Guides

Everything You Need To Know About Tipping In Some Of The World’s Favourite Destinations

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This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

Tipping. It’s one of the trickiest things to get right when you’re travelling abroad. When the bill comes out, what’s the right move – round up to the nearest dollar? Whack on 10 percent? Or take the change and run?

From country to country, region-to-region, there’s an art and a knowhow to tipping culture. Avoid social awkwardness with our trusty guide on how to tip in some of the world’s most sought-after places.

The UK

When dealing with the pound, be polite and do as the English do. If you happen to be in the West End or Soho enjoying a tasty meal, it’s a friendly move to throw an additional 10 to 15 percent on the final bill. Some restaurants will already include a service charge (for large groups especially), so be sure to check the bill before doubling up.

If you’re getting around in one of the city’s iconic black cabs, your driver will appreciate a 10 to 15 percent add-on (and perhaps a little extra if they’ve been particularly helpful with luggage and the like).

A service charge, meanwhile, will likely be already added to your hotel bills, so there’s no need to add on top of that unless you feel the need. Bars and clubs, of course, are fair game; there’s no tip required on drinks, but feel free to leave the change, or a little extra, if you feel the urge.


Singapore

 

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Generally speaking, tipping is not a huge part of Singaporean culture. From the taxi ride in from the airport, to the hotel check-in, to dinner at a tasty restaurant, you can get away with going pretty much tip-free.

If you do, however, feel the need to give a little extra – to a luggage attendant at the hotel, or a friendly, efficient waiter – go for it. As with anywhere, your generosity will be appreciated (though definitely not expected).


New Zealand

What of our good mates across the Tasman? Just as in Oz, hospitality workers don’t work for tips in NZ, so there’s no outright obligation to tack on anything additional. But, if the service has been particularly excellent, an extra 10 percent or so wouldn’t go astray.

The same goes with cabs – it’s not expected and will likely even be refused. On the other hand, if you’ve checked into a nice hotel, giving a dollar or two per bag carried and upwards of five dollars for room service or cleaning is a nice way to go. So too, if you’ve had a helpful concierge looking after your plans (NZD $10 to $15 should do the trick).


Europe

Ok, so we’re lumping a bunch of countries and regions into one here, and suffice to say, tipping is a mixed bag across Europe. While cities and countries have different attitudes, there are a few general guidelines that’ll get you through – a 5 to 10 percent addition to any restaurant or café bill is a good starter (as ever, be sure to check the bill to see if you’re not doubling up on a service charge). On any other costs – think cabs and general services – a fair rule is to round up to the next 5 or 10 Euro mark as a modest gesture of thanks.

Ultimately, suss out the vibe of each city or country you’re in and attune accordingly as to how much you need to be throwing your extra coins and notes around.


Hong Kong

 

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When it comes to dining out and getting around, tipping has never been a big part of Hong Kong culture. A service charge of 10 percent is normally added to restaurant and café bills, though, having said that, an additional 10 to 15 percent for the service staff is a polite move.

If you’re taking cabs, round the fee out to the nearest dollar or throw in an additional buck for good measure. Above all, make sure you get it right at hotels and guesthouses – here, an additional gratuity is very much expected: HK$10 to HK$20 for bellhops, cleaning and service staff, and the concierge, too, if they happen to help you out with anything extra.


Japan

 

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Broadly speaking, good service above all is the desired result in Japan, and tips are not expected at the end of it. In most restaurants, tipping is such a foreign concept that it may actually be considered impolite to add anything additional on – you’re already paying for good service, so why any more than that? The same goes for cab rides and transport – tips aren’t expected, and aren’t necessary – as is the case in hotels (even the high-end ones), and spas or onsens.

If you do, however, insist on tipping (like, at a traditional ryokan or the like), there’s a way to go about it – rather than plonking out wads of money or coins, simply slip clean notes into an envelope and hand it to your service staff discreetly.


Canada

 

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Canadian rules fly much like their southern cousins: 15 to 20 percent on top of restaurant bills and a flat 10 percent on top of general services like hairdressers, masseuses, spas, and cab rides. At hotels, tipping is par for the course, so add a little extra for your bellhops and cleaning staff, and the concierge if they’ve helped you out with something special.

Service and hospo staff wages are lower here in the general scheme, so keep that in mind when the cheque comes.


Thailand

 

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Though not traditionally a part of the Thai culture, the widespread and ever-growing tourism in Thailand has meant that tipping is more common these days. If you’ve had a meal somewhere, it’s polite to give an extra 10 percent or so – if you’re spending THD 100, add another 20 or 30 (otherwise, round it out – if you’re spending THD 860 baht, for example, just leave 1000). Again, this is only if you’re sitting down to dine; street vendors won’t expect anything on top of their food prices.

Tipping at bars is optional, and you should always negotiate the price beforehand if you’re taking a tuk-tuk, moto or cab (unless it’s a metered fare). Leaving the change is, again, a polite manoeuvre.


United Arab Emirates

 

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Extended layover in Dubai? A sneaky stint in Doha? No doubt you’ll be roaming about in the desert heat looking for a little refreshment or a way to get around town.

Though not expected, tipping is appreciated in the UAE. Many restaurants will already add on a 10 percent service charge to your bill as it is and possibly a tourism tax of 6 percent. On top of that (which, keep in mind, goes to the venue, not the staff), you’re welcome to leave a 10 to 15 percent tip if you’ve had exceptional service.

As for cab rides, hotel services, and general services like hair salons, stylists, spas and the like, a 10 percent addition is very welcome.

(Lead image: Alexander Mils / Unsplash)

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Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.