Is it Rude to Tip in Other Countries?

Tipping culture varies around the world, so how do you know if it is rude to tip in other countries or not? Read on below and discover the truth!

Is it Rude to Tip in Other Countries?

Tipping, in most countries, is appreciated though not always expected if you aren’t in a western country. 

However, if you are a globe trotter, it is wise to know that in South Korea, Japan, China, and several surrounding countries that tipping is indeed seen as rude and is indeed offensive, and undesired by the wait staff.

How Rude Is it?

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On a scale of 1 to 10, tipping in other countries rates 5 on the rude meter. The amount of rudeness of tipping in other countries is a hard one to pin down into one rating. 

If we had to rate countries separately it would look a little something like this:

  • Tipping in America, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, and many European countries rates 1 out of 10
  • Tipping in Asia, especially China, Japan, and South Korea, rates 9 out of 10.

Why is it Not Rude?

Tipping in other countries isn’t the rudest thing you could do, even in nations like Japan or China. Indeed, sticking your chopsticks into a bowl of rice, from the side, could be far ruder than leaving a tip (even though tipping is often offensive in these countries). 

The fact is, if you are a tourist, the most wait staff will overlook the rudeness of your leaving them extra money out of appreciation for their service.

Other Options to Do Instead

In case you are not sure if it is rude to tip or not, during your visits to another country, there are a few other options to do instead:

  • Ask the wait staff or manager if tipping is allowed or offensive
  • Thank everyone for their excellent service
  • Leave a tip hiding under the plates on the table
  • Leave a tip to the entire staff in front of everyone

Common Questions

Is it weird to tip in other countries?

It is certainly not weird for tourists to tip in other countries that they are visiting, especially if they are from cultures where tipping is expected. However, the truth of the matter is that tips are not expected in most countries outside of the western sphere of the globe.

Why is it rude to tip in certain places?

It is rude to tip in certain places if you understand the culture. If you are a tourist, you will most likely be forgiven (unless it is clear that you understand that it is offensive and you tip anyway). The reasons for tipping being seen as rude vary from place to place.

Why is it disrespectful to tip in Europe?

Many European countries find it disrespectful to tip wait staff because they are paid well for their job and they don’t “need” your “charity”. By tipping in these countries, you risk pissing off the wait staff by making them feel as if you are saying they need your money.