If you are going on holiday, or a business trip, to somewhere you have never been before, then there are some things you need to know if you don’t want to upset the locals. And one of these things is what to tip.

It might seem like a nice thing to do as a way of saying thank you – especially as that is what we tend to do here in France. However, it is not always the case that tipping is appreciated or seen in the same way. There are even some places where tipping is frowned upon**.


Understanding these cultural differences will help you get even more out of your trip** and make sure you leave a good impression behind you. If you are there on holiday, knowing what to leave will help you manage your budget better and if you are there on business it will show your hosts how well you understand their culture.

This post looks at what to tip in a restaurant or when you take a taxi, but don’t forget that in some places you might also be expected to tip any person who provides a service, from concierges in a hotel to the person who cleans the toilets or holds the door open for you. In some cases in might only be loose change**, but elsewhere it could be significantly more.

For example, in many cases in Asia there is someone who cleans the toilets and even provides toilet paper. You will be expected to pay for this service and the fee** is often shown at the entrance. However, it is very rarely expensive! In the US, though, your budget for tips should be quite significant because even the busboy who shows you to your hotel room expects to be tipped several dollars. In many cases, a large part of the salary of someone working in the service industry is made up of tips so there livelihood depends on you tipping them. It is one of the reasons that the service in the States differs to that in Europe.

Here, then, is what is expected from you in either a restaurant or taxi in some popular destinations.

Australia/New Zealand 10-15% Round up
China No tip No tip
Germany 10% Round up
Greece 5-10% No tip
Italy 10% Optional
Japan No tip No tip
South East Asia Not expected but small tip welcome Small tip
Spain 10% Round up
Holland No tip Round up
Turkey 10% Round up
UK 10% Round up
USA 15-25% Small tip


*Les Astuces pour donner des Pourboires

A tip is not always expected but shows appreciation. Check that the tip is not already included on your bill. If it is, you can always change it – either taking it off or making it less or even making it bigger.


Frowned upon = désapprouvé

Trip = voyage

Loose change = la monnaie qui est dans votre poche

Fee = honoraires

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