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Always carry the local currency
Being ready for whatever expenses pop up is an important part of being an organized traveller. “Tipping in local currency is important because changing money actually costs the service provider and they very likely cannot make change for foreign money,” says Carrie Glenn, founder of Etiquette at Hand. Also, it is often impossible to add a tip when paying with your credit card (Think, Starbucks).
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Know when not to tip
Be sure to research your destination: In some counties (like Japan, China, South Korea and French Polynesia), staff may be offended when offered a tip because excellent service is an expected part of their culture. “If you do offer—say to staff at a Japanese ryoken, taxi driver or tour guide—be sure to place the bills in a card or envelope and use two hands and a bow or nod (depending on the culture) to present it,” says Glenn. Always ask, “May I present you a tip in appreciation for your service?” while looking down, rather than just handing it to them. Be discreet, humble and do not press if they refuse. Even when in Canada, it’s sometimes confusing as when to tip and when not to tip. “Tipping in French Polynesia is almost considered to be rude and making the people feel lower than you,” says Dan Boland, an international airline pilot. Even tipping for great service is frowned upon. If in doubt, just don’t do it.
Read on to find out how these travel blunders can actually be the highlight of your next trip.
Only tip for services rendered
In India, for example, make sure that you have actually received the kind of help that would require a tip. “Some beggars ask for tips, so giving them money in this instance sends the wrong message,” says Glenn. Since this is an extremely poor country, try buying their goods or hiring them to do a small task if you feel compelled to give them money.