How to tip (or not to tip) your server while traveling

Finding a good meal while traveling can be tough, especially if you’re looking to avoid overcrowded tourist joints. But knowing when and how much to tip can be even tougher. If the service is worth it, then most Americans are used to tipping 15 to 20 percent to the waiter to help make up for their measly salary.

However, just because something is customary in America doesn’t mean that it is expected elsewhere. For example, some countries in Europe, including the U.K. and France, automatically add in the tip, and it is considered an insult to tip in many Asian countries. In order to not come off as inappropriate or just plain rude, it’s best to know your proper tipping etiquette before you go.

Different countries have different ideas of what good service includes, so be sure to adjust your idea of "good service" based on where you are traveling. To make learning these customs simpler, we’ve put together this tipping etiquette guide that covers some of the most popular international destinations.

1. United Kingdom


A service fee is often included. If not, tip 10 to 15 percent. Sometimes there will be an "optional" charge added to the bill that typically goes to the owner, not the waiter. You can adjust this charge to a level you feel comfortable with and specify an amount to go directly to the waiter. Tipping in pubs is not customary.

2. Italy

Florence skyline at sunset, Italy. Campanile di San Marco

Florence skyline at sunset, Italy. Campanile di San Marco (iStock)

Many locals leave a few coins that make the tip as close to 10 percent as possible. The tip doesn’t have to be exactly 10 percent; simply tip whatever is convenient. There is no expectation to leave more than 10 percent, though.

3. Canada


Just like in the U.S., gratuity is not added to the bill. It is standard to leave a 15 to 20 percent tip at restaurants. Again, like in the U.S., the amount you tip is relative to how good the service was.

4. China


There are laws that restrict tipping, so even though it may feel odd, don't leave a tip.

5. Australia/New Zealand


Until recently, tipping was not common in this area of the world. Now, leaving 10 to 15 percent at restaurants for good service is the norm. However, there is no requirement to tip at the bar.

See more in tipping internationally at The Daily Meal

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