We live in Miami, Florida. In many of the tourist destinations here, restaurants add a tipping guide because they know that some people from other countries do not typically tip waiters or others. The guides also help Americans who don’t want to do the math for the customary 15-20% for service.
If you take a taxi in many U.S. cities and pay by credit card, you can simply press a button to add the tip. These tip buttons may cause you to tip more than you might normally. If I stay in a hotel, I tip the maid a couple of dollars daily instead of at the end of my stay because you never know which person will be cleaning your room when you check out. In the U.S. we tip the bell person, our hairdressers, doormen, mail carriers, and basically anyone who does something for us. In theory, tipping is the American way. Even when I travel, I tip unless it’s completely unacceptable to do so.
If you travel abroad, things are different. In many countries, those who serve your food get paid well enough to make a living wage and thus don’t expect a tip. In some countries, you just round up the food bill. Most tour guides and tour bus drivers appreciate a tip, but many people don’t bother because they assume that the price of the tour ticket covers the tip as well. I have always found tour guides and drivers pleasantly surprised when I tip because even they announce that gratuities are appreciated, people either forget or don’t tip.
Before I travel, I do a quick online search to learn the customs in each country. Below are some of my favorite resources. If you have other tips on tipping, please leave your comment below.
- Fodors How to Tip When Traveling the World
- Conde Nast Traveler- Etiquette 101: Your Guide for Tipping Around the World
- Travel and Leisure: How To Tip in 25 Countries Around the World
- Rick Steves: Tipping in Europe
I hope these help you. When in doubt, ask a local about the customs.