How much do YOU tip when you're on holiday?

Ruth Doherty

Us Brits know far less about tipping abroad than our foreign counterparts, says new research.

After quizzing 6,000 people from five different countries - including the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany - a Tripadvisor survey found our knowledge of foreign tipping is sadly lacking.

In fact, 60 per cent of Britons have no idea about what they are expected to tip in foreign countries, compared with a European average of 45 per cent.

Sixteen per cent of Britons admitted they had been confronted abroad after failing to leave a tip, compared with 11 per of Europeans, while almost a quarter said the importance placed on tipping in the US would put them off going on holiday there.

Emma O'Boyle, from Tripadvisor, says it appears that we just don't get the etiquette of tipping abroad compared to at home: 'At home, the rules are very clear - if you go to a restaurant and have a good experience, then you pay a 10 to 15 per cent tip. Once abroad, however, Brits tend to bury their heads in the sand, and just apply the same rules.

'Eight per cent of Brits we surveyed said they had had a holiday spoiled by an awkward tipping situation... it really stresses the need to make sure you do your homework, and avoid embarrassing yourself or the people serving you.'

Emma says that countries whose tipping customs Britons were most confused by were the US, where a generous tip is often expected by staff, and Japan, where tipping rules vary. 'In the US, tips often represent a significant part of staff's income, so you have to tip everywhere - be it in a bar, a taxi or a hotel. In Japan, there is no one-size-fits-all rule for tipping: its appropriateness depends on where you are, the company you're in, and who your host is. So it's not just what you tip, but who you tip, that travellers need to think about.'

One third (35 per cent) of Britons also admitted they were tipping less since the economic crisis, with 65 per cent admitting they have reduced the amount they usually tip.

And the best tippers? The Italians.

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