Travellers baffled by tipping etiquette

From tipping a taxi driver in Italy to ordering rounds in Australia, many B.C. residents admit they are baffled and sometimes mistaken when it comes to tipping etiquette.

From tipping a taxi driver in Italy to ordering rounds in Australia, many B.C. residents admit they are baffled and sometimes mistaken when it comes to tipping etiquette.

The TD First Class Travel International Etiquette Poll found many British Columbians confessing they are unsure or confused when it comes to understanding gratuities, tipping and service fees outside of Canada. Perplexed about tipping standards, 38 per cent of B.C. residents admit they err on the side of caution and tip service providers overseas what they would at home, which is 10 to 15 per cent.

“Leaving a gratuity in an unfamiliar currency can be confusing and frustrating, because every country has a different standard. For example, it’s customary to tip wait staff 15 to 20 per cent  in the U.S., but in Europe service charges are often included in the bill and in Australia you’re not expected to tip at all,” said Stacie Pearson, associate vice-president of TD credit cards. “Before you travel overseas, you should always check to see what is customary. Under tipping can be embarrassing, but over tipping can really impact your budget.”

When asked to identify cultural faux pas in foreign countries, many B.C. residents were mistaken.  For example, 39 per cent thought it was ok to split restaurant bills in Paris. But the majority knew it’s illegal to chew gum in Singapore (85 per cent) and offensive to smile in some historical sites in Vietnam (86 per cent).