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Tipping - Travel Tips

Brits are notoriously bad tippers and unless a service charge is included in the bill we generally don’t bother to tip. The downside to not having a tipping culture is when we travel, we don’t naturally think to tip, and sometimes get bad service as a result or even worse offend, according to travel retailer Flight Centre.

Brits are notoriously bad tippers and unless a service charge is included in the bill we generally don’t bother to tip. The downside to not having a tipping culture is when we travel, we don’t naturally think to tip, and sometimes get bad service as a result or even worse offend, according to travel retailer Flight Centre.

Flight Centre’s head of marketing Rob Freedman says while it’s tough trying to decipher what to tip from country to country, most travellers still want to avoid spit in the soup or the cold shoulder from the maitre’d, so it pays to find out what the norm is before arriving.

For example, in Japan if you leave a couple of coins on the table, the waiter may chase after you to return your forgotten change, but in New York if you leave less than 15 percent, good luck making a reservation in the same restaurant ever again!

Here’s a brief overview of tipping in countries frequented by British people:

United States
This country is the tipping capital of the world where not tipping can easily offend. Restaurants in the USA usually call for a 15-20 percent tip, which supplements a normally meagre wage. This is true of everyone in the service industry, so the rule is if someone helps you out from porter to bar tender it pays to leave a small tip!

France
In France service must be included in the price of a restaurant bill by law so no need to tip, although it is customary to round your bill to include a little more. This is not true of bars so you should use your discretion if you feel you have got particularly good service or not.

Italy
No tip is expected in restaurants throughout Italy, as you will normally be charged a coperto (cover charge) on top of your bill. However it will be much appreciated if you have had a good service to leave a bit extra.

Spain
In Spain most restaurants and bars will expect to receive a tip from tourists, although it is really is still a mater of personal discretion. Bills will usually include a service charge in restaurants and as a general rule if you are served a drink in bar at your table you should leave a small tip, as with porters and chambermaids in your hotel.

Thailand
Everything goes in Thailand, and that rule applies to tipping as well. Some places expect it and others don’t. In general, the more Westernised the place is, the more likely you’ll be expected to leave a gratuity. Cabs are now metered in Bangkok, so there’s no haggling over your fare, but local custom is still to round the fare up to the nearest five baht.

Australia
Tipping in Australia is starting to happen more frequently, but is still entirely optional. A 10% tip in restaurants is acceptable. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers but this form of tipping is on the increase as tourism to Australia grows.

Canada
Most service staff in Canada expect something in the 10-20 percent tip range, depending on whether it’s French or English Canada, and how good the service is - if the service is really bad, leave a few cents and they should get the message.

China
You’ll never have to tip anywhere in China. It’s the one comfort from the fact that foreigners are generally thought of as filthy rich, and therefore charged a lot more. Most government operated hotels and restaurants prohibit the acceptance of tips, but it is sometimes expected at the bigger hotels and by younger service personnel in the more open cities. Use your discretion.

Singapore
According to government notices in the Lion City, tipping is not allowed. Officials encourage tourists not to add to the 10 per cent service charge that many high-end hotels include on the bill. Hotel porters are one exception to the no-tipping rule, as they usually receive a couple of dollars for lugging bags.

Ireland
Tipping is not de rigueur in Ireland, however it is customary to tip of between 12 and 15 per cent in restaurants or hotels, if there is not already a service charge included. If you receive good service then a 10 per cent tip would be about the right amount for taxi drivers, porters and hotel staff.

Tip supplied by Flight Centre (Tel: 0870 499 0042 / www.flightcentre.co.uk)


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