Usually the service is included in all restaurants. Tips are seen as a courtesy gesture when the service has been good and you want to acknowledge it. Nevertheless if the restaurant bill does not include service, then a tip between 10% and 15% is recommended.
In Britain, the bill will indicate if service is included (usually around 12%), if this is the case then no tip is needed. Please note that when drinking at the bar in a pub, no tip is expected in any case.
In Spain and France service is always included, like most of Europe, and then a tip would be just a small token of appreciation for good service.
In The Netherlands, specially in Amsterdam, most bills include 15% service but it would be expected that you round up the bill and leave a bit more.
In hotels you should tip around 1 or 2 Euros per suitcase, depending on the quality of the hotel. Taxis will expect a small tip around 1 or 2 Euros and more for a longer trip.
JAPAN & CHINA
In Japan tips are considered an offense, but in Chinese restaurants it is advised to leave around 3% tips. In Hong Kong the service is usually included and it is between 10% and 15% if it is not included in your bill you should leave it then.
Taxis in China do not expect a tip, except in Hong Kong where 1 or 2 dollars are customary.
In luxury hotels both in Japan and China you would tip 3 to 5 dollars per suitcase.
A 10% service tip is customary in restaurants and hotels and even hairdressers. In places such as Colombia and Venezuela, international hotel chains will include service in your bill. If this is the case then you do not need to include anything else.
SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA and THAILAND
It is bad manners tipping in these countries however with more and more tourists from the West more and more people are glad to receive tips.
I usually double the tax when tipping in a restaurant, which equates to more or less 15 to 20%, depending the Estate I am in.
Taxis I recommend 10%, and Hotels 1 or 2 dollars per bag.
I hope that now you are equipped with enough knowledge to go around the world and &lsquodo the right thing&rsquo. Please send me your comments and experiences around the world to add information to this blog.
JB @ PARADISE