5-minute guide to tipping abroad

When it comes to tipping on holiday, we can be a little cautious with our cash. Just 12 per cent of UK travellers would tip hotel staff at the end of their holiday according to a survey by travel money provider ICE. In response, ICE offers tips on tipping etiquette worldwide.

USA and Canada tips can be in the region of 20 per cent

Tipping etiquette varies from country to country so it really pays to do your research so that you can budget accordingly and tip appropriately.  "For example, in some parts of the USA and Canada tips can be in the region of 20 per cent," says Koko Sarkari of ICE. "That’s £200 out of a budget of £1,000, making it a serious expense. This might include a $2-$5 tip per day for the housekeeper or room maid."

“In contrast, while tipping is considered rude in Japan and China, in Hong Kong a 10 per cent tip is more common. In Europe tipping is pretty relaxed, usually in the region of 5 per cent to 10 per cent, but use cash to ensure it actually goes to your waiter. These little differences can cause confusion, so it’s best to check before you leave and ensure you have low denomination notes in the local currency for when you first arrive," adds Koko.

Where and what to tip worldwide

  • Europe

In restaurants, a 5 per cent to 10 per cent, in cash is best, when there is no service included. Give porters €1 to €2 per bag and the same per day for housekeeping staff. You don’t need to tip in taxis, but you can round up the fare.

  • Canada and USA

There is no service charge in North America, so a 15 per cent to 20 per cent tip is expected. In hotels, porters expect $1 to $2 per bag and housekeepers get $2 to $5, depending on the standard of the hotel. Add a 10 per cent to 15 per cent tip to your taxi bills.

  • South America

The standard tip, in South America, is 10 per cent in restaurants, if service isn’t already included. Taxi drivers don’t generally get a tip, but hotel porters expect around $1 per bag, whilst housekeepers get $2 per day.

  • South-east Asia

In Japan and China tipping is a no-no, so there is never any need to do it. In Hong Kong service is already added at top end hotels at 10 per cent to 20 per cent, but if not you can tip porters 10 yuan. Apart from Japan and China, the rest of Asia is happy for you to round up taxi fares.

  • Australia and New Zealand

They may be on the same side of the world, but their tipping culture is quite different. Tipping is not expected in restaurants in New Zealand, but in Australia a 10 per cent tip is expected in good restaurants. While you don’t need to tip a taxi driver in Australia, in New Zealand people generally add 10 per cent to their bill. In hotels, porters get $1 to $2 per bag and housekeepers get $1 to $5 per day.

  • Middle East

In restaurants, expect a service charge to be added, but if not, then just the standard 10 per cent is acceptable. When it comes to hotel porters, £1 to £2 per bag is about right and £1 to £2 per day for housekeepers. However, tipping is not expected in taxis.

  • Africa

If there is no service charge added, a 5 per cent to 10 per cent tip is a good amount or 5 per cent in South Africa. In hotels, it’s a good idea to tip the concierge on arrival to get added services, such as arranging excursions. Porters only require £1 per bag and taxi drivers should get 10 per cent on top of the final bill.

Koko concludes: “A bit of homework on tipping etiquette and planning both in terms of ordering travel money and methods of payment overseas can help make budgeting easier.”

  • For more on your destination's local customs, check the Government's foreign travel advice website here.

Don't forget to pack travel insurance! Read our indispensable guide here. Plus how much will your city sight-seeing tour set you back? Find out here.