How Much Should We Tip These Days?
Over the years I've been traveling, tipping has become a lot more confusing -- and a lot more expensive. Moreover, long established customs around the world have changed, mostly for the worse. Here are some highlights from the most recent worldwide tipping guide posted regularly by Magellan's, the big online and catalog store for travel items. It covers only restaurants, porters, and taxis.
No-tipping zones. Among the few remaining places where "no tipping" is presumably still the norm for restaurants, porters, and taxis are
Presumably, you tip more often -- and more generously -- in restaurants than anywhere else. And you find lots of variations among the 70-plus nations listed:
-- Other countries with the relatively high top tipping rate of 15 percent include
Since I've been traveling, several former no-tipping countries have migrated into the tipping category. Among the most prominent is
Probably the most confusing areas for visitors are those countries where restaurants automatically add a fixed service charge to the bill. That list includes most of
-- In some, Magellan's recommends 10 percent only where a service charge isn't added.
-- In others, however, tipping over and above the service charge seems to be expected now, including
Again, when I first started traveling, the customary add-on, if any, was basically a "round up" to the nearest equivalent of
Magellan's lists fewer variations for porter tipping, generally at
Magellan's lists only two basic formulas for taxi tipping (beyond the no-tipping areas):
-- In many countries, including
-- Otherwise, the standard seems to be 10 percent, except in
When I first started traveling, nobody gave the slightest thought to leaving tips for housekeepers -- after all, that's the job they're paid to do. However, leaving
Whole books have been written about cruise tipping. To me, the best source of information for cruise tipping is the online site "Cruise Tip Calculator" (http://cruisetip.tpkeller.com/). You enter the name of the ship, cabin occupancy, and number of nights, and the website automatically calculates and displays recommended tipping for everybody likely to get a tip.
All in all, I resent tipping -- travel companies should pay their employees a living wage. But I'm not about to change things, and neither are you.
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(c) 2010 Ed Perkins
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