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This Mint.com infographic on tipping etiquette around the world has been circulating around the internet for the last few weeks. The link has spread through expat-related sites like wildfire.

Why?

Expats and foreign travelers want to be culturally sensitive to locally expected behavior norms. Tipping practices are different from city to city and country to country, and with so many nuances, it's difficult to synthesize the information in an easily read format.

While I found the graphic interesting, it was a broad overview rather than an in-depth study of the topic. There's so much more to know than just the amount to tip in a restaurant.

In Peru, you shouldn't leave the tip on the table and should put the money directly into the waitperson's hand. While in Russia, tips should be in cash, even when you pay with a credit card. In Colombia, wait staff will often ask in advance of bringing the bill if it's ok to include the tip, which is generally 10%, making miscalculation a non-issue.

In some countries, if there's a service charge, there's no need to tip (e.g. Denmark and many Nordic countries). In others where a service charge is added to the bill, guests are still expected to leave a small sum. This is often the case in Latin and South America, France, Italy, South Korea and Spain. Then, there are the countries where the service charge goes to the government and tipping wait staff is expected, as in many Middle Eastern countries.

Sometimes the rules vary if you're a local vs. an expat. Although locals do not tip in Cambodia, leaving a small amount can materially help out a waitperson's family. In Japan, locals don't tip, but even with the service charge, wait staff in certain establishments have begun to expect tips from foreigners.

In other countries, e.g. Egypt and India, the wait person may directly say you have not tipped sufficiently.

The same behavior can be interpreted differently across the globe. In Germany, patrons are expected to thank the waitperson, even if they left a tip. In Poland, if you thank the waitperson as you hand them the bill with cash, you're inviting them to keep the change.

In Hungary, if you're paying in cash, you should tell the waitperson how much you want to pay, not how much change you want back. This is the opposite of what you do in many other countries.

What interesting tipping practices and foibles have you encountered in your travels?

Carrie
RW3 CultureWizard