Unexpectedly Intriguing!
11 October 2007

Waiter We've previously covered how much to tip people according to the service they provide, but our list is only good for tipping in the United States. What do you do if you find yourself in some other corner of the world? How much should you tip? And where in the world can you go to escape from having to tip anybody?

The BBC has tapped the resources of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (h2g2) community and reported (HT: Dean Christakos) what they indicate is the proper amount to tip, and for what around the world, so we thought we'd take some of that information, combine it with worldwide tipping information from Wikipedia and incorporate it into a dynamic table. All so you can avoid international social awkwardness and quickly discover where, how much and who you should tip.

You can quickly sort the data contained in the dynamic table below by clicking the column headings, once to rank the items according to that category from low to high value, and again to put the list into reverse order. To restore the original table, refresh your web browser.

International Tipping Guidelines
Where How Much Who Comment
Argentina 0 Everybody Tipping is illegal in Argentina, but waiters often expect a small tip. Be discreet.
Australia 0 Everybody Tipping in Australia is basically non-existent.
Austria 5-10% Restaurant Staff Tip more if service is exceptional.
Belgium 0 Restaurant Staff Tipping is not expected in restaurants.
Bolivia 0-5% Service Staff Service charges are often added to a bill, making tipping unnecessary.
Brazil 10% Restaurant Staff The customary tip for good service at restaurants is 10%.
Bulgaria Variable Service Staff Tipping is not customary in Bulgaria, but may be left as a sign of appreciation.
Canada 10-20% Service Staff Tipping is expected for restaurants, bars, food delivery and taxis.
Chile 10-20% Restaurant Staff By Chilean law, tipping is mandatory in restaurants.
China 0 Everybody Government policy in China mandates that foreigners are charged more for services they receive.
Costa Rica 1 Porters Tipping is not customary in Costa Rica, except for porters or others who might handle luggage.
Croatia 0-10% Restaurant Staff Service charges are typically added to restaurant bills, eliminating the need to tip.
Czech Republic Variable Service Staff Tipping is done as a only sign of appreciation.
Denmark Variable Service Staff Tipping is done as a only sign of appreciation.
Egypt 0 Taxi Drivers Taxi Drivers are not tipped.
Egypt 10-20% Everybody Else Tipping is a way of life in Egypt. Although taxi drivers are not tipped, a caleche (horse-drawn 'buggy') driver should be tipped on top of the agreed fare.
Estonia 0 Everybody Tipping is not a common practice in Estonia.
Ethiopia Variable Service Staff Tipping is common for service in hotels, restaurants, bars and parking lots. If tipping a dancer in a restaurant, stick a paper money bill on their forehead.
Finland Variable Service Staff Tipping is optional, but if you do, use cash.
France 0 Restaurant Staff By French law, tips are included in the price of service (typically around 15%). No additional tipping is required.
Germany 5% Service Staff Amount tipped may vary for quality of service.
Greece Variable Service Staff Amount tipped varies for quality of service. It is not common to tip taxi drivers.
Hungary Variable Service Staff Amount tipped may vary for quality of service. Repair technicians may also be tipped.
Hong Kong 0 Taxi Drivers Taxi Drivers do not expect tips (but they won't be turned down either.)
India Variable Restaurant Staff Tipping in India really only applies to high-end restaurants, which have only recently established the practice. Otherwise, tipping is not commonly practiced..
Israel 0 Hotel Staff No tipping is required. A service charge, usually around 10%, is added to your bill for hotel services.
Ireland 10-12% Service Staff Tipping is becoming customary in Ireland, although not in pubs.
Israel 12% Restaurant Staff It's customary to tip the waiter 12% regardless of the quality of service.
Italy 0 Restaurant Staff No tips are expected in restaurants throughout Italy, but it is customary, even if the restaurant adds a service charge.
Japan 0 Everybody Tipping in Japan is non-existent.
Malaysia 0 Everybody Tipping is not customary in Malaysia. Restaurants do however often add a 10% service charge, eliminating any need to tip.
Mexico Variable Everybody Tipping is expected for almost any service. The amount to be tipped is at the discretion of the tipper.
Mexico Variable Parking Meter Cop If parked at a meter with a short time limit, offer a tip for the patrolling parking meter officer to watch the meter to avoid being ticketed.
Netherlands 5-10% Restaurant Staff The amount tipped should vary with the quality of service.
New Zealand 0 Everybody Service is almost always included in the prices you pay, so no tipping is necessary.
Norway 5-10% Restaurant Staff Tipping is strictly optional, with the amount dependent upon the quality of service.
Paraguay 0 Everybody Tipping is uncommon in Paraguay. Service charges are often added to bills.
Romania 10% Everybody Shops not frequented by westerners often refuse tips.
Russia 1-10% Restaurant Staff Amount tipped varies by the quality of the establishment.
Serbia 10-15% Restaurant Staff Tipping is expected if the customer is satisfied with the establishment's service.
Singapore 0 Everybody Tipping is not required in Singapore. Restaurants do however often add a 10% service charge, eliminating any need to tip.
Spain 0 Everybody Tipping is not customary in Spain.
South Africa 10% Restaurant Staff This level of tipping applies unless the restaurant applies a mandatory service fee for a large party.
South Korea 0 Everybody Tipping is not expected in South Korea. Restaurants and hotels do however often add a 10% service charge, eliminating any need to tip. When paying a taxi driver, tipping is done in the form of asking them to keep the change.
Slovenia 10%+ Tourist Areas Tipping is not customary in Slovenia, except for high-tourist areas.
Sweden Variable Service Staff Tipping is done as a only sign of appreciation.
Switzerland 0 Everybody Tipping is not customary in Switzerland.
Taiwan 50 Airport Porters Tipping is rare except for airport porters, who are often tipped 50 new Taiwan dollars per bag. Restaurants often add a 10% service charge, eliminating any need to tip.
United Kingdom Drinks Bartenders in Pubs Do not tip cash at the bar in a pub. If service is good, offer to buy the barkeep a drink (only tip cash at their request after first offering to buy them a drink.)
United Kingdom 10-20% Bartenders in Restaurants Tip cash. This gets a bit tricky if you're in a pub that serves food (where you wouldn't tip), but tipping is expecting in food establishments that serve drinks.
United States 15-20% Service Staff Amount to be tipped varies according to type and quality of service provided. See our guide here.

We should also note that in many far-eastern countries, it's not uncommon for a server to refuse a tip, at least at first. This is driven by custom - in many countries, the process of tipping involves negotiation. The key is to offer to tip first, allow them to decline, then to counter-offer with a higher tip. Generally speaking, just use your best judgment!

And yes, the preferred method of tipping bartenders in the U.K.'s pubs is our favorite!

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