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Tipping 101


Tipping 101 Global

TripAdvisor recently conducted a wide-ranging survey about tipping around the world. More than 25,000 people responded to the survey, including 3,700 from the United States, and the study revealed that roughly 60 percent of Americans always tip no matter 

what when on vacation.

But look beyond Americans and the results may surprise you. For example, 49 percent of Germans always tip when

traveling…and they ranked second among the countries surveyed. From there, there’s a steep drop, with Brazilians coming in third at 33 percent. The French and Italians came in last at 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

But it’s not because certain nationalities are snobby. Rather, it’s because they aren’t used to the American style of tipping. This is somewhat puzzling, considering tipping has been around in the United States since about the late 1800s. Why, after all this time, are foreign travelers still confused about how much to tip? Or, do they find the idea preposterous and simply refuse to tip?

The topic not only sprouts a wealth of strong viewpoints, but it has also become fairly controversial. American workers who are used to receiving at least 15 percent of the bill are being left with nothing at times. On the other side of the coin, foreigners who visit the U.S. may find themselves the subjects of ire and have no idea why. And Americans are tipping as they normally would in some countries when they really don’t have to tip much at all (in fact, 34 percent of American respondents said they tip even if the service is poor because they feel obligated).

So, to clear up the confusion, TravelPulse decided to list the standard tipping (or non-tipping) practices of the eight countries surveyed by TripAdvisor, including the United States.

United States 
Customers are generally expected to shell out a tip of at least 15 percent of the bill. In a lot of cases, customers who feel they received superior service or simply are in a giving mood will tip 20 percent or more. 

Germany, France, Italy
Not much is expected from customers in these European countries. Common practice is rounding out the bill. So, if your bill is $26.55, simply round up to $27. Germans, French and Italians aren’t expecting the world. In that case, you can see why the French and Italians don’t tip all the time.  

Brazil, Russia, United Kingdom 
In Brazil, the United Kingdom and Russia, it’s common practice for customers to tip only when the service is exceptional. In fact, the British generally find the idea of having to go out of your way to add up a tip borderline offensive, the point being that the  customer is being served and restaurants should make it easier by including the tip in the bill (which some do). It’s not that these countries are necessarily averse to tipping; it’s just that they believe it shouldn’t be required and believe there should be a better tipping system in place. 

Spain is a bit unique in that the country’s tipping practices continue to evolve and change. Most restaurants prefer customers to round out the bill or maybe leave one or two extra euros for excellent service. And if the service goes beyond your wildest expectations, many Spanish restaurants won’t mind if you tip about 10 percent of the bill. And in case you were wondering which staff members get tipped the least, TripAdvisor inquired about that, too.

Interestingly enough, only 26 percent of travelers from the eight countries feel it’s necessary to tip the concierge, a knowledgeable aide who can arrange a vast array of amenities and activities for guests.

The pool staff and the gym staff had it the worst, though. About 9 percent of travelers tipped the pool boy, while 2 percent threw some change in the general direction of gym staff members. So, how do we solve this tipping dilemma? Is it worth tackling at all?

Well, 33 percent of travelers said they would prefer the tip was included in the bill, so that could be a compromise. Or you could just follow the handy-dandy guide TravelPulse just provided for you when traveling abroad. Or you could get creative, like these people did.

Either option is much better than, say, staff members asking travelers for a tip (yes, 19 percent of travelers said this has happened to them at least once).

We all live in the same world. Let us live in harmony one tip, or tip of the cap, at a time.