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It’s Rude To Tip In Japan: + 10 Countries Where You Dont Need To Tip: Tipping Guide 

By  Annie André


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American and Canadian eaters are accustomed to adding 15% to 20% to the total restaurant bill before taxes. The wait staff often rely on these tips because their base pay is FAAAAR below the minimum wage. Overseas, however, this is not always the case. Here are 10 countries where you are not expected to tip either because the tip is already included or because the wait staff is making a livable wage..

 

pintrest pin about 10 Countries Where You Dont Need To Tip

10 Countries Where You Don’t Need To Tip

Tipping in your home country is confusing enough as it is but when you travel it can get even more confusing.  A few small coins left behind at a restaurant might be considered polite by the wait staff in a restaurant in France but the same amount left in a restaurant in China is down right rude. Here are 10 countries where you may not need to tip in a restaurant. Use it as a guide but always make sure you do your own research before travelling.

It may be considered rude in these countries to tip

1-Japan-Be careful not to tip at restaurants in Japan, it could be construed as an insult. The general ideology is that the wait staff works for the restaurant as a team and if a customer enjoys their visit than they will return to the restaurant again, refer others and bring more business.  I guess you could say, your gratitude and repeat business is all the tip they need.

Exception: I have been to some restaurants in Tokyo who received a lot of tourists and understood that some foreigners tip.  In these rare cases, tipping is accepted but not expected.

2-China- Generally you don’t need to leave a tip. Just like Japan, it can be considered rude in some places.

3- South Korea-Generally tipping is considered rude here too. The exception is in some hotels where a service or tip is automatically added to the bill.

The tip is usually already included in the bill in these countries

In many countries, it is not wrong to tip.  In fact the wait staff will be very happy to receive a tip from you. However, these countries do not expect you to tip because the tip is already included on the bill.

Check your bill, you may see an extra 10% or more (maybe less) added as a service fee or tip. If you still feel like leaving a tip behind because the food or service was amazing then go ahead. Just round up and or leave the change behind.

If you are still feeling unsure, just ask.

4- Malaysia-Tipping is not expected but appreciated.

5- Hong Kong-Generally there is no tipping in Hong Kong but, because Hong Kong is becoming so westernized, they are used to being tipped and even appreciate it.

6-Vietnam-Tipping is not customary in Vietnam but is slowly becoming more common especially in touristy spots like Hanoi.

7- New Zealand-Tipping at restaurants in New Zealand is not widespread however if you get exceptional service and feel like it, you can leave around a 10% tip.

8- Australia-No need to tip but if you do decide to leave a tip, just round up, it will be much appreciated

9-Thailand-A tip is not expected but it is appreciated. Don’t leave a percentage but rather leave 10 baht or 20 baht and call it a day.

10- Italy-Throughout most of Italy, it’s not common practice for Italians to leave a tip but it can be appreciated. If you do leave a tip, do it when  you get exceptional service and forget the rules back home of leaving 15 to 20 percent. Instead round up to the nearest whole number or leave the change. If a café is 1 Euros 60 centimes, leave 40 centimes on the table as a tip.

The waiters and restaurants in the tourista meccas- Venice, Florence or Rome have grown so accustomed to foreigners leaving tips that I hear they half expect tips now. But just remember, a cover charge is usually already added to your bill so check it and don’t feel obliged to leave a tip.

11-Bonus- France-In France there is already a VAT (value added tax) tacked on to your bill. You usually find it at the end of the bill marked as TVA (taxe sur le valeur ajoute). For this reason it is not necessary to leave a tip but it is customary to leave a little something by rounding up on your bill.. If you pay by credit card you may not be able to leave a tip using your card so be sure to always have some one euro coins in your pocket to leave behind as a small tip of appreciation.

Summary

Just because you don’t tip in restaurants in these countries doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tip the taxi driver or barber in those same countries.

My advice to you when planning your trips is to  please, please, please…. do a little research on the tipping customs of that country. Here are a few service related things to do research for….

  • restaurants
  • hotel staff
  • taxi’s
  • tour guides
  • Spa and resort staff
  • even hair dressers and barbers

Trust me, it’s really embarrassing or rather stressful to receive your bill in a foreign country and not know how much is too much or too little, or whether you should leave a tip at all.

  1. We don’t generally tip in Australia because we have strong labour and industrial laws with awards etc which make it illegal for employers to underpay staff. Most tips get pooled and shared amongst all the staff. It shocks me that a country like the U.S. Allows a situation to exist where people are payed so little that they have a reliance on tips to survive. To us it equates to forcing people to beg for a living. It makes traveling to the United States a little uncomfortable to a lot of Australians. It feels like when you give a dog a treat for performing a trick. Basically kiss my a** and I’ll give you a bit extra. Sad.

    1. I never thought of it that way but it does make sense. It really is deplorable that servers have to rely on tips in the US especially since many states only pay waiters as little as $2.13 per hour. some states like California pay actual minim wage for the state but $2.13 is not a livable wage and many servers don’t make up the difference on tips. See the US department of labour statistics for actual hourly wage per state. https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm

    2. It shocks me too Matt. I think many small businesses argue that they cannot afford to pay livable wages to their staff therefore they need the servers to rely on tips.

    1. Hopefully the woman whom you gave the /*surplus/* was surprised in a god way and not offended by it having to hang her head in shame.
      i actually find it really stressful when i am not sure what the tipping etiquette is. Not just for restaurants but at haircut places and cafe’s etc. I don’t want to be that ugly forigner that used to come into the restaurant (that I used to work for in college who left zero for a tip) because that was their custom in their country.

    2. Yes, it’s not always expected to tip in Costa Rica, but this isn’t always the case. For instance, if you are traveling to a popular tourist area, the employees may be expecting tips since tourists from other countries are more likely to tip. I always recommend tipping for anyone performing a meaningful service such as waiter/waitress, tour guide, taxis…etc. I enjoyed the article.

  2. I’m a Kiwi and find tipping so confusing too! Whenever I’m in the US, it feels like a lot of pressure to decide what your server gets paid!!! I do really appreciate the difference it makes to the level of service experienced in restaurants where tipping is the norm. Eating out in the US is so much more enjoyable because waitstaff generally seem to love their jobs and work hard for their tips.

  3. We struggle with tipping as well, but from the opposite side. We live in New Zealand where we don’t tip. We do find it embarrassing that if you go to a destination frequented by tourists, the visa pay slip will have a place for a tip as many tourists don’t know, but you won’t find it in the rest of the country. On the flip side, they make us (anyone on New Zealand or Australian passports) pay the tip upfront on most cruise lines.

    1. Hi Rhona, tipping can get really confusing. I think it’s one of those things that not everyone is even aware to look into before leaving for a trip.

      That’s strange about the tipping on the cruise line. When we took our Mediterranean cruise, i think they tacked on the tip to our bill too before hand. T

  4. Oh it’s nice to read about these things. I am occasional travel and to Asian countries and haven’t tried giving tips yet. So glad I’ve read about this before I do so. I wonder why they consider it rude.

    1. This is why travelling to some Asian countries would be great for people who don’t like or are not accustomed to tipping.
      It’s considered rude to tip in some countries because when you leave a tip you are implying that the owner does not pay you enough. It’s like losing face.

  5. I’m a tipper! I have a hard time not tipping. After looking at this list I have tipped in four of the countries. OOOPS. I just can’t help myself.

    1. I’m the same way Meg. I think you can’t help yourself because you’ve worked for tips before and know a lot of people in the service industry are underpaid. I’m sure the people who you tipped were very appreciative regardless. Unless of course you were in japan. :)

  6. That’s interesting Annie!

    I never really knew there were certain rules that you don’t have to tip in certain countries! Or that the tip is included in the restaurant bill!

    At our end there is no hard and fast rule, though most people do tip the waiters before leaving. However, in some restaurants they make it very clear by putting up sign-boards or mention it in the bill that we should not give any tip. I guess it all depends from one restaurant to another our end.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. I think you are right,, it all depends from restaurant to restaurant. But in the case of these one listed especially in Asia, i don’t think they say that the tip is included or not.. I’m not sure about NZ and the rest. In France, it usually does say that tip is included but we still leave small change behind as it’s considered proper protocol here.

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