Tipping is a minefield for many Irish tourists. Failure to understand cultural norms can put us in awkward situations, especially when money is involved
How much do you usually tip at a restaurant or on a night out?
We put two questions to our Instagram followers this week to see what the general consensus on tipping was amongst Irish holidaymakers and travel enthusiasts. Here are the results:
Question 1: How much do you tip?
8% of those polled said they tip nothing, 51% said they tip between 10-15% on average, 5% said they tip 20% while a sizeable 36% of people said it depended on the service they were given.
Question 2: Do you tip more, less or the same when you’re on holiday?
36% said they were inclined to tip more when they were away, 10% said they would tip less than at home while the majority of those polled (54%) said they operated the same tipping policy on holidays as they do in their native country.
As a nation that did not grow up with a tipping culture, the end of a meal in Ireland can be often be fraught with tension as people with opposing views on how much to tip battle for supremacy, through politely gritted teeth.
However, before you write somebody off as ‘cheap’ for not wanting to tip anything or not tipping enough, it’s worth noting that the rules and norms differ massively worldwide.
For example, did you know that in the US, federal law dictates that employers can pay tipped employees just $2.13 an hour if they make an extra $30 a month in tips? That’s why tipping is so necessary there. Conversely, tipping can be seen as offensive and embarrassing in countries like Japan and China.
Thankfully for us, Panache Cruises has taken the hassle out of this contentious issue and given us a guide on how much to tip in various countries around the world:
Tipping is not expected in the UK because everyone is paid a legal national minimum wage. Brits have a reputation for being bad tippers as there is no accustomed tipping rules, so it is utterly dependent on how the customer feels about the service they received. Higher-end restaurants may add on a service charge, which can be removed if not satisfied. No one will be offended if there is no tip but will equally be grateful if they receive one, whether in a hair salon, taxi or restaurant.
Tipping is common and expected for good service in Europe, so holidaymakers should bring change. In some parts of Europe, like France, a service charge will be included in the bill, but tipping with extra euros will still be welcomed. Cover charges will be called a variety of different things so always have a translation app or guidebook to hand to properly comprehend the charges. Expect to pay between 5-15% as a polite gesture to servers and staff, or round up to the nearest 5 or 10 euros.
Tipping is very much embedded in American culture, especially since employers in many states are entitled to pay waiting staff below minimum wage, so customers are expected to make up their wages with generous tips. As a general rule of thumb, 15-20% of the bill is the good tipping start point and 30% for top-notch service. And if you’re ordering food or availing of beauty services, be warned – it’s expected that taxi drivers, hairdressers, beauty therapists, porters and delivery workers should receive a fee for their services in the USA.
Many Asian countries don’t see tipping as usual, typical or expected unless in a popular tourist spot. Tourist guides or taxi drivers may welcome a small tip, but there is no long-standing tradition of tipping culture; it has simply grown with Western tourism. In some parts of Asia, it can even be seen as an insult to tip, so the rules and scenarios vary greatly. Tourists in Japan, and parts of China, may even be chased down by servers to return the money. Tipping is much more common in areas like Thailand, where tipping 10% is fair and welcomed. Before travelling around Asia, do research to avoid a kind gesture being misconstrued.
Although not expected, tipping is appreciated in Australia, but there are no rules. Tourists are not obligated to tip, and Australian establishments don’t tend to add extra charges to the bill for service. If the service exceeds expectations, tipping 10% would be appreciated, although staff would reportedly prefer to be greeted with respect and good humour instead.
The Middle East
In the Middle East, especially in Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, servers are used to receiving a tip of around 15-20%. Even when a service charge has been added, workers expect a bonus, whether in a restaurant or hotel. Remember to give tips discreetly in line with their culture.
Tipping at sea
With more and more people choosing a cruise for their annual holiday, it is becoming increasingly important for holiday makers to understand the tipping etiquette when on-board cruise ships too. On most cruise lines, an automatic gratuity will be added to your onboard account which will cover tips for the staff. The suggested amount will vary by cruise line but typical values are €15-€20 per person per day. However, most luxury and ultra-luxury cruise lines such as Silversea include all tips and gratuities in the fare so do some researching before you book!