Tip jars have become an increasingly common sight — Photo courtesy of kaarsten / Getty Images
Does it feel like no matter what you’re purchasing — a bottle of water at the gas station, a sandwich at the corner deli, take-out at your local Thai spot — someone swivels around a little screen asking for a tip? And not just any tip: where 15% to 20% used to be the norm, increasingly it feels like the “suggested” tip now starts at 22%.
A confluence of things is to blame, from the pandemic to inflation to a better sense of the low wages in the service industry. Doesn’t make it easier to fork over, though.
Interestingly, tipping culture in the US is a pretty unique one. In some places, like Japan, tipping is practically considered rude.
Here are nine places with different tipping standards than the United States.
Tipping is relatively standard practice around the world, but the amount varies — Photo courtesy of LumiNola / Getty Images
With an average minimum wage that’s almost three times what it is in the U.S., tips are, well, an actual bonus rather than essential to survival. So, while tipping isn’t mandatory or expected Down Under, anything extra is appreciated. (Just round up the bill or leave around 10%.)
Tipping isn’t part of the culture in Brazil. A tip isn’t generally expected as a 10% “serviço” is routinely included in restaurant bills. However, make sure to check: If service isn’t included, consider rounding up the bill or tipping 10%.
While service industry workers generally get paid a higher minimum wage in Canada than in the US, our northern neighbors follow similar tipping guidelines. This means tipping between 15% to 20% on food and services.
Many in the service industry rely on tips to make a living wage — Photo courtesy of Cameron Prins / Getty Images
While the tipping standards vary island by island, a tip of between 10% to 20% is generally expected. That said, bills almost everywhere, from all-inclusive resorts to restaurants, will include a service fee of 10% to 15%, so make sure to check your bill to avoid double tipping.
In China, tipping was once entirely prohibited, so it is not expected, generally speaking. The Chinese culture espouses that all are equal, and tipping goes against this idea. In many areas of China, tipping is viewed as ill-mannered, and some even see it as a form of bribery.
That said, China is becoming increasingly westernized, which has led to some changes. So, while the Chinese may not be in the habit of tipping — making not leaving a tip totally fine — a tip is also not unwelcome, especially in bigger cities with a more established tourism industry. In that case, if you’re happy with your service, feel free to round up your bill or leave around 10%.
Pro tip: In big cities, restaurants and hotels sometimes already include a 10% service charge so make sure to check your bill.
In France — and most Western European countries — tipping isn’t expected as those in the service industry earn a living wage (often alongside benefits and paid holidays). Most restaurants also tend to add a 15% service fee. Known as a “pourboire” or “for drinking” (similar to Germany’s “trinkgeld” or “drinking money”), leaving a few extra euros by rounding up the bill is A-OK.
Pro tip: Many of the payment machines used in France don’t let you manually add tips on credit card transactions, so make sure to have some cash on hand.
In most of Western Europe, rounding up the bill suffices — Photo courtesy of georgeclerk/ Getty Images
In Japan, respect and dignity are highly valued, meaning it’s a source of pride to do a job well and give good service. Japan has a tip-free service culture, as tipping is considered awkward — even rude to some. Don’t try and tip locals; they’ll likely be embarrassed and refuse the extra cash. Instead, show your appreciation with compliments and overt gratitude.
In many parts of Mexico, much like in the US, hospitality workers rely on tips to make up for low wages. A few extra pesos can go a long way, so the generally accepted norm for tipping here is around 15%.
In the UK, workers don’t generally rely on their tips to make a living wage, and thus tipping isn’t expected in the same way that it is in the US. However, while it’s not necessary to tip, it’s appreciated. So, if your bill doesn’t already include a service fee (some restaurants do this), consider leaving 10% to 15% or just rounding up the bill.