By Jo Pugh •
Updated: 16 Sep 2023 • 11:02
To tip or not tip, that is the question. Credit: gpointstudio/Freepik
When you’re exploring new horizons and embracing foreign cultures, one aspect of travel that can sometimes leave you in a quandary is tipping.
How much should you tip at restaurants, hotels, bars, taxis, or for the services of tour guides? To help you navigate this often perplexing aspect of international travel, turn to the trusted advice provided by Which? in their comprehensive guide to gratuity etiquette abroad. Say goodbye to uncertainty and ensure your travels are marked by smooth and respectful interactions.
Tipping, a practice deeply rooted in social customs, exhibits such a wide array of variations across countries that even well-seasoned travellers can find themselves perplexed when deciding how much gratuity to offer their waiting staff or tour guide.
As the global tourism industry has expanded, so too have the expectations surrounding tipping, even in cultures where it wasn’t traditionally the norm. Several European countries, once accustomed to the practice of rounding up the bill, now anticipate customers to add a standard 10 per cent to their bill.
In certain places, like Poland, expressing your gratitude by saying ‘thank you’ before receiving your change at a restaurant signifies that you’re content for the waiting staff to retain the entirety of it.
Whether you’re in the back seat of a taxi in Athens or embarking on a Tuscan wine tour, we offer insights into how much you should tip in some countries, and when it might be best to keep your wallet securely stowed away.
Hotel, cafe and restaurant receipts should include “service compris” (service charges) of around 15 per cent, meaning you are not obliged to tip. If you want to reward good service add a further 10-12.5 per cent. The word for gratuity is “pourboire”, which means “drinking money”, however, it’s not customary to tip in bars. If a porter in a hotel carries your bag, €1-2 is expected.
Taxi – not necessary, but round up to the nearest euro.
Tour guide and bus driver – discretionary. From €2-5 per person, plus €1-2 per person for the bus driver.
Tipping is discretionary. In tapas bars, round up the bill to the nearest euro or leave your change. But at higher-end eateries add 5-10 per cent. In bars, round up to the nearest euro. In hotels and for taxis, tipping is not necessary, but giving your tour guide €5 is appreciated.
Service or cover charges are usually included in the bill. While discretionary, a 5-10 per cent tip on top is common with tourists. In bars, tipping is not expected. In hotels, it’s customary to leave €1 a day for cleaners and €1 per bag for porters. Taxis – not necessary, but round up the fare if you’d like to. For a group tour, tip €2-5 per person.
In Krakow, Gdansk and other popular cities a 10 per cent tip is expected, although not in bars. Except in five-star hotels, tips are not necessary. For taxis, it is customary to round up to the nearest 5zl or 10zl. Tip private guides 10 per cent. Government guides at historical sites don’t expect a tip.
“Servizio” (service charge) and “coperto” (cover charge) is often included on Italian bills. You are not obliged to tip on top of this. If service hasn’t been added (or to reward good service) round up to the nearest €5 or €10. In bars, tipping is at your discretion. A small tip (€1-2) is more common in tourist cities. Be aware, table and bar service can be priced differently. In hotels, tipping is discretionary. Offer €1-2 for porters and housekeeping.
For taxis, it’s polite to round up to the nearest euro.
Tour guides don’t expect tips, but €5-10 is appreciated.
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Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.
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