Gratuity in Germany

Categories: General Travel Info

Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof
Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof

[ source: Flickr]

According to all the dictionaries, tips are something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service. What we experience however is the expectation of a tip, whether or not the service has been exemplary. In the United States we are used to tipping in restaurants and taxi cabs. We tip for personal services such as deliveries, doormen, massages, manicures and hairdressing. If we live in a large city we generally tip between 15 and 20 percent. In smaller towns 10 percent is often the norm but 15 percent is especially appreciated. However, when we travel, the rules change and if we are not aware of them, our experiences may be less satisfying and more expensive than you needed to pay. Generally, if you do some research before you go, you will find your travelling spirit more confident.

It's best to hand the tip directly to the waiter rather than leaving it on the table, especially in busy restaurants. Especially in Austria, Belgium,Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, you should be discreet and well-mannered and say the total number of Euros you'd like the waiter to keep (including his tip) when paying. For instance, if the bill is €75, you hand him €100 while saying, "€85". You will have €10 returned and he has his tip. If you are paying by credit card, the rule of thumb is to pay the tip in cash so you can be sure the wait person receives it. If the service is bad and you have the choice what to tip, it is considered poor manners not to tip something. 5 percent is the minimum. Be sure if it has been a really bad experience that you let the manager know the trouble discreetly, not bringing attention to yourself. Loud and boisterous is not looked upon well in restaurants and is often the catalyst for the "Ugly American" moniker.

At hotels, a Euro or two per bag is generous for the porter. For the room maid, a couple of Euros at the end of your stay is appropriate if your room was kept clean. I have found that if you give the tip on the first day, the service you receive is friendlier the rest of your stay.

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