The etiquette applied to tipping

A faux pas when it comes to the rules of etiquette when it comes to eating and drinking whilst travelling is very easy when you consider the different rules that apply to different cultures. While many of us rush gung-ho into trying to learn these cultures, it is very important to do your research before travelling as even within the same country the rules can be very different.

There can be strict rules regarding where you place your napkin, or there could even be an order in which you eat according to age or gender, and even ways in which certain foods should be eaten. The area that seems to cause the worst anguish the world over is tipping, should you or shouldn’t you? Too much or too little? This should be looked at one country at a time, and for the purpose of this article that country is the US.

Across the United States, tipping is usually recommended for those situations where you are eating in a restaurant where the food is brought to you by waiters and not in a fast food joint. The amount you tip is usually a percentage of the total cost of the bill before tax is added, usually between 15-20%. Always check your bill however as some establishments add a gratuity themselves, and in this case it is very much personal choice whether you leave any extra.

Tipping is also customary in non food related circumstances where you are provided with some other kind of service. Room service, car parking valet even bellhops will all expect some kind of recompense and many rely on it to boost their meagre wages. The standard acceptable amount for this is anywhere between $1 and $5, the better the service the better the tip.