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So the Spanish are the worst tippers, according to a new survey. I would have put good money on the Brits claiming the title.

Apparently about 80 per cent of Spaniards don’t bother with gratuities when they’re on holiday. I’m surprised by this, yet I don’t know why. The survey also revealed only one in four Brits research tipping custom before they visit another country. I must confess I’m quite haphazard in my tipping research, sometimes I check, sometimes I guess.

Personally, I go with a (probably conservative) 10-15 per cent for good service wherever I am in the world, apart from in the US, where 20 per cent is deemed to be more acceptable (my only exception to this would be for truly terrible service – waiting too long, a downright rude waitress, or a waiter sneezing in my food, for example).

What are your thoughts? Tell us where you are, what you tip and why.

Community comments (13)

I can guarantee that New Zealanders are worse tippers than Spaniards. There is no tipping at all in NZ, they regard it as insulting. So when they come to Europe they don't tip here either and are therefore sometimes seen as mean. They are aware that in the US they do have to tip but complain about it a lot and see it as a sign that the US is a less developed civilisation than NZ. Personally I am in total agreement with them.

I always tip in cash as I am suspicious of adding a tip to a credit or debit card payment in case the staff don't see it and it goes to the owners instead.

I handed a good tip to a waiter at a cafe in Buenos Aries only for him to offer to take me back to the sports shop I had just bought a Boca Juniors football shirt for my son from and allow him to buy me a River Plate shirt instead. I laughed it off and insisted he kept the tip but I'm pretty sure he was serious!


Three cheers for Spain if that means everyone is on an equal footing and waiters et al are paid a fair wage. Then you can say a special thank you if you really want to, instead of feeling obliged to tip. It's bit like that in France too where menus are "service compris".

I hear you have to tip waiters in America 20% because they aren't paid properly by their employers...reprehensible or what? I would really prefer to pay a higher initial price for my meal and know the waiter is fairly paid.

By the way anyone like the term used in RSA "waitrons"?

I've never heard the word waitron before Joan and I can't say I'm keen - it sounds like some sort of robot server!

Well, tipping is quite common in India too, usually in mid to high range restaurants. The amount is generally between 10-15%, if you do tip you can be assured of a smile and even a salute.
I normally tip before ordering the meals, this assures of a good and personalised service from the waiter !

Tip before ordering, interesting tactic Arif. India is already on my travel to-do list but now I know I could get a salute, it's just gone up a few places!

Anyone else tip BEFORE their meal?!

In defence of the Spanish, I should point out that they don't tip at home either.

What I mean is, it's not really expected. The attitude here is more that people are paid a wage to provide a service and that's that.

They'll leave a euro or two in restaurants, nothing in bars or to cabbies, and the odd coin for hairdressers and hotel porters. But 10-15% would be seen as recklessly generous by both sides...

There's a great tip in itself.. that's my budget for the next trip to Spain slashed!

How interesting. Hands up then, who's tipped too generously in Spain? *ashamedly puts hand up*

Of course we’re only talking about restaurants here. Anyone tip others when travelling, such as taxi drivers or tour leaders? BA cabin crew?!

I'd like to think I tip generously - minimum 10% as a matter of course (no pun intended) in the UK, maybe more elsewhere.

If the waiter has spent the evening at my shoulder topping up my wine, I often find myself leaving a much larger tip than if not, however I usually base the tip I leave not just on the service, but on how good a time I've had. I must admit that this is often affected by the company I'm sharing the meal with, as well as how good the restaurant is. Bad company? Measly tip. Good company? The reverse applies.

Seeing staff making a real effort to please, even if the results aren't always up to scratch, inclines me to be more generous. People make mistakes, but it's often how people recover from mistakes that sets the tip level.

I also like to know that the tips are actually received by the staff - if I suspect that tips just go into the pocket of the restaurant owner, I won't leave one. I realise how many staff rely on tips to suplement their frequently low wages, so will reward where appropriate.

Last tip I gave a waiter was "get some sleep" - he looked like he'd been on an all night bender the previous evening.

Other than that... 10-15% for good to excellent, 0% for anything less than average (unless they only work for tips, then average deserves something at least)

And always in cash ;-)

Good point about the cash Rick. If a service charge is already included in the bill I always discreetly ask the waiter/waitress who gets the money (especially when paying by card). It has to come off the bill if you request it and you can simply slip the cash in the worthy server's hand.