To tip or not to tip? When traveling, this question may pop up quite often when you’re regularly dealing with taxi drivers, bellhops, porters, hotel maids and waiters. However, not tipping is not usually an option, especially when you are representing your company.
Your organization may have its own corporate tipping policy for travel, but if not, things can get tricky when you’re out of your element. Tipping etiquette around the world varies by country, region and sometimes by particular instance. It’s important that you understand international tipping standards so you can claim tips on your business travel expenses and get reimbursed appropriately.
Before traveling internationally, be sure to check tipping guidelines for that specific country or region. Here are some general corporate tipping policies for traveling internationally:
Traditionally, tips are left more frequently, but in smaller amounts. It’s best to tip in U.S. dollars and provide a 10- to 15-percent tip at restaurants, even if gratuity is included in the bill. At a hotel, leaving one or two dollars a day for the housekeeper and one dollar per bag for the porter is customary.
Tipping in Europe is not as common as it is in the U.S. While gratitude is appreciated everywhere, it’s not generally expected in European cultures. Leaving a modest 10-percent in restaurants is best. One or two euros per bag is acceptable for a doorman, airport shuttle or bellhop. For taxis, round to the next euro on the fare or the nearest 10 for a longer ride. In general, if you’re provided a good service, a few euros in gratuity is appreciated.
Tipping etiquette in Asia varies from country to country, so make sure you do your research before traveling. Generally, tips aren’t expected at restaurants and bars, and may even be refused by some, especially in China and Japan. In luxury establishments, a dollar or two for hotel staff and a 5- to 10-percent tip for taxi drivers and waiters is appropriate.
In the U.S. and Canada, tipping 18- to 25-percent on all services is a general rule of thumb for corporate trips. If you take a taxi ride, a two- to five-dollar tip should be added on to the fare. If you receive assistance with luggage or housekeeping, a few dollars are acceptable.
For the rest of the countries in the Americas, a 10- to 15-percent tip for good service is standard for corporate restaurant meetings. A one-dollar tip per day for the porter, doorman and cleaning staff is customary in South American countries. South American taxi drivers do not receive tips, but if the service is exceptional, you can round up the fare.