Folium: A Tourist’s Global Guide to Tipping via DailyInfographic

Folium: A Tourist's Global Guide to Tipping via DailyInfographic

Folium: A Tourist’s Global Guide to Tipping via DailyInfographic

Folium: A Tourist’s Global Guide to Tipping via DailyInfographic

Most people, if asked, will tell you a tip is designed to reward good service.  But a number of those same people will tip the same amount, without regard for the level of service they receive.  I know I have.  As steamed as I can be when service is poor, I rarely work up the gumption to stiff someone on his or her tip, or to leave a miserly amount.  Why is that?  Apparently, we Americans are neurotic, guilt-prone and don’t want to be thought of as cheap or ignorant.  Those are some of the reasons Cornell University Professor Michael Lynn discovered during his 20 years of research on tipping behavior.

“The major reason people tip,” said Lynn, “is to avoid social disapproval.”

So much for rewarding good service.  How much to leave on the bar in New York City?  In Geneva, NY?  Or Geneva, Switzerland?   Do other countries care about social disapproval?  Do other countries have different guidelines for tipping?  As it turns out, the art of tipping is quite different around the world.

In China and Japan, it is considered rude to tip your server.  A tip in these countries could leave the impression you believe the server is undervalued by his or her employer.   However, in Hong Kong, a 10% tip is considered standard.   In France,  the phrase for a tip is, “un pour boire;”  literally translated, “for a drink.”  If you receive good service, you should give your server a bit of cash for a drink after work.  While you are in New Zealand, following the Lord of the Rings trail, there is no need to tip at all.

All countries agree on certain aspects of tipping.  Even a generous tip doesn’t make it acceptable to treat your server disrespectfully.  It’s also a good idea to be discreet; no one likes people who are flashy about how much they are tipping.  And, it’s a good idea to tip in the currency of the country.  You can’t always add a tip on a credit card transaction, so having cash is a good idea.  Finally, if you aren’t sure, it never hurts to ask.

No matter what side of the bar you are on or which side of “the Pond” you are visiting, the proper etiquette of tipping can be an issue.  If you haven’t researched the customs of the country you are visiting before you go, ask when you get there.  No matter what, treat all customer service professionals–servers, bell-hops, bartenders, housekeeping, etc.–with respect.

Have you ever run into tipping or money questions while traveling?

Christine Gill
LEAF Contributor


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