Are you not sure about how much to give and who you should reward? Strictly speaking, a tip can be defined as a personal reward offered to somebody who goes the extra mile to meet or exceed the customer’s expectations. Here are a few tipping tactics that you can use when venturing into unknown territory:
Do some research: This is the most useful tipping tactic you need. Location-specific tipping knowledge is crucial if you want to prevent offensive or awkward encounters with service people during your travel. Nowadays, you can find a number of online websites offering country-by-country tipping information. You can also purchase a guidebook for more comprehensive information on tipping practices in your chosen destination. This way you can make sure you are not caught off guard when a street performer in Kuala Lumpur’s Berjaya Times Square wants a few ringgits for letting you take his photograph, and you will know there is no need to tip the waiter at that posh restaurant in Cairo.
Talk to people: Surely, there are guides out there, but nothing can beat the knowledge acquired from a local or somebody who has visited the place in recent times. Ask your friends who have been there or more preferably, if you know somebody belonging to the area you plan to visit, ask them about local tipping trends. You can also talk to the hotel staff in case you are still not sure.
Know about service charges: It is a popular belief that “service charges” on restaurant bills mean that the tip is already included. This may be true for most countries but not all. In places like Honk Kong, Greece, Italy and Guatemala, you are expected to pay tips in addition to service charges. This is due to the fact that service charges do not generally go to waiters- and your tips account for a significant portion of their salaries.
Never ask: A common blunder that many travelers make is asking service people if they need a tip. This can not only be embarrassing for a cash-strapped server who does not usually accept tips, but also in places where it is not common to say what you actually mean, an uninformed tourist may end up upsetting a polite bellhop or waiter. In order to avoid such occurrences, you should equip yourself with all the information before you go so you won’t need to ask.
Tipping is a form of art that once mastered can make your travels more fun and less stressful. The above tactics can help you deal with the complicated practice of tipping scenarios in foreign countries with often different and confusing codes of behavior and customs.