For most North Americans, tipping is an automatic reaction while paying for many services. Even when traveling in countries where tipping is not customary, it’s hard not to. It’s so ingrained in culture that it feels expected (even when service is less than adequate).
So what about for the reverse? When people from countries that don’t tip as much as a standard practice visit countries that do? Do they make themselves aware? According to The Telegraph, Britons are the worst among Europeans at educating themselves on foreign tipping practices.
The travel site, TripAdvisor, surveyed 6,000 people from five European countries — Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the UK — and found that 60% of Britons, compared to the European average of 45%, are clueless when it comes to tipping in foreign lands. The article is pretty vague though about the specifics of the survey, whether they asked about tipping in specific countries or just tipping in general.
Tipping practices vary from country to country, so to be knowledgeable offhand about any particular country would be a pretty high expectation. Nonetheless, the survey also found that 22% of British citizens are turned off to vacation in the US because of the importance they place on tipping. 16% of Britons admitted to being confronted about tipping while abroad, compared to the European average of 11%.
It surely isn’t a difficult thing to find about a country, with tipping customs written about in pretty much any guidebook and also readily available on the Internet. As always we suggest doing your research before traveling abroad to make sure you don’t offend anyone.