In order to avoid evil glares from service staff, learning the art of tipping abroad is essential ... photo by CC user Scott Sanchez on wikimedia

Tips aren’t really part of the culture in Britain. You might tip a waitress in a restaurant if the service is really good, or at a push, you might tip a maid in a hotel, but it’s not something that anyone expects – I don’t know anyone who’d tip a taxi in the UK. However, in other countries, it’s very different.

A tip is defined as a gift of money for performing a service or task over and above the payment for the service. This guide will help unaware Britons navigate the waters overseas when it comes to tipping abroad…

United States

In the United States, a tip is a given. In restaurants, bars, taxis, having a haircut, getting your bags delivered to your hotel room, you should tip. Only if the service is really terrible do you not tip at all. When you go to a restaurant, make sure that you haven’t already been charged for the tip. 15 – 20% is customary. It’s important to remember that by tipping them, you are helping them, most waiters and waitresses are only making minimum wages, which should be just over $7 an hour.


Canada is very similar to the US in that most people will expect a tip for their service. Tips range from 10 – 20%, depending on what part of Canada you’re in.


In Mexico, tipping is expected for nearly everything. Generosity is really appreciated as most people receive hardly anything for their work. In restaurants, tip around 15% for good service. If you’re taking a taxi, they are required to be metered – you tip the metered amount. Make sure that when you get in a taxi that the meter is working.


In France, restaurants it is law to include the service charge in the bill, with the average of 15%, but it is customary to add some small change to the table. Don’t tip taxi drivers, but if you’ve had a guide or tour, then a few coins are expected.


Tipping in restaurants will depend on the prices. For instance, if it’s a really posh place, 5 – 6% is fine, but if the prices are lower, then tip 10%. This is because the minimum wage is higher for German waiters and waitresses than for their American counterparts.

Tip taxi drivers around 10% of the fare shown on the meter.

It is common to leave a tip for the maid in hotels, as well as tips for any help you receive with luggage.

If you go to the hairdresser, a couple of euros for the hairdresser is fine.


No tips are expected in Italy, but, like in Britain, if you think that they did a great job then you can leave a tip. At restaurants you will be charged a cover charge. Taxi drivers will usually expect to receive 5-10% of the fare.