Few people understand that tipping is a highly cultural practice. For some reason even the best cross cultural travelers impose the tipping practices of their home culture on other cultures. For example, I have a friend who was a former server in a restaurant in the US and planning on going overseas on a mission trip. He was excited to share his faith through generosity by leaving a 20% tip. He didn’t realize that each culture has its own rules for tipping. Is 20% seen as generous, stingy, or lavish in his new culture? Some cultures tip at restaurants, some don’t. While my friend may have thought he was seen as a generous person for tipping at a restaurant, he may have been unaware that he could come across as totally stingy because he didn’t expect to leave a tip when visiting a hospital or didn’t bring a gift when visiting a friend’s home.
It’s best to do some research to know the best practices for tipping in each culture.
See also: Tipping etiquette around the world
Do you have additional tipping experience or insights to add?