As seen in Quest Magazine, a handy tipping guide for everything you ever wanted to know about tipping, but hesitate to ask.
One of the gifts of travel is making connections with the kind and gracious people who go the extra mile to make your trip comfortable, memorable and joyful. One of the most confounding issues — especially on a long trip — is when and what to tip. Like the multitude of customs and cultures you might encounter, etiquette around gratuities certainly varies from country to country. Learning the ins-and-outs of tipping ahead of your journey is indeed an important part of pre-travel prep. Thankfully, Ker & Downey clients receive a personalized tipping sheet, outlining each included service and the suggested tip for that service.
It’s important to note that tipping is a very personal decision. America has some of the highest tipping standards in the world, and our guidelines are only a suggestion for your convenience. Always ask your Ker & Downey designer for their insights and tipping advice, so you know what to expect.
Here’s a handy tipping guide to some of our most popular destinations.
Kenya Tipping Guide
In Kenya, tipping in USD is acceptable. Most lodges do not convert cash, so be sure to bring enough to cover any gratuity. We suggest tipping $10-$15 per day for game drivers, guides, and lodge staff. Most safari properties distribute tips through a pooled tipping box, usually located in the common area. However, personal delivery for exceptional service is also kindly received.
South Africa Tipping Guide
With a mix of sophisticated urban centers, wine country idylls, and some of the world’s most upscale safari lodges, be prepared to match what you’d pay at home for world-class service, usually between 10% and 20%. Tips are preferred in ZAR, the South African Rand.
Morocco and Egypt Tipping Guide
After days spent shopping Morocco’s colorful bazaars or adventuring in the desert, you’ll be spoiled with the most exquisite service, including lavish multi-course meals capped by lavish tea service. In Egypt, you’ll get equally amazing treatment as well as a total immersion into the country’s history and customs by knowledgeable docents, whether you’re sailing the Nile in a traditional Dahabiya boat or touring the great pyramids. In Egypt, giving a $10-$15 gratuity is the appropriate way thank your guides, servers, porters, and butlers. Moroccans prefer Dihrams, converting to 100-200 MAD per day.
Australia and New Zealand
Gratuities are not customary. In a fine dining establishment or luxury lodge, you can tip 10% for exceptional service, but it isn’t expected.
While USD is accepted, it’s a good idea to have some Indian Rupees (INR) on hand for gratuities. Depending on the service, plan on 500-2,000 INR per day.
Tipping is simply not a part of Japanese culture. An effusive thank you will certainly suffice. Here are three ways to say it: Arigatou = Thanks (very casual); Doumo arigatou = Thanks a lot (also casual); Arigatou gozaimasu = Thank you (recommended usage, more polite).
China and Hong Kong
Tipping is expected and customary in China and should be done in Chinese yuan (CNY, ¥). Service charges are generally added on to high-quality restaurant bills so be sure to check your bill. In global hub Hong Kong, tipping is not customary and may, in fact, be refused.
As a rule, tipping is not expected whether you’re in Seoul, Jeju Province, or bustling Busan. Showing appreciation for exceptional service is often well-received, $5-10 USD per day.
United Kingdom and Ireland
If a service charge appears on your bill in a restaurant or hotel, you needn’t tip. If it doesn’t, 10% to 15% is appropriate for good service. The range is the same (10% to 15% of the fare) for drivers of black taxis and licensed mini cabs. Locals simply round up the nearest £1, telling the driver to keep the change. This is acceptable for you, too.
Croatia, France, Germany, Greece
Provide a 5% to 10% gratuity for good service, as is customary.
Things get a bit confusing in the land of flamenco and mighty fortresses. Spain boasts being one of Europe’s oldest and most diverse cultures, but cultural norms around tipping boil down to one rule—always tip, between 7% and 10%, even when there is a service charge. (Yes, in addition to the service charge.) Gratuities are preferred in Euros.
Iceland, Finland, and Scandinavia
A fee for service is usually included in these lands of the great Viking sagas. Tip 10% if there is no service charge.
Tipping Guide for a Safari or Trekking Expedition
Going into the wild in style is indeed one of travel’s most gratifying experiences. Often, you’ll bond with guides and staff, making the journey richer with these treasured human connections. When preparing for your bucket list adventure, expect to spend 10% of your overall costs in tips. Here’s a rough tipping guide in US dollars:
Guide: $15–$20 per day
Cooks: $10 per day
Porters, butlers: $3-$8 per day
Trackers, drivers: $3-$10 per day