Should Tourists Be Tipping At Hotels In Europe? Here's What Rick Steves Says

When it comes to traveling outside of the United States, one of the first things you might be wondering is how tipping works at your destination. While tipping between 15% and 20% at various establishments in the U.S. is customary, certain destinations like Japan and China actually find it rude to leave behind a tip. In some cases, your server might even chase you down the street to return any of the coins you left behind.

When it comes to Europe, however, things can get a little fuzzy as to when, where, and how to tip — or if it's even correct to do so. One of the scenarios where you might be confronted with the dilemma is while checking into or out of your hotel. From knowing whether or not you should be tipping for room service to ensuring you're budgeting appropriately for tipping the housekeeper, the truth is that things in Europe don't necessarily work the same way they do in the States.

Luckily, travel expert and author Rick Steves has visited Europe enough times to offer some advice. According to his blog, Steves agrees that it's perfectly okay to tip at your hotel — in the same way that it's perfectly okay not to tip if you don't feel like it. Basically, it all boils down to personal preference.

Whether or not to tip is up to you

Per Rick Steves, tipping in Europe varies per country. This means that Spain's tipping culture will potentially vary greatly from, for example, London's tipping culture. However, one thing's for sure pretty much everywhere you visit: No one necessarily expects a tip, but they do appreciate them!

In the case of tipping at your hotel, Steves recommends tipping one euro for each bag to the bellhop or porter, as well as allocating a small tip that you can leave behind for the housekeeping staff. Ideally, though, a much better way to show your appreciation is to do a bit of cleaning up after yourself and not leave the room in total disarray at checkout — two of the main things housekeeping hates that hotel guests do.

Oh, and as a word of advice for travelers using vacation rental platforms, experts encourage you to forgo tipping while staying at an Airbnb. After all, hosts set their own rates, so there's really no need to throw in an extra tip.

More tipping customs in Europe

Beyond tipping at your hotel, there might be other instances where you feel inclined to leave a little something extra behind for your server. At restaurants, writes Steves, anything between a 5% and 10% tip is great. Any amount beyond that will probably be seen as excessive. In most cases, leaving behind your change on the table or rounding up will do just fine.

Taking a cab is another situation where you might feel inclined to tip. While destinations like Ireland and Switzerland will welcome a tip in the form of rounding up your fare, other countries like Italy and Greece don't necessarily expect any extra money from passengers. Nonetheless, if a driver gets out of the car to help with your luggage, feel free to throw in a little something extra to let them know you're thankful to them for going the extra mile.

Lastly, when it comes to other services — think visiting a hair salon, getting a massage, or hiring a guide — tipping tends to vary depending on the nature of the amenity provided. For example, most high-end salons will already include an additional service charge. As for guides, according to Steves, if you've already paid for the tour, there's no need to tip extra. However, if you wish, one or two euros is more than enough. For private tours, anywhere between $10 and $20 on top of the fee is appropriate.