Countries where tipping is rude, + Countries Where You Don’t Need To Tip

By Annie André

If you’re travelling and come from a culture where tipping is common, you might be surprised that in some countries tipping 10% to 15% of the bill isn’t the norm. Here are some countries where you’re not expected to tip or where rounding up and leaving some change behind is appreciated but also not expected. 

Tipping Guide: Countries Where You Don’t Need To Tip A Percentage

The rules of tipping, attitudes and expectations toward tipping change depending on which country you visit. 

In some countries, like the US and Canada, it’s customary and expected that you tip the wait staff in restaurants 15% to 20% of the total bill before taxes. This has become the norm mainly because the wait staff in these countries don’t make a liveable wage and rely on tips. 

Most countries overseas and around the world don’t have such a longstanding history of tipping culture.

However thanks to the tipping culture from the US and growing tourism, the cultural expectation in other countries is slowly changing.

It may be rude to tip in these countries.

In some countries, it’s considered rude to tip because doing a good job is just part of the job. 

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 then they will return to the restaurant again, refer others and bring more business.

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

Just like Japan, it can be considered rude to give the wait staff a tip except for Hong Kong and Macao which is becoming more westernized. 

3) South Korea

Generally tipping is considered rude here too.

Tips are not expected in these countries: 

Tipping is not customary in these countries but is slowly becoming more common especially in touristy spots where tourists, probably from America or Canada give tips. 

Although tips are not expected in these countries, if you received exceptional service and want to leave a tip anyway, just round up, it will be much appreciated. It’s completely discretionary. 

4) Malaysia

5) Vietnam

6) 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.

7) Australia:

No need to tip but if you received exceptional service, round up to the nearest 5 or 10 Australian dollars. 

8) Thailand

In these countries, tips are not expected, however, rounding up is appreciated and sometimes customary.

Although tipping isn’t expected in these countries, rounding up and leaving some change behind is customary or appreciated. If you don’t leave a tip, no one will come chasing after you. 

For example, if you buy a coffee at a French café for 1 euro 25 centimes, round up to the nearest whole number or leave the change. In this case, you could leave 10, 20, or 50 centimes.

There’s no need to feel guilty if you don’t leave a tip in these countries because there is usually a service charge already added to the bill, or built into the prices.

Wait staff often receive benefits including maternity and paternity leave, childcare, disability, and paid vacation from their employer or the government, so they aren’t dependent on tips to make a living wage.

One thing to keep in mind because tipping is not the norm, many credit card machines don’t have a place to add a tip. You have to ask the server to add it to the bill before they print out the bill. There’s no guarantee the staff will receive the tip or if they do. So carry change with you. 

10- France

In France, you’ll usually see the words ” Service Compris” which signifies a service fee was added to the bill. 

11- Italy

The waiters and restaurants in the tourist meccas- Venice, Florence or Rome have grown so accustomed to foreigners leaving tips, some expect it now.  

12- Denmark

In Denmark, service charges are included in your bill; it’s a law. 

13- Russia

14- Belgium

15- Austria

16- Spain

17- Iceland

18- New Zealand

19- Poland

Do your research

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.

When planning your trips do a little research on the tipping customs of that country for each type of service. Here are a few service-related things to research.

  • restaurants
  • hotel staff
  • taxi’s
  • tour guides
  • Spa and resort staff
  • Hotel cleaning crew
  • Bell hops
  • hairdressers and barbers

Trust me, it’s really embarrassing or 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.

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  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.

  2. Good list! We were surprised to see that in China they don’t accept tips.
    Good to know these things before you go to other countries.

    Thank you.

  3. I was told by my Costa Rican cousin that tipping isn’t necessary at restaurants there. It explained why a waitress seemed genuinely surprised by the “surplus” we gave her when we paid the bill!

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. What great advice here. I, for one, am always clueless about this stuff. Will be back to read this many times over my lifetime, I am sure. Thanks!

  8. 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. :)

  9. 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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