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The dos and don'ts of tipping in Europe

Published June 23rd, 2014

Any seasoned traveller will tell you the fastest way to annoy the locals is to neglect to tip where you’re supposed to leave some moolah for service. And, the fastest way to lose a lot of could-have-been beer money is to tip when there’s no need. So, how do you win friends and tip people when travelling through the continent? Read on for our dos and don’ts of tipping in Europe for how to make the best use of your Euros.

 

 

DO check the menu and bill at restaurants

When eating out, your menu or bill will often clearly state whether or not service is included. If it is included, you’re in the clear. If you spot servizio non incluso’,service non compris’, or straight-up ‘service not included’, this means you should leave a small tip for service.

 

DON’T feel obliged to leave a lot

In Europe, 10 percent of the total bill is considered a generous tip and sometimes going way beyond this may seem more flashy than generous. Adding 5 percent, a few Euros per person in your party, or simply rounding off the bill will always be appreciated.

 

 

DO tip in change, not credit

You won’t find a line on the credit card receipt to leave a tip. And, even when there is one, it’s typically better to tip your server with cash to ensure they’re the ones who reap the rewards.

 

DON’T expect a pay-off in bars

In bars and clubs in the United States, being a little looser on your purse strings generally means faster service and sometimes a stronger drink. In Europe, where there can be legal restrictions on the size of drinks and tipping for service isn’t always the done thing, you won’t score either of these perks. It’s best to simply round your bill off or leave a little change to tip staff when you see fit.

 

 

DO mind your restroom rules

In many European destinations there is a small set charge to use public restrooms. In these cases, the money will pay for maintenance and there may also be a tip system for restroom attendants. The expectations vary from country to country and restroom to restroom, so look out for signage, or watch what others do.

 

DON’T neglect the extra services

Should you take up a bathroom attendant’s offer of deodorant, perfume or mints, you must tip for the service. Neglecting to do so would be extremely frowned upon, so don’t head to the restroom without a little extra change.

 

 

 

DO research ahead of time

In Hungary, it’s normal to tip almost everyone who provides a service. In Germany, a service charge is always included and leaving a tip on a table can potentially be considered rude, while in Denmark, tipping is nonexistent. So, your best bet is to check the specifics for the place you’re going ahead of time.

 

DON’T be afraid to ask

At the end of the day, the rules of tipping in Europe simply aren’t that hard and fast. It pays to ask someone who’s been there before you depart, or a local when you arrive, or check at the hostel or tourist information office.

 

 

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