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A guide to tipping around the world

Travel advice

5th February, 2019

Wherever you go in the world, you are likely to experience the services of hotel porters, restaurant and bar staff, and taxi drivers. In most countries, it is customary to leave a tip if you have received good service, but how much you should leave varies from country to country, and in many cases, how satisfied you were.

Becoming au fait with the tipping culture of a destination before you travel there, ensures you know the difference between an included cover charge and a discretionary tip when dealing with things like restaurant bills. It also helps you to understand which cultures expect a tip as standard, such as the United States.

Here is a breakdown of tipping cultures in Saga’s top destinations.

Spain

Th tipping culture in Spain is very similar to that of the UK. The service charge is not included in restaurant bills, so the recommended tip amount is 10% of the total amount for food and drink. Taxi drivers and porters do not expect a tip in Spain, so it’s entirely up to you if you decide to give one.

Turkey

In Turkey, the recommended amount to tip is 10% and this applies to restaurant staff stuff as waiters and bar people, and hotel staff, including porters, chambermaids and reception staff. Taxi drivers don’t expect a tip.

Croatia

Service is not included in the bill at Croatian hotels and restaurants, so this is expected on top. The recommended amount to tip is 10% of the total bill. Taxi drivers are also accustomed to receiving a tip in Croatia. 10% of the cost of your journey is recommended, but it’s acceptable to round up the bill.

Cuba

Tipping is deeply ingrained in Cuban culture and can be quite full on. Due to the low levels of wages, many local Cuban workers rely on their tips to live. This is especially true for musicians who are often not paid to perform. Tip whatever you can and to anyone who provides a service, including toilet attendants.

India

Although tipping in India is discretionary, it’s very much the norm and you will see most tourists tipping staff. The recommended amount to tip varies – for porters and wait staff, INR 50-100 is about right. For coach drivers we recommend INR 150 per person, per day and for Tour Managers, INR 250 per person, per day.

South Africa

South Africa has a very similar tipping policy to that of India – it’s discretionary but common. Porters and wait staff are usually tipped £3-£4 per person. For Safari Lodge staff, we recommend £2-£3 per room per day, which goes into central tip box. Safari guides are tipped at between £5 and £8 per person, per day, whereas mobile safari camp staff are tipped around £7 per person, per day which is shared between them.

USA

Tipping is expected in the USA and is very much part of the American culture. The tipping amount is quite high – between 18% and 20%, which can come as a shock to some visitors. However, what you can be sure of is that service is usually outstanding and staff will go out of their way to provide a good service.

Japan

Tipping in Japan is not expected and in fact, it is usually safer not to give a tip, to avoid the risk of offended people with incorrect amounts. It is perfectly acceptable in Japan just to be polite and to show your gratitude by thanking restaurant or hotel staff.

China

Chinese culture does not expect tipping, so you do not have to leave a tip in restaurants, hotels or taxis. The exception to this is local guides, where you can tip whatever you feel is right.

Israel

In Israel, tipping is discretionary but generally expected for hotel staff, restaurant staff and any other staff in the service industry. The recommended minimum is 10%, with 12% being the average. Tipping is not expected in taxis.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.