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    Tipping in Europe

    Tipping in EuropeFor travelers, local etiquette is often a concern and researching tipping is a natural step in planning the perfect trip. The truth is that tipping etiquette varies from one country to the next in Europe, the same way an "appropriate" tip may differ depending on your location within the United States. The good news is that understanding the tipping culture in European nations is straightforward and in general you'll be fine if you follow these handy suggestions.

    Facts About Paying for Services in Europe:

    1. In Europe it is required by law that a quoted price includes all taxes. This means that when a price is advertised, the local merchant expects you to pay that price and no more.

    2. Most European restaurants will feature a menu outside for patrons to review before entering. If there is a mandatory service charge this will be posted. If you dine at a restaurant and are surprised to see a service charge or tip added to your bill you should speak up - this is probably an attempt to overcharge you.

    3. Many people in the service industry in Europe will hold out their hands for a tip. You are not required to tip these individuals, though if you feel that you've received excellent service you certainly can do so.

    Tipping in European Restaurants

    Tipping in European RestaurantsWhen dining at a restaurant in Europe you should expect to tip a bit more modestly than you would in America. If a service charge is included in your bill then leaving a tip is optional. If it isn't you can leave a 5-10% tip without insulting your waiter or waitress. European servers are quite well compensated, so any tips are considered a small bonus. We recommend that if you choose to tip the waitstaff you should hand them the tip rather than to leave it on the table, otherwise your money may find its way into someone else’s pocket. If you're ordering food or drinks at a counter or a pub, it is not necessary to leave a tip.

    Tipping European Taxi or Chauffeur Drivers

    A good rule of thumb when tipping your taxi or chauffeur driver in Europe is to simply round up to the next Euro. If they have gone above and beyond, an extra Euro or two will be appreciated. On the other hand, if you are unsatisfied with your driver you can skip the tip altogether. If you've arranged for a chauffeured tour during your trip in Europe and will have the same driver each day, a good practice is to ask your driver on the first day what a polite amount to tip will be. This gives him incentive to go above and beyond during your tour and it gives you an idea of what you should offer.

    Tipping Hotel Porters in Europe

    If your European hotel has someone to help you with your bags a good rule of thumb is to offer them one Euro for each bag the porter assists you with. It's not required, but a few Euros left in your room at checkout is a nice touch and a polite way to thank the cleaning staff.

    Tipping in France

    The French Government put in place a law that requires most restaurants and cafes to add a service charge to the bill, known in French as service compris. Establishments will usually add around 15% to the bill, and while it most often applies to restaurants, it can also be added in other instances. Because of this law extra tipping is generally not required. Not all service charges are distributed among waiters and waitresses, so if you want to ensure that your server receives a tip you will have to give them the extra money with the bill.

    Tipping in Europe

    Tipping in Germany

    Tipping in Germany is very different from tipping in North America. For example, in most German-speaking countries it is not typical to be handed a check at the end of your meal. If you want to leave a tip you need to make this clear to your waiter or waitress before you pay for your meal or drinks. Also, be aware that some establishments in Germany add a service charge to your bill. If this is the case then you will see this itemized on the receipt, and do not need to add extra tip.

    Tipping in Italy

    While tipping in Italy is not required it is often practiced, but this is mostly by tourists. If you have enjoyed your experience or the service you have received, you can tip your waiter, driver, or hotelier as a sign of your appreciation. However, if you don't, they will not be offended. Some service staff may, in fact, refuse your offer of a tip at first, but they are usually just being polite. Be aware that a lot of restaurants in Italy will include a service charge (servizio), a cover charge (coperto), or both on the bill. If you see either of these on your bill you do not need to tip. This is a supplement for the server and has already been included in your bill.

    Tipping in Spain

    Like the rest of Europe, tipping in Spain is not a custom. It's not expected, and Spaniards generally don't do it. However, you may notice when you visit major cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville, tips are encouraged and advertised in restaurants and shops. These signs are primarily aimed at tourists, as most Spanish locals will leave a few coins for a mid-range meal and sometimes nothing. You won't insult anyone for not leaving a tip, but you also won't insult them for showing some gratitude and leaving one either.

    Final Thoughts on Tipping in Europe

    Whether you choose to tip or not is entirely up to you. In general if you've received excellent service, offering a tip of a few Euros will be appreciated by anyone, but you should never think of it as being a requirement while touring Europe. A good way to ensure that you're adhering to local tipping etiquette in Europe would be to ask someone at a local tourist information office or speak with your hotel's concierge. These local travel and tourist professionals will be happy to fill you in on what's considered polite in the area you are visiting in Europe.

    Now that you have a better gauge of the tipping customs, it's time to get out there and start exploring! In an effort to provide travelers with the most comprehensive travel tips and information, including tipping customs, Auto Europe makes it easy to enjoy your next vacation abroad, and mesh with the many unique cultures found at your destination. To get started on your travel plans, give Auto Europe a call, at 1-888-223-5555, and speak to one of our reservations agents today.

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