Tipping Question

Folks, who do I tip and how much in Spain? My sister and I are good tippers but we want to follow local customs.

4 thoughts on “Tipping Question

  1. My general rule in Europe (until told otherwise) is to round the bill up a little or 5 or so per cent or a couple of euros per person in restaurants and/or cabs whichever is more (I kind of dread being regarded as a poor tipper).
    If you have a driver also a euro or two.
    I’ve heard and read that genuine enthusiasm and sincere praise work better in Spain than money… but I can’t honestly say that I’ve noticed that in practice (and when I try to sound enthusiastic I usually end up sounding sarcastic… so not a great option for me).


  2. I round up to the next Euro, or leave a Euro or two, or leave 5-10%, depending on situation. 10% would be if I got a whole lot of help. You can do less. I used to do less but then I used to only go to really cheap places where nobody was tipping. I’ve sort of decided generally, not just in Spain, that I don’t mind if people sometimes think I’ve overtipped – I figure they can use it.

    I am now trying to remember to tip hotel housekeeping. My mother taught me, for some reason, that this was needed in expensive hotels but not in the kind of cheap motel we used to stay in. I’m sure that’s not the case, I’m sure they all need the cash. I started staying in more expensive places because of academia and I was afraid to tip because the hotels were so expensive, and I wasn’t paying myself (it was job interviews), and I didn’t have the money at all, and thought that if I tipped it would have to be 15% of the total bill. Finally I figured out that heck, if I had $5 that was still better than nothing.


    1. “I am now trying to remember to tip hotel housekeeping.’

      Yeah, I almost always leave a Euro or two each day (with a note indicating it’s a tip, usually ‘thank you’ in the local language, otherwise it stays in place).
      Earlier I stupidly waited for the last day, but on vacation in Turkey a ‘resident’ suggested a small amount each day which makes a lot more sense.
      In Poland I always tip deliverymen (who have to climb up three flights of stairs) a couple of zloties (50-75 cents) and often have to call them back to take it (Poland is really not a tipping country….).
      In Denmark I asked a local (colleague from a work project) how much I should tip and was told not to (followed by a short self-righteous speech about how restaurant employees are fairly paid and don’t need tips…. which kind of explained the crappy service I guess….).


      1. Good old Calvinist DK. When I lived there in 70s, full on social democracy, they still had a lot of bathroomless flats with a cold-water WC on the landing, prewar style, and ate so many potatoes and really cheap meats, and so on. No, they were not going to starve to death or freeze, but the relatives I have who didn’t go professional / bourgeois still live like this, and I’m sure a tip doesn’t hurt their budget.


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