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How to tip in popular expat destinations

By June 22, 2017October 3rd, 2023FinGlobal

How to tip in popular expat destinations

June 22, 2017


Moving to another country is filled with many cultural differences you have to navigate and the right etiquette for tipping waiters is one you’ll encounter when you start eating out on a regular basis. To help simplify things for you, we have put together this quick tipping guide:

Etiquette for tipping waiters in different countries


Waiters in Australia are paid a living wage and don’t need additional income from their customers to fund their lifestyle. As a result, they don’t expect tips from their restaurant’s patrons – but if you regularly attend a restaurant and make a policy of tipping, you’re sure to receive excellent service.


If you’ve finished a meal in France, check your bill for the words ‘service compris’ which means the service is included and you don’t have to tip. However it is common practice in France to leave a little bit of change or round up your bill to leave your water with a ‘pourboire’ which is the French word for ‘tip’ which literally translates into ‘have a drink’. As French waiters only receive the minimum wage, your small tips enable them to ‘have a drink’ after work.


The Japanese pride themselves on good service and don’t expect to be tipped for it. So if you’re at a restaurant or bar, you should feel no obligation to tip for good service.


Tips in Italy are seen as a sign of generosity – and who wants to be seen as a miser! Before you tip, ensure the service hasn’t been included – it will be listed as ‘coperto’, cover charge. If it’s not included you can leave a few Euros as a tip – but not more than 10 percent of the total is expected.


In Spain service is included as part of the bill, but if you are at an esteemed establishment and have received excellent service, a tip of 10 percent of the bill is welcomed. However in bars or more casual restaurants, a tip is not required.

The UK

If you are eating in England, Scotland or Wales check your bill to see if service has been included. If it hasn’t been added, add a minimum of 10 percent or a maximum of 15 percent to the bill. You are not expected to tip in bars, even if you’re having a meal there (unless it’s a gastro-pub, where the rules pertaining to a restaurant apply).


In Portugal the amount you tip is related to where you are eating. If you are eating at a coffee shop, tip in the region of five percent. At restaurants a 10 percent tip is regarded as common. If you are in a tourist area, check to see the bill doesn’t already have service included.


In the USA tips are generous and you are expected to tip as much as 15-20 percent of your bill.


Tips are not expected in China and have never been part of the restaurant or bar culture. However it is starting to appear in some of the more trendy restaurants – so if you’re dining at one of these establishments it might be prudent to add a 10 percent tip.

If you’re thinking of immigrating abroad and need any advice about your financial migration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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