The etiquette of tipping varies all over the world. For example, in the U.S.A, waiting staff usually get paid a very low wage so they rely heavily on the tip, which is usually between 15 and 20%, whereas in the U.K their wages are much higher so the tip is more of a gratuity, at around 10 to 12%. Each country is different, so to make sure you don’t offend anyone it’s always best to do your homework.
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It is not mandatory to tip in Spain. However, tipping is becoming more popular in the touristic areas. Waiting staff are reasonably paid, so they don’t rely on “donations”, but anything extra will always be gratefully accepted. We live in a time where people are constantly traveling from country to country so cultures often mix, but you don’t have to worry about offending anyone by not tipping here.
Restaurants are the place where you’ll most be inclined to tip. If you are wondering if you should leave some money on the table as you leave, just to keep it simple – if you enjoyed your meal and were happy with the service, leave a tip! The usual amount would be between 10 and 15% depending on your situation. If you can’t afford to, then you don’t have to; this is always up to the customer’s discretion. If you just have coffee or a snack then it’s not really very common to leave a tip at all, perhaps only some small change.
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In some of the more high-end hotels, tipping is becoming much more practiced, but on the whole, it is not very common. You may want to tip someone who is carrying your bags a euro or two, as a show of appreciation, but other than that the staff certainly won’t be expecting anything.
The same applies to taxis: nothing will be expected, it’s completely up to you. If you feel the driver was kind and considerate and you arrived promptly at your destination then you might want to give him a couple of euros extra. But otherwise, you don’t have to feel obliged.
Tours are the one exception: some of the tour guides rely solely on tips for an income. If you are on a free tour then it is expected that each member of your group will leave some money to thank the guide for their time and effort. The larger the group, the less each person needs to leave. If you have already paid beforehand and you were happy with the experience then a small tip would be plenty.
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