A guide to tipping around the world

Wherever you go in the world, the rules around tipping are rarely the same.

Going abroad? Knowing tipping etiquette is essential. Image credit: Cecilie_Arcurs/iStock
Going abroad? Knowing tipping etiquette is essential. Image credit: Cecilie_Arcurs/iStock

The rules of tipping can be a quagmire. What is accepted in one country can be frowned upon in another. Customs, history, and differing wage scales means everyone has their own tipping rules.

We’ve highlighted how much cash you need to part with to make sure that you’re tipping the right amount during your travels.


While in some countries it’s seen as rude not to tip, in China it’s the opposite. If you tip someone in a restaurant or when using public transportation, they’ll think that you have gone slightly mad. They have given you the cost, why do you want to pay more? 

However, if you are staying at a luxury hotel that receives a lot of overseas visitors, tipping the porter is becoming more common. As is a small fee in some fine-dining restaurants, which might occasionally add a five or 10 percent service fee.

At the restaurant: Local restaurants don’t expect tips, but fine-dining restaurants might add a service fee. At one restaurant, they have recently introduced a QR code on the waiters’ uniforms. People can snap that and around 70 cents will be given as a tip the waiter.

In the hotel: You can tip the porter 10 yuan per bag.


While it’s not compulsory to tip in the UAE, you’ll want to because this is one city where you don’t have to do anything for yourself. From valeting your car to having your coffee delivered, no request is too large or too small when it comes to offering great service.

At the restaurant: Most restaurants will add a service charge to the bill, but if not, you should add 10 to 15 percent of the bill.

In the hotel: If you have been indulging in a spot of shopping at one of Dubai’s famous malls and your luggage is bulging at the seams, you should tip the porter 5 to 10 AED per bag.


Egyptians are hot on tipping and you’ll often hear a request for a “baksheesh” (tip). Sometimes you might hear the request even if a service might not yet have been offered, but if you have a good guide they’ll help you navigate these requests.

At the restaurant: Pay 10 percent of the bill.

In the hotel: Pay a porter 3 to 5 Egyptian pounds per bag. Pay 5 to 10 Egyptian pounds to the housekeeping staff for every night that you stay.


France removes all your tipping concerns by adding service to your bill so you’ll have no fear of a bottle of wine being spilled in your lap by a disappointed waiter. 

At the restaurant: Service is included.

In the hotel: You can tip the porter a euro per bag, and a euro for every night you stayed there to housekeeping. If the doorman has hailed you a taxi, you should also tip them a euro.

Image credit: FabrikaCr/iStock
Have housekeeping? Don’t forget to tip. Image credit: FabrikaCr/iStock


Keep your money in your wallet when you’re traveling around Japan. While China may have a few exceptions, in Japan it’s a definite no-no. They believe that good service should be given at all times and if you are to tip a person it can leave them feeling insulted.

At the restaurant: Just pay the bill and don’t add any extra.

In the hotel: The only money you should part with is for your final bill, which comes tip free.


While the Indian population is known to be generous when it comes to tipping, you may find that restaurants display signs against tipping and hotels ask that you place your tip money in a donation box at the end of your stay than directly to the individual.

At the restaurant: Fine-dining restaurants may add a service charge to the bill. If they haven’t, expect to pay around 10 percent to the waiter.

In the hotel: Tip the porter 50 rupees per bag, and leave 250 rupees for your housekeeper for every night that you stayed.


Until recently tipping was a no-no in Russia. During the Soviet era, it was seen as a way of belittling the working class. It’s only just made a comeback at the turn of the century.

At the restaurant: Around five to 10 percent is acceptable for waiters.

In the hotel: You should give the porter around 20 rubles a bag and 50 rubles to the housekeeper.


While tipping isn’t customary for locals, it’s fine for tourists to tip. And as the average Thai wage is $300 a month, a handful of baht from an appreciative tourist could really make someone’s day.

At the restaurant: If the restaurant hasn’t added a 10 percent service charge, leave any loose change from the bill as a tip.

In the hotel: The hotel may have already added a 10 percent service charge. If not, give 20 baht to the porter for each bag and 20 baht to housekeeping.

United Kingdom

Tipping was originally said to have started in the UK. If an aristocrat believed a worker had done a good job, he or she would give them a couple of coins. Tipping has remained part of British culture and if the service is good, a tip is more than acceptable in the UK.

At the restaurant: Restaurants will add a service charge of 10 percent, but if you are unhappy with the service you can ask for it to be removed.

In the hotel: For the porter think about 2 pounds per bag and about 2 pounds per day for the housekeeper. 

Some restaurants include a service fee while others rely on you tipping. Image credit: fizkes/iStock
Some restaurants include a service fee while others rely on you tipping. Image credit: fizkes/iStock

United States

While you’re not breaking the law if you don’t tip, you’ll cause great offense if you don’t. The minimum wage as stated by the U.S. Department of Labor is $2.13 an hour, so the service industry is heavily reliant on tips.

If you don’t think a staff member deserves a tip, you should let the manager know why you are refusing to tip, unless you want to be chased down the road.

At the restaurant: You tip for both good and bad service. A tip of 15 to 20 percent shows you were happy with the service and a tip of 10 percent says you weren’t. You should also tip the bartender a dollar for every drink he or she serves you.

In the hotel: If you place a request with the concierge you can tip them for being helpful. You can also tip the housekeeper $2 per night, and a doorman and a porter about $2.


Claire Turrell

Freelance journalist Claire Turrell has lived and worked in London, Dubai, and Singapore. When she’s not busy writing, she is riding motorbikes off-road in Cambodia, diving in Oman or learning Muay Thai in Thailand.