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What’s the tipping etiquette for all-inclusive holidays?

One of the benefits of booking an all-inclusive holiday is that everything is prepaid, meaning you don’t need to dig for cash every time you order a cocktail. All-inclusive packages also guarantee fixed-budget holidays, which is attractive if you want to make sure that you don’t overspend while you’re away.

That said, many people take a small amount of spending money for airport shuttles, extra excursions, souvenirs and of course, tips. The amount you’ll need depends on the type of package holiday you book, plus many travellers like to get out and about and try the local bars, restaurants and entertainment – even if it’s only for a night!

Checklist for tipping abroad

Tipping is culture specific, for example, in America gratuities are taken for granted whereas in Japan they’re much less welcome. When visiting Spain, tipping is usually up to visitors’ discretion. There are a few things you can check, however, before you find yourself reluctantly digging for change while the porter is patiently waiting for a tip!

1. Check for automatic service charges
Even in all-inclusive resorts, a small gratuity is much appreciated in places such as a la carte restaurants, where servers rely on tips to stretch their salaries. This sum will be listed on the bill or menu, but if the menu is in another language just ask a passing server.

2. Give a tip in person
A gratuity communicates thanks for service that goes above and beyond what’s expected. Rather than giving a lump sum at the reception desk to be distributed among the whole staff, find the person who impressed you and personally show your thanks.

3. Pay gratuities on pre-tax bills
This applies to restaurants, particularly if you’ve left the resort. Double check that you’re not paying a percentage of the tax that’s added to your bill as the tip should be based on the amount before tax.

Tipping etiquette per country

As mentioned, tipping depends not only on the type of holiday you book but also your destination. Here are a few countries and their tipping customs in general:

Service charges are generally added to Spanish restaurant bills and so additional tips are discretionary. In tourist areas and resorts you can tip housekeepers, porters and waiters with a few Euros, otherwise there is no need to add another 15 per cent onto the total, especially if you have booked an all-inclusive package holiday.

There are usually no service charges on restaurant bills in Greece so you should consider leaving 10 to 15 per cent of the total bill (if the service was particularly good, feel free to leave more!). In tourist areas, a few Euros for porters, waiters and housekeepers is a good way to get staff members on your side for the rest of your stay!

Restaurants in Egypt do not have a compulsory service charge but, similar to the USA, gratuities are taken for granted, particularly in the case of customers from outside of Egypt. 10 to 15 per cent service charges are acceptable and it’s a good idea to tip hotel staff a few Egyptian Pounds as well.

Tipping etiquette in Mexico is similar to the States in that even if service charges have been added to a bill it’s customary to add an additional gratuity. For those on an all-inclusive deal, add a 10 per cent tip if you were pleased with the service.

Here is a good resource if you’re interested in reading more about tipping abroad.