Europe’s Worst Tippers Revealed

Posted By Ben Goulding, 26 March, 2010 | permalink

A new study by TripAdvisor has revealed that Spanish tourists are the least generous tippers in Europe.

80% of Spanish travellers who were questioned said that they do not always tip when they visit other countries. They were closely followed by 78% of Italians and 76% of French tourists.

Commenting on the study, Emyr Thomas, director of concierge and lifestyle management company Bon Vivant, said: “Tipping can be socially awkward and can cause endless embarrassment, especially on holiday when we are unfamiliar with local customs.

“In some countries it is considered rude not to tip, so you might need to justify yourself, just as in others, such as Japan, it is often considered rude to tip at all.”

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Comments
Mike from Houston August 23, 2010

I’m a 55-year-old white guy. I’m a big believer in tipping, since I understand that servers in the US depend on tips for most of their income, so my standard at home is a minimum of 20 percent, even for bad service when I see the waiter is “in the weeds” and the service sucks. For great service, it’s no less than 25%, and up to 45% if I’m drunk when the check comes.

European tipping, however, has me baffled. Here’s why:

I’ve only been twice (to Europe) and I’ve been told by Europeans that, since European servers are actually Paid by their employers for their work – unlike in America – that it’s gauche to tip. I’ve dined with Europeans in France, England and Belgium who have told me that it’s an insult to tip.

As a money-grubbing American, I find it impossible to believe that anyone would be offended by cash. I had many uncomfortable meals, awaiting the check. I knew I would be chastised by my dinner companions FOR tipping. At the same time, my Yankee upbringing told me that I should.

Travel guides are no help. They say things like: “It’s not customary, but if you feel you must, 10% is good.” In the US, if you tipped 10%, you’d get followed outside and spit on, and I wouldn’t blame the waiter for doing it.

So, European waiters reading this: Spill!

Are you offended by Americans who tip? Is it demeaning? We really need to know!

Having said that, I’ll tell you my “pre-check” experience in Europe, before they knew If I was going to tip or not:

England: Standard mediocre service. They really acted like they did not expect or want a tip. Was there with Brits, and followed their lead.

France (only in Paris, which was my only experiece) Service was: “Yawn, here’s your stuff.” Even in the five-star hotel, service sucked, and had to ask for a drink three times. Small tips.

Belgium: Great outside of Brussels. Very friendly, especially in Flemish-speaking areas. In Brussels, I felt I was being hustled into mediocre meals and service at high prices – they had salespeople pulling you in from the street in high-tourist areas. In areas like Antwerp and Ghent, people were great and loved to talk to people from other places and suggest local dishes and beers.

In Germany, I was only in Lubeck, and Hamburg, where the service was friendly but language could be an issue Charades with the locals was a hoot, and we all had a good time. Service was good. I tipped a lot.

I tipped American-style in most of Belgium and Germany because I really enjoyed the experiences.

In Paris, 10%, since the acted like you were bothering them.

If there is a standard in Europe, I’d love to know what it is. Thanks. Don’t know if I’ll be back to this site, so you can email me at Seaamigo@aol.com.

Dagur April 15, 2011

Lol i always tip around 50% of what i order. That is to say if im in central europe, i live in northern europe and there the wages are at a level that does not really need tipping. SOmetimes i just like to tip them for fun. Who cares if you got enough money.

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