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Tipping Top Tips

There are no rules set in stone when it comes to tipping but there are few tipping top tips that tend to be valid where ever you are in the world.

Maybe the first tip should be... you should always tip according to what is the custom in the country you are visiting - not according to the custom in the country that you come from.

Practical tipping etiquette tips:

  • Don't put tip on credit card unless you are absolutely sure that the employees get all of it
    • Companies in some countries take administration fee on tip on credit cards and it can be as high as 80% of the tipping amount
    • You might want to tip in cash to make sure that the tip goes where you intended it to go
  • In some countries tip is preferred in the local currency, while in others it is preferred in “international” currencies, usually US dollars
    • As a general rule international currencies are often preferred in countries with high inflation or limited access to exchanging local currency
  • If the bill already includes service charge (tip) you should not add tip as well
    • Credit card slips often have space for gratuity which you should write zero in if the service charge has already been included
    • You should also always write the total amount you are paying on the credit card slip to make sure gratuity cannot be added afterwards
  • It can be a good idea to carry a small calculator or tipping charts to assist you to figure out the right amount to tip. Most mobile phones have calculator you can use.
    • If you have to calculate the tip manually then it can be helpful to start with 10% of the total amount and work from there
      • You want to leave 15% tip on top of bill of $80
      • Then 10% is $8
      • Then 5% is half of that or $4
      • Add those together and you get $12 as 15% tip
  • Hoard small notes and coins for tipping purposes and keep it separately - so you don't have to take up your wallet and show the money you are carrying on you
  • If in doubt, ask - don't be afraid to ask around, you can ask the people in the reception at your hotel or in the nearest tourist information office
  • Finally it is always good to observe what the locals do and follow suit
    • Your tipping etiquette aim should be to neither “under-tip” nor “over-tip”

These tipping top tips should be valid in any circumstances but our Tipping Etiquette Guide Around The World gives an overview of what to expect when travelling in different parts of the world.