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travel gratuities

Nearly all Americans practice the social custom of tipping waiters, taxi drivers, and other service industry workers. However, this is not a commonplace tradition worldwide; in some countries, it’s even considered quite rude or gauche.

Here are some customs to follow if you’re dining internationally and you want to fit in with the cultural norms.

Countries With Small or No Gratuities

The following countries use tipping only for exceptional service, and often include a 10% service charge with the bill, requiring no additional gratuity.

  • Australia & New Zealand
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Japan
  • Switzerland

Keep in mind that if you have a tour guide, or somebody else who provides you with an important service, a small gratuity might still be a pleasant surprise.

Worst-case scenario, you can always pull out your smartphone and google “Tipping in (your current city or country)”. While it’s not going to make or break your trip, it’s still a good idea to follow local customs.

The Middle East

The common consensus is that tipping is appreciated in the Middle East, but fortunately for travelers, not the high-percentage gratuities customary in America. Generally, a small gratuity is added to a restaurant bill; it can be a sign of respect to add a small amount for each person in your party.


America’s neighbor to the north has similar customs to the United States. Gratuities are not included in the bill, and 15-20% is customary for satisfactory service in a restaurant. 10% is standard gratuity for a taxi cab.

South America

In South American countries like Chile or Argentina, it’s considered a nice gesture to leave an additional 5-10% gratuity in a nicer restaurant. Guides should also be tipped pretty generously in these countries as well.


Tipping customs in Europe vary widely. Alongside your research into trip protection and travel insurance, you should be sure to research social customs, including gratuities. For a more extensive summary of European (and other nation’s) general policies on gratuities, you should check out this gigantic list from CN Traveler.

Bon Voyage!

Wherever your travels take you, we wish you nothing but luck. We hope you benefit from knowing more about tipping in other countries.

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