Etiquette guide for tipping: How much tip is appropriate abroad?

In restaurants, hotels or in a taxi – there are many situations on a business trip or on vacation, where good service should be rewarded with a tip. In Germany, it is common to tip around 10 percent, but how is it in other countries? While it is an absolute must in some regions and service staff are pretty much expecting it, there are countries where tipping is considered an insult. To help you prepare for your trip, here’s an overview of different tipping habits.

Caution in Japan: Tipping is considered insulting

Even if it is difficult, you might be better off holding back on your generosity in Japan. The Japanese do not expect special notice to be taken of their performance, as good service is a matter of course. Giving and taking are deemed undignified, thus tipping is considered an insult by the Japanese. Still, don’t worry if you commit a blunder: The Japanese will be deeply offended if you give them extra money, but will always respond politely.

Tipping: A nice touch

In Asia, Denmark and Scandinavia it is rather unusual to tip. In Norway, Denmark and Finland, the service charge in restaurants and hotels is already included in the bill. Anyone who wants to can round up the bill anyway: An addition of around five percent is common. Sweden however is an exception – here around 10 percent is appropriate.

In most European and North African countries, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates, taxi drivers and the like are looking forward to a small cash injection. Here it is appropriate to tip between 10 – 15 percent. In these regions, you cannot go wrong by rewarding good service with a tip.

US and Canada: A tip of 15-20 percent is a must

Because of their low income, service staff in the US and Canada rely on tips and therefore do expect it. If you are satisfied with the service in a restaurant, you should plan a tip of around 15 – 20 percent. However, if you are disappointed with the service, it is just fine to do without.

You can get a detailed overview of the appropriate tip for each country with our “tip-table” so you can be well prepared for your next trip.