Best tipping tips while abroad
Tipping is an important etiquette, especially in American culture. It is a way for customers at a restaurant to reward the amazing waiters and waitresses for their kindness and professionalism. It is also a "thank you" note to drivers and barbers for providing a professional service. But the American culture isn't always the right way. Different cultures abroad have different ways of showing appreciation for certain services. Read on to find out how to tip in other countries.
Who to tip
It is always important to know which services should be tipped and who is deserving of monetary recognition for their job. Restroom attendants, bartenders, porters, and wait staff are some of the people you should consider offering a tip to. The same applies to drivers and tour guides who help you move around easily and offer excellent and informative services.
Remember that many workers in the tourism sectors are paid a basic wage or none at all and rely on the tips to earn enough money each day. Tipping is an excellent way to show appreciation for someone who has gone above and beyond to perform a service for you and will leave you in their good graces.
No-tipping zones and cultures
Some cultures frown upon tipping. In Japan, for example, it is generally considered rude to tip a member of restaurant staff for a service rendered. The same applies to cab drivers and tour guides. Service is always over-delivered and so there is no need to induce excellence with a tip. Even in the rare situations where it is allowed, it is standard practice to place the tip in an envelope and offer it with respect. Gifts from your home country are also valued more than monetary tips. South Korea has a similar culture. If you want to show appreciation for a wonderful service at the restaurant, finish the food on your plate.
How much should you tip?
The customary position in Dubai is that you tip staff up to 10% of the bill. This goes to services rendered at the bar, hotel, or restaurant. Porters and valets normally accept about 10 dirhams for their service. For cab drivers, meanwhile, it is best to round off your fare to the higher value and offer that as a tip.
In Egypt, Jordan, and other countries, restaurant bills normally come with a 5% tip added on. Housekeepers also accept a dollar each day for the duration of your stay. Paying up ensures you have a clean room every day. Qatari cabs and drivers would take between $5 and $10 per day as a tip.
In Saudi Arabia, though, restaurant bills don't come with tips or service added. You are expected, however, to offer between 10% to 15% of the bill to waiters. When you visit the mosque, you are encouraged to offer about a dollar or two to the person taking care of your shoes at the mosque. You don't enter the mosque with your shoes on, you leave them at the door and if nobody takes care of them, well, you might walk barefooted back to your hotel.
Tipping should not be an extravagant affair. It is always advisable to hide the tip than to make a public show of it. Slide it in a porter's hand when you shake hands, for example. Put it in an envelope and leave kind words if it is possible. For the maître d' at the restaurant, it is better to slip it into the pocket if you want the best service at the best table.
Cash is preferred
Many banks offer credit and debit cards that are accepted at international destinations. While this might come in handy when purchasing tickets, it is not so good for local cab drivers, for instance. It is therefore necessary to carry local cash with you while traveling. You can get cash at most local ATMs in your destination country.
In some countries in the Middle East, however, tips can be more valuable when offered in US dollars or in euros. Make sure to understand if your currency is legal tender before leaving home. If the dollar is acceptable in local transactions, then cab drivers and concierges would be more than willing to take them as tips compared to local currencies.
Tip where you can
In some countries around the world, most service workers like wait staff rely on tips for their wages. Giving tips is therefore very important in these cultures. Also, it is not advisable to ask whether or not a service person requires a tip. Many would say, "No" out of etiquette even if he or she relies on your tip for their wage. Once there is no ban on tips, it is often best to offer them. Most importantly, be kind and courteous on your travels.
Now that you are aware of how tipping works in other countries, book your trip through Vayama now to learn and appreciate more of the diversity of many cultures!