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Tip index: How Brits Really Feel About Tipping

With more countries making it onto the green and amber travel lists, many Brits may be considering a holiday overseas again. Whether you love a relaxing beach break or prefer to explore the sights of a capital city, one question pops up time and again when you’re ordering a meal, or are checking out of your hotel: how much should you tip?

If this is something you find you ask yourself, then you’re not alone. We recently ran a survey to discover how many Brits do and don’t tip abroad and, in the UK, how much they tip; and if they don’t, why they choose not to.

Almost one in five Brits don’t tip.

19% of Brits don’t tip – either in the UK or abroad - whereas 11% of us are more likely to tip overseas than in the UK.

However, when in the UK, nearly 80% of Brits who do tip, would do so in a restaurant or bar, if they had experienced really good service, and they’d enjoyed the meal. People are least likely to leave a tip in a hotel, even if they had a great stay.

Similarly, when holidaying abroad, Brits are most likely to tip at a restaurant or bar as a thank you to the waiter, followed by at the end of a journey – whether it’s by taxi or bus.

Whilst some countries are notorious for their high and expected tips (like the U.S.), this is actually putting some Brits off travelling to certain destinations. For example, nearly 15% of Brits said they would avoid going to the U.S. or Brazil, and 7% would steer clear of Canada.


How to work out how much to tip abroad

Whilst some Brits choose not to tip abroad because it’s an additional cost they haven’t budgeted for; for many, it’s because they don’t know what an acceptable amount is to give, or because they’re unsure if they should pay for it by cash or card.

With one of the most common times where you’re left wondering how much you should tip, being in a restaurant; we’ve provided three top tips to help you work out how much you should be giving waiters if you’re happy with the service.

1. Confirm that tipping is acceptable

Before you go away on holiday, have a quick Google to see if it’s acceptable to tip in your chosen destination. Whilst most countries do welcome it, some find it offensive – so make sure you keep your spare change safely in your wallet.

For some countries, tipping isn’t expected, but it’s seen as good practice to round up the bill, whereas other countries prefer a percentage, so it’s worth seeing, first of all, if it’s socially acceptable to tip in your country of choice.

2. Check your cheque

Once you’ve asked for the bill, take a look to see if a service charge has been added. Whilst this is pretty common in the UK, not every country adds this. If they do, then you don’t need to worry about adding an additional tip, if you don’t wish to.

3. Speak with your holiday rep, or other travellers

If service charges aren’t added to your bills, and you still want to leave a tip but don’t know how much to gift, another option is to speak with your holiday representative, or other travellers. Holiday reps spend a lot of their time within the destination, so they should have knowledge on whether it’s common curtesy to tip and if so, by how much. Also speak with other travellers who are there on holiday to see if they tip when they’re out and about, and politely ask them about how much they leave.

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Survey of 1,000 UK adults undertaken in July 2021 by TLF.