The question of how much to tip has become a hot topic over the last few years, with some claiming it’s time to move away from the traditional tipping system and others arguing that customers should be leaving at least 20%. While the answer is still up for debate in the West, in many parts of the world, rules around tipping are much more defined. As travelers, it’s important to be aware of what’s expected when visiting a new place—read on to learn more about how tipping works in popular destinations around the globe.
In most Asian countries, tipping wait staff at restaurants is an uncommon practice, as providing exceptional service is viewed as an essential part of the job. Diners who attempt to tip might be met with confusion or even refusal, so to avoid misunderstandings and respect cultural norms, it’s best to express gratitude for good service verbally. If you really want to tip, know that 5% is more than enough.
Tipping dynamics in Europe in general differ from those in the United States, though do vary somewhat from country to country. In most places, servers are paid a fair wage from small service charges included as part of the bill, so there’s no need to leave an additional tip. However, rounding up or leaving small change is common and always appreciated.
In South America, tipping practices also vary by country, and being aware of regional nuances can help to ensure a smooth experience when dining out. In Brazil, a service charge is typically included at most restaurants, and while leaving a small additional amount is welcomed, it’s not expected. Argentina, on the other hand, takes a more American approach to tipping, and leaving at least 10-15% tip with the bill is customary.