might add a 10 percent service charge to your bill, but that’s mostly at the high end of the restaurant spectrum.

 

Tipping in Singapore

It isn’t customary to tip in Singapore either. However, when you eat at a restaurant, check the bottom of the bill for taxes and service fees. If not specified, it is standard to tip 10 percent of the total.

Some restaurants add a service or gratuity to the final bill and some do not, but this might not be for the service staff. Many believe that the staff receive none of the service charge and many restaurants also keep any cash tips left on the table.

 

Tipping in Australia and New Zealand

Tipping in these countries is not particularly usual, although it is a practice recently brought by visitors of countries such as the US where tipping is the rule and not the exception. A normal tip would be no more than 10 percent of your total bill.

If you're in a popular tourist destination area or in the main cities, you'd probably be expected to tip waiters in relatively upmarket restaurants, taxi drivers and hotel workers.

 

Tipping in Sweden

There is no obligation to leave a tip in Sweden, and gratuity for service charges like hotel staff or hairdressers is already included in your total bill.

However, Swedish tipping behaviour changes when you go out to eat or drink. It's common to leave a small tip of 5-10 percent in a restaurant or bar. In Sweden, you tip by rounding up the amount of the bill.

Additionally, taxi drivers will expect to be tipped and should be given a few extra kronor on top of the fare.

 

Tipping in the Netherlands

A tip is not obligatory in the Netherlands but you can tip to reflect the service received, like for a waiter who was friendly and efficient. A service charge is not included in the price of your restaurant meals but a 5 to 10 percent tip is common.

As well as in Sweden, it is customary to round up the total amount of your bar or restaurant bill when paying. Taxi drivers might expect a small tip from you but it shouldn’t be more than 10 percent of the total fare.

 

Tipping in Ireland

Most restaurants in Ireland have a customary ‘service charge’ tip of 10 to 12.5 percent of the bill. However, bartenders don’t usually get tipped. If you really want to tip a bartender you can say ‘have one (drink) yourself’ and just give them the price of a half pint or something like it.

Taxi drivers are not usually tipped.

 

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How much to tip abroad

Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd