Tipping Tips from Europeans
Don't overpay (or underpay!) when tipping in Italy or elsewhere in Europe. Learn how to tip in the UK and Europe with these tipping tips from our European friends.
Source: Hermann Weidinger, Hotel Schluxen, Reutte
In a restaurant the tip like you have in the States is included, but it's common to give a little tip if you think the service, the meals are okay. If I go to a restaurant and the whole bill is €35, and the service was friendly I give €38 or €39. If I just drink a coffee for €1,90 I'll give €2 and not €2,10. The waiters are more friendly the next time when you come to that restaurant.
In a hotel you should give for between €1 and €2 per room/night, which is normal; but give it the first day and you have a good service for the whole time you stay there.
Taxis, round up or more for driver if you drive many or longer times with them.
For haircut I give €2, but you know I don't have too much hairs, so it's not a hard job to cut my hairs.
Source: Jodi Nicholls, Dorset
Generally I think the rule is this — if you hire someone for their personal service, then they are charging a price that they feel is fair and no tip is required. If you are hiring a company and their staff are serving you, then 10% is adequate, 15% very generous. So, taxi drivers, coach drivers, restaurants (but not pubs!), hairdressers, hotels and larger guesthouses — tip. Small bed and breakfasts, pubs — no tip necessary, and no tipping at WCs (very few in Britain are pay toilets anyway).
How to give the tip varies. Discreet is a good rule — Brits, especially the English, don't like "big deals" made of anything, really. If you can leave it on a bed or a table, great. Otherwise, put the tip in with the payment and say something like, "Keep the rest, please." Or, for example, a cab fare is £10 and all you have is a twenty, then you could say something like, "Could you give me change for £12 please." (Wow, I'm a big tipper — that's 20%!)
I'm really glad that Rick includes this kind of information. Living over here now, I realize that Americans, or anyone, doing things according to their own custom without bothering to ask what's appropriate, are really quite offensive, or they think we are "mugs" (easily taken advantage of).
Source: Filip Antos, Athos Travel, Prague
Generally you tip more in bigger or tourist cities because waiters are already more spoiled and higher tip is expected. On the other hand with the same tipping you could make a waiter in a smaller place really happy :-), so...In Prague we tip about 10% on dinner. In better restaurants you leave the tip on the table (mostly on the little dish with cotton serviette over it) or paying with a credit card you just add it on the bill while signing it. In smaller and less fancy places its common to hand the tip directly to the waiter. Otherwise, it could even happen that somebody else would take it from the table and buy him self another beer for it.
Here are also several "tips" how the waiters are still cheating (it is improving):
1) They just simply add extra amounts on the bill or count it "wrong" way.
2) They charge service fee, which should be not charged if not noticed on the menu. You can imagine how much they are able to make a day charging each customer approx. $3 extra.
3) They pretend that the tax fee has to be added on top of the price, which especially Americans doesn't surprise. But the price written on the menu is already including that.
For taxis, mostly rounding up 5 to 10%.
For WCs, the best ones are McDonalds, KFC, etc. because they are easy (unfortunately) to find, clean and for free. You can also use public but not free ones (as for example on Prague Castle, metro stations and few more places). For pissoir you regularly have to pay about 3 CZK; women or more heavy use is for about 5 CZK which are normally requested ahead (which could bring a stressful moments) and for which you could get few pieces of toilet paper, too. (It is still like on Far East sometimes.) The problem is that these public toilets are with increasing number of drug-addicted people doing their applications.
Source: Sabine Leteinturier, tour guide, Montpellier
As a rule, service will be included in your restaurant bill (service compris). If you're unsatisfied with the service, don't leave anything extra. If it's been OK, leave 10%, if delighted 15%. (If service is not included — service non compris — a 15% tip is always appropriate.) If you're in a busy restaurant, hand the tip the to waiter and say, "c'est bon." If it's just coffee, don't pick up the change.
At a hair place, I'd leave about €2 for hair, €1 for shampoo, and hand it directly to the person.
For a taxi, round up to nearest euro (if €17.5 go to €18). If the driver has been particularly helpful, tip more.
If you're staying at a little family-run auberge, you might leave 6 euros at the end of the stay.
Source: Suzanne Vorbrugg, Suzanne's B&B, Füssen
In restaurants, don't let the waitress give you back cents, unless you think the service was poor. The bigger the bill, the better the tip. Roughly €1 per €20 of bill, always given directly to the waiter as you pay.
For taxis, round up to next euro, possibly more if the ride was a longer one.
For haircuts, add one or two euros depending on what was done!
Source: Una Nobbe, Hotel Toren, Amsterdam
The biggest difference between American and Dutch tippers is that in the States tipping is very customary, it's almost rude not to tip. Here in Holland we only tip if we are very content, it is something extra or special. Of course we are very glad with our American tourists because they are great tippers. We Dutch people are sometimes accused to be a bit ..., but I guess it is just a cultural difference. Well here are our tips on tipping:
At restaurants and bars tips (10%) are to be left on the table.
Tours: €2 to 5
Hotels: To luggage boys, servants, bellboys and housekeeping the tips are given right in someone's hand, €2 to 7.
Haircuts: No tip
Source: Aine Hickey
Restaurants: First check that there is no service charge included (if it is included it will generally be 12%). If there is no service charge included then we would generally tip between 10% and 15%. I personally include the amount in the money for the bill and hand it all together to the waiter / waitress.
Taxis: It is not compulsory to tip the taxi driver. €1 or €2 would suffice depending on the length of the journey. Generally I would just round up.
Hotels: Again check if there is a service charge included. If not we might leave something for the housekeepers. Generally a couple of euro (loose change), again depending on length of stay, generally would leave in the room.
Haircuts: We would normally give the person who washed your hair €2 or €3. Hand this to the girl directly as the cashier will not give her the money!
WC: No tipping, unless you are in an establishment where there is a lady / gentleman in the bathrooms providing toiletries (perfume, anti perspirant etc). If we use the items they provide then we would give a small tip.
Source: Matteo Pasini, Hotel Villa Steno, Monterosso
In Italy you tip if you really like the place, the food and the service; if the waiter was very friendly for example. In US a waiter has a small salary, but just because he will have a lot of tips: tipping is necessary; in Italy no, the salary is good and the tip is something exceptional, so a guest can tip or not and normally only the 10/20 percent of guests tip. Giving a tip to the waiter or leaving it on the table it is up to you. Leaving it on the table is the standard. If you pay your bill by credit card remember to tip by cash, this will be very appreciated. A ten per cent tip in a restaurant is what you can consider a good tip.
To tip taxi drivers is very exceptional, in case they helped you a lot give €1 or €2.
Tip in a hotel if someone is very helpful or friendly. If they are carrying luggage for you or helping you in resolving problems.
At the hair cut we never tip and we tip very few in a bar, but if the service was very good you can leave at the barber or at the bar waiter something. Normally at the hair cut for ladies it is nice to give a small tip to the young lady who washed your hair.
Source: Andrew Hutter, tour guide, Oslo
In Norway, tipping should be viewed as a voluntary gesture rather than expected economic compensation for services. That said, many Norwegians leave the small change (up to nearest 5 or 10 kroner) when being served drinks. For larger bills in a restaurant, rounding up and plussing a bit is often done. Around 10 percent would be a nice gesture. It really depends on your mood and the bill. For instance, if I go out for a meal and have good service and the bill comes to 137 kroner, I would probably round up to 150 (but then again I might not tip at all or I might leave more — I'm not consistent). You can leave the tip on the table, give it to the waiter when he collects the bill, or put it on the credit card bill.
For taxis, it is nice to round up and maybe add 5 or 10 kroner, but it depends on the service for me.
Norwegians generally do not tip hotel maids, but it is a nice gesture if someone feels like doing it. Most Norwegians carry their own bags, so porters are only found at the top hotels or are hired in for American and Japanese groups that require bags delivered to the rooms. At most hotels employees would consider it to be natural to assist someone who is unable to carry bags without extra compensation (however if guests are able to carry their own bags they should carry them).
Haircuts, some add 10 or 20 kroner some don't tip at all. No sour looks if you don't tip.
Source: Fátima Figueira, Hotel Lisboa Plaza, Lisbon
In Portugal, usually tipping is not considered a pleasant thing to do in public with other people watching. But it is always quite welcoming money when this is done in private. For instance in the restaurant it is more appreciated if you leave it on the table. When dinner is well served, tip 1 to 2 euros.
Taxis: They already add a fee when they charge the taxi fare (in case he is very nice, tip 1 euro).
Hotels: Your sympathy (for instance if something goes wrong and the receptionist helps, tip 1 to 5 euros).
Haircuts: Not necessary
Source: José Antonio Garabán, Hotel Europa, Madrid
First at all, tipping is never obligatory. It is always up to the customer to tip or not tip and always if you like the service. There is no percentage of the total, except in restaurants that you give around 5–8%. In the other cases you give change (coins). In the restaurants you leave the tip on the table (in the plate that the bill came). In other cases directly to the person.
Taxis and haircuts: Coins (less than €1)
Hotels: Whatever you wish to give to the bellboy or porter (if they take your luggage), maid (if room is clean), and receptionist (good service).
Source: Jenny Burman, Stockholm Visitors Board, Stockholm
Restaurants: No tip is needed because a service charge is already included in the bill. But in fancier restaurants or for exceptional service, it is typical to round up about 5–10 percent.
Taxis: It is a nice gesture to give the driver about 15–20 crowns (definitely round up)
Source: Fritz Hutmacher, Hotel Lötschberg, Interlaken
In the service industry in Switzerland you don't need to tip. Swiss wages (min. 3000 Swiss francs for a dishwasher not speaking local language) are monthly paid. On top the worker gets 4 weeks fully paid holidays, 8 days paid holy days (Christmas, etc.) and on top of that a 13-month salary at the end of the year.
Since 1972, 15% is added for service, so prices are including service and taxes. An extra tip is not expected but certainly appreciated. I myself give a little tip when service was good (2–5 SF in a good restaurant on a bill of 120 SF). You can give no tip for a regular service, and a small amount for good service to show that you appreciate the special effort. Same with taxis. No tips for haircuts (I already pay too much — 40 SF for 20 minutes) and WCs (taxpayers' money).
In hotels, the staff like a little when you have a spotless room. I do not expect tip for myself. I calculate what I need for my trips and tours and that's it.
Just back from Paris and Italy I realised that Switzerland is not the most expensive country in Europe. With the Euro we have seen a large hidden raise of prices outside of Switzerland and in "Euroland" tourist traps are more frequent than here in the cow-and-chocolate country.
For lots more tips, check out our best-selling Europe Through the Back Door travel skills guidebook.