Tips for Tipping Abroad

Tips for Tipping Abroad

When traveling, a little research is essential to figure out who deserves a tip and how much to give. Generous travelers should not just hand out tips like candy,  In some countries — like Japan, giving someone a bunch of cash is considered rude — tipping can be an insult. On the other side, don’t try to save money by not tipping. Waiters, bellhops, tour guides and other workers in the tourist trade rely on tips to feed their families.

Become a well-informed traveler! Here are some solid tips for handling the tricky practice of tipping in a foreign country.


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Know Before You Go

Destination-specific tipping information is vital if you want to avoid an awkward or offensive encounter with a service person during your trip.  You might want to do a little research for more detailed information on local tipping practices.


Cover Your Bases

Whom you should tip (and how) varies by destination. Consider the following service members during your journey:


– Waitstaff

– Hotel cleaning staff

– Porter

– Bellhop

– Taxi/van driver

– Tour guide

– Concierge

– Restroom attendant

– Local who is posing for a photograph

– Bartender

– Tour boat captain and staff

– Maitre d’

– Childcare staff/day camp counselor

– Hairdresser/masseuse/manicurist



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Carry Cash

In most countries you’ll have to tip. Carry local currency almost as soon as you get off your plane. It’s important not to tip in dollars if it’s not an accepted national currency.

The Best Way to Carry Money Overseas

Most airports have ATM’s and exchange rate counters — you need to get enough local currency to cover your taxi fare and tip before you get in that cab.  Find out what banking or money exchange facilities your airport offers.

Keep plenty of small bills on hand throughout your trip. Use larger bills to pay for meals and other expenses, keep the change to use as tips.

Follow the Leader

If you forget to research the acceptable tipping practices, or simply don’t know what to do, look around and see what other visitors are doing. Do you see money on the empty tables in the restaurant? Did everyone else offer the captain and crew a few dollars? Follow their lead.

Don’t Ask

Please don’t ask your service person if he or she requires a tip.  This can create a conflict of interest to a service person who doesn’t normally take tips. Know before you go if tipping is the acceptable practice in your destination.

Beware of Service Charges

You may think that a “service charge” on your restaurant bill indicates that the tip is included. That may be true for most countries; but not for others. In destinations such as Greece, Guatemala, Italy and Hong Kong, you should leave a tip as well as a service charge.


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