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Avanti Travel Insurance blog

17 Feb

Avoid Offending The Waiter – Our Global Tipping Tips

Waiter at busy restaurantTipping Trends Across The Globe

Overview: Tipping trends differ wildly across the globe – it’s expected in some countries, yet impolite in others. This guide will make sure you avoid offending your waiter!

Attitudes towards tipping differ wildly across the globe. In some places it’s considered impolite to tip, while in other countries a failure to tip will cause offence. A recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor offered insight into the tipping habits of American tourists who are, incidentally, the most generous group of tippers by nationality – 60% of Americans tip whilst travelling compared to only 11% of Italians, the least generous group of tippers.

Nevertheless, 26% of American respondents to this survey admitted they were frequently confused about how much to tip whilst travelling. It’s true that tipping can often be fraught, as nobody wants to offend. However, with our handy tips you can be sure that you won’t offend the waiter, wherever you visit next!

Don’t Offend!

There are some countries in which tipping is not only unnecessary, but offensive. Most notably this is the case in Japan, but this can also be true in China and South Korea. In these countries tipping would be culturally insensitive. If you’re heading to these parts of the world, then make sure you check before you travel – nobody wants to cause offence!

Is Service Included?

In some countries it is not customary to tip, as service tends to be included in your bill. This is most notably the case in Italy, which accounts for the fact that Italian tourists are the least generous tippers – they are not used to doing this! Other countries in which service tends to be applied to your bill automatically include France and Australia. Again, check before you travel.

Which Currency?

You should also think carefully about which currency to tip in. Some countries, especially emerging destinations, really appreciate tips in US dollars or euros, which are worth more than local currencies. However, in other countries failure to tip in the national currency can come across as brash. To be on the safe side, it can be a good idea to carry a mixture of currencies on you, to cover all eventualities.

Beware of Over-Tipping

How much is too much? This can be a serious issue in some countries, where you don’t want to be perceived as throwing huge amounts of money around. Remember that in developing countries a small amount to you might be a huge amount to locals. Excessive tipping in these areas can perpetuate the hassling of tourists. You want to give tips, not handouts – so find out what the locals would tip, and offer an amount that is in proportion with this.

Who to Tip?

The TripAdvisor survey also indicates that tourists are often confused as to who they should tip. Swimming pool attendants are the group of staff that are least likely to receive a tip. Others are unsure whether they should tip the concierge, which can be a mistake. It is a good idea to tip the concierge the first time you use their services, in order to ensure that you receive their attention for the rest of your stay. Staff members who clean rooms should be tipped at the end of your stay, however. If you are on a cruise, it is customary to tip your cabin boy and waiter at the end of the holiday.

Research is Key!

The main thing to remember is research. A quick Google before you travel will ensure that you don’t cause offence or pay too much, so you can travel without worrying about tipping etiquette. For further peace of mind, make sure you don’t travel without insurance!