As part of your preparations for traveling internationally, it is always best to learn about the specific tipping customs in your destination countries.

Different cultures have different norms. In the U.S., tipping big for exceptional service is a compliment and it is much appreciated by person receiving the tip. But in some countries, over tipping for a service can be a personal insult.

A study done at Cornell University shows that U.S. citizens are the best tippers and that they tip for more types of service than citizens in other nations. But what you’ve learned here in the U.S. will not necessarily serve you on your international travels. So do your homework before you travel and learn the local tipping customs. Here are a few guidelines for some top international destinations for U.S. travelers:

RESTAURANT TIPPING:

  • Canada – If the tip is not already included, 15 to 20% is standard.
  • Caribbean – If the tip is not already included, 15 to 20% is standard.
  • Costa Rica – The tip is included in your bill.
  • Mexico – Tip 10 to 15%, preferably in cash

GUIDES / DRIVERS / TAXIS:

  • Canada – Tip tour guide and driver collectively 15% of the price you paid for your tour or excursion. For cabbies, tip 10 to 15%.
  • Caribbean – Tip a few dollars for a bus tour. For private day tours, tip $25 for the guide and $10 for the driver. Tip cabbies about 20%.
  • Costa Rica – Tour guides should get $5 to $10 per person for the day. Drivers get tipped anywhere from $1 to $4 depending on the length of the drive. Tip a few dollars for cabbies.
  • Mexico – For day tours, if your driver is also your tour guide, tip 200 to 300 pesos. If you have both a driver and a guide, tip each 100 to 200 pesos.

HOTELS:

  • Canada – Porters get $1 to $2 per bag. Tip housekeeping $2 a day ($5 per day for luxury hotel). Tip concierge $10 to $20 per special favor.
  • Caribbean – Tip porters $2 to $3 per bag, housekeeping about $2 to $3 a day. Tip concierge accordingly for special favors – the bigger the favor the bigger the tip (up to $25 for special requests).
  • Costa Rica – Tip your porter 25¢ to 50¢ per bag ($1 per bag at luxury hotel). Tip housekeeping $1 per day.
  • Mexico – Tip porters 10 to 20 pesos per bag, housekeeping 20 to 50 pesos per day, and 50 to 150 pesos for the concierge.

You’ll find lots of information and international tipping guides online, so do your research before you travel. Always use local currency for tipping, not U.S. dollars, and always be discrete when you tip.

Happy travels!