Leaving a 20% tip used to be reserved for the ones who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Now it seems everybody expects a large tip – from the carry-out worker (Seriously?! I came to you!) to the person who waxes your eyebrows (this one is worth it).
But when it comes to tipping in Europe, Europeans follow a whole different set of standards – here’s everything you need to know before your next trip.
Vacation is not cheap. Especially one across the pond.
The good news is if you do make it over to Europe, tipping is often less expected and when it is expected, the rate is much lower than it is stateside!
Here in the U.S., servers don’t make minimum wage, so they depend on tips to survive. In Europe, however, waitstaff are typically paid better hourly wages – so leaving a modest tip after a good meal is a nice gesture, but not life or death.
And actually, if you tip too much (generally above 10%), you’ll be viewed as ignorant of the culture and your server may even take it as an insult.
But not knowing how much to tip can cause a lot of anxiety for tourists and as Rick Steves – actor, TV host, and European travel expert – told Travel+Leisure, “People overthink tipping in Europe.”
In Italy, tipping is also typically less than the 20% we’re accustomed to.
Simone Amorico, co-owner and CEO of Access Italy, tells Travel+Leisure, “At restaurants in Italy, an average of 10% to 15% is appreciated. When it comes to drivers and tour guides, it all depends on the experience. Average is 10%, but many leave more, especially post-pandemic.”
When you check into your hotel in Italy, it is customary to tip the concierge or guest relations clerk, as well as housekeeping – however, the amount depends on the service offered.
Carrying your bags to your room would deserve a couple euros, but making multiple trips to the room with excited children riding the luggage cart would deserve a bit more.
In Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world, it’s likely you’ll take a tour of the Eiffel Tower and beyond.
You don’t have to leave a tip for this!
Richard Nahem, owner of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, says, “The tip is usually included in the bill, and it’s sometimes called the service charge. It’s perfectly acceptable not to leave a tip, but it’s customary to leave 3% to 5% as a courtesy,” Travel+Leisure shares.
And when you head to dinner after a long day of walking around the Louvre, think twice before you whip out that plastic.
Unlike in the US where you can add the tip on your credit card, Paris is not equipped to do that.
If you have a little bit of cash on you, we recommend handing a 10-15% tip directly to the waiter – do not leave it on the table.
Concierges and taxi drivers in Paris also expect a small tip from you, but just a euro or two will do.
In Europe as a whole, grabbing a drink at the bar or getting food to-go will not require a tip, but leaving a few coins – like the leftover change from your bill – is appreciated.
That doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a little something extra tossed their way for a job well done, but it won’t have to be budgeted into your travel expenses.
The one thing that is appreciated in Europe more than tipping is being treated with kindness and respect, so don’t forgo your manners in lieu of a few extra euros.
So now you know a second mortgage isn’t necessary to cover tipping expenses for your next European vacation.
But knowing the traditions and customs will help you go from one excursion to the next without adding just another stressor in a foreign land.