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Tipping tips abroad

Monday, 10 February 2014
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Tipping Manners Abroad: How to Align with the Host Culture

Tipping manners need not be an intimidating aspect of travel to a foreign country. Familiarise yourself with the countryÔÇÖs tipping etiquette in advance or have trusted locals guide you through the culture.

mapAs a traveller on a business or leisure tour, it becomes necessary to be aware of certain social or cultural practices of the country you are visiting. Tipping etiquette is one such crucial aspect you need to focus on. Ignorance about the tipping culture of the visiting country could land you in trouble; you might end up committing a faux pas and offending the local people. A little preparation can go a long way in preserving your self-dignity in the host country.

Do your Homework on Tipping Etiquette

It helps to be armed with information on tipping etiquette in your visiting country. There are several resources online to help you with the research. You could also give your local library a visit and delve through travel books for information. Friends and relatives who have been to the proposed destination can also be valuable resources of information.

Ensure however that your resources are recent publications. Old publications may not reflect the current tipping trends of your visiting country.

Seek Information from Locals

You could get firsthand information on tipping habits expected of foreigners once you reach the visiting country. Ask the representative of the accommodation you are put up at, about tipping practices. Befriend a trusted local, if possible, perhaps at your place of stay, to get to know the tipping culture of the people.

Get to know who needs to be given a tip. Waiters, drivers, house-keeping staff and tour guides, are generally given a tip in countries where the practice is allowed.

Use Local Currency

You may want to, or have to, tip, depending on the tipping etiquette of the visiting country as soon as you reach the destination. For example, a tip for a porter or cab service you used may be expected. It is therefore advisable to have some cash in hand to meet such needs.

Having local currency is important especially if the visiting country doesnÔÇÖt accept widely-acknowledged currencies such as the US Dollar. Airports usually have money exchange facilities. Foreign currency exchange companies outside the airport are also an option if the airport exchange rates donÔÇÖt satisfy you.

Know beforehand if the visiting country accepts different currencies as tips or if only the local currency is valid.

Follow the Example

If you find yourself stuck at some point on tipping etiquette during your stay at the destination, follow the lead of other tourists within your view. A fellow tourist who is knowledgeable of the area, too, could help you prevent tipping faux pas.

Any interesting anecdotes about tipping on your travel? We are eager to hear both your anecdotes and your tips.


Last modified on Monday, 16 February 2015 11:50