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Five things that can go wrong

A friendly taxi driver or an attentive waiter: in many countries good service is rewarded with a tip. However, some countries have different rules and customs. Here are six things to keep in mind when tipping on vacation.

1. Percentages: In much of Europe, 5-10% of the bill is considered an appropriate tip. In the US or Canada you’ll have to dig a little deeper into your pockets, where 15-20% is expected as staff rely more on tips. Please note: sometimes service costs are already included in the invoice.

2. Cash vs Card: If you want to ensure that the money goes directly to the waiter or other service industry worker, it is usually best to tip in cash. However, in major restaurants in Europe and North America you can also tip with a credit or debit card.

You’ll either need to enter the price you want to pay, or you’ll be presented with a screen where you can tap a certain percentage during checkout. When paying with your card abroad, you must always display the amount in the local currency to avoid additional conversion costs.

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3. Round up: In some countries it is sufficient to round up the amount of the bill. In Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Croatia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland, you round up a drink from €4.50 to €5.

An extra tip is often not necessary. In Ireland, Great Britain, France, Greece and Spain it is customary to leave the tip on the table when you leave the restaurant. In other countries you round up when you pay, otherwise the waiter may think you don’t tip.

4. When are you not allowed to tip: Many Asian countries have a different tipping culture. It is not customary to tip and it can be seen as a faux pas. In Japan, where good service is taken for granted, tipping can be seen as an insult. At bars, restaurants and hotels, service costs are often already included in the prices.

5. Tipping the bartender: In pubs in Great Britain and Ireland, the bartender is generally not expected to be tipped. However, if you are happy with the service, you can say “and buy one yourself” to buy them a drink. This is considered a nice gesture and is part of British and Irish pub culture. If that feels too complicated, leaving a few coins on the counter is also an option.

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Italian caffè sospeso: A so-called caffè sospeso or ‘awaiting coffee’ is a special tipping tradition that originated in Naples, Italy. When you go to a café, you order and pay for an extra coffee, which the barista later gives to a poor person who asks if a caffè sospeso is available.

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