The French are world's worst tippers

The French are officially even worse at tipping than Brits

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Couple at Outdoor Cafe, Woman Talking on Cell Phone, Paris, France

The British have a reputation for terrible tipping, but the French have taken the inglorious title of the world's tightest tippers. A survey in holiday hotspots around the world found that 30% of people in restaurants and bars put the French at the bottom of the pile.

The survey, by Direct Line Travel Insurance, put Brits in second place - picked by 21% of people - and the Italians were voted third worst - with 11% of the vote. Brits hardly covered themselves with glory, however, as 35% of all the restaurants and bars in the study said that Brits don't bother leaving any kind of a tip at all.

At the other end of the spectrum, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Americans were voted the most generous tippers (by 27% of people). They were followed by the Germans (21%) and the Russians (16%).

Part of the problem is that it can be tricky to know what is expected of you overseas. As Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line, puts it: "Tipping expectations vary hugely across the globe and reflect different cultures, attitudes and laws. Our reserved nature and laws preventing employers using tips to top up salaries mean that there is not an established tipping culture in the UK. Many of us feel awkward and confused when it comes to tipping practices across the world."

He recommends doing your research before you go, and sticking to local customs and practices. Otherwise you may find that when returning to the same restaurant or bar you suddenly find yourself decidedly less welcome.

It's well worth doing this, and not just making the assumption you can carry on doing what's usual in the UK - because some tipping etiquette around the world is quite unexpected. We've rounded up 10 potential tipping pitfalls to beware of when you're travelling overseas.

1. In Japan, tipping is seen as offensive and considered an insult - especially if you try to hand money to someone directly.

2. In Australia, there's no established culture of tipping, so it tends to only be given for exceptional service. Having said that, 10%-15% is always appreciated.

3. In China traditionally there's no culture of tipping, but at hotels and restaurants frequented by Westerners it's generally expected - and tour guides expect a tip too.

4. In Argentina it's not common to tip taxi drivers.

5. In France it's not common to tip above and beyond the usual service charge added to the bill - although it's not discouraged.

6. In Brazil it's not customary to tip - instead 10% tends to be added to the bill.

7. In Denmark, there's usually a 10% service charge in restaurants, and you are not expected to tip.

8. In Egypt there's a 5%-10% service charge - but you're expected to pay another 5%-10% on top of that.

9. In Germany it's not considered polite to leave a tip on the table: it should be handed to waiting staff.

10. In Austrian restaurants there's usually a service charge - but it's common to round the bill up too.

If you do get things wrong, you can take some comfort from the fact that everyone makes an embarrassing mistake over tipping on holiday every once-in-a-while. David Cameron is still remembered for his failure to leave a tip after having a coffee in an Italian cafe.

He went back the following day, ordered more coffees, and left a hefty tip. However, he still gained column inches in the newspapers - knocking off coverage of the riots that were sweeping the UK at the time.

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