American travelers aren't cheap, according to a major survey by TripAdvisor, which says stateside citiznes are among the world’s top tippers.
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TripAdvisor Says Americans Are Big Tippers

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A man shows a handful of the U.S. pennies. (credit: Getty Images/Jim Watson/AFP)

A man shows a handful of the U.S. pennies. (credit: Getty Images/Jim Watson/AFP)

UNITED STATES (CBSDFW.COM) – American travelers aren’t cheap, according to a major survey by TripAdvisor, which says stateside citiznes are among the world’s top tippers.

In results announced on May 30, 2013, data shows that 99 percent of Americans tip on vacation and of that group, 57 percent always do while traveling, compared to the average of 43 percent who always tip among seven other countries.

TripAdvisor’s surveyed more than 9,000 respondents from eight countries, with 1,600 respondents from the U.S.

American tippers

Americans are used to leaving a gratuity. “Tipping is a cultural norm in the States, and U.S. travelers have a tendency to take their customs on the road, whether they are on American soil or traveling abroad,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. That habit translated into data that shows 21 percent of U.S. respondents would feel guilty if they didn’t tip. In fact, the data shows that 99 percent of Americans tip on vacation with a reliable 57 percent indicating that they always tip.

Eight countries surveyed

For the survey on tipping, TripAdvisor obtained data from respondents in eight countries across the globe. The surveyed nations were:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Russia
  • Brazil.

Who’s most likely to tip at all?

Travelers in local markets were surveyed on how likely they are to tip on trips. Statistics revealed how often travelers from each, surveyed country indicated they would always tip while on vacation. Germans were the most likely to tip, and Italians were the least likely.

  1. Germans – 69%
  2. Americans – 57%
  3. Russians – 53%
  4. Brazilians – 40%
  5. French – 39%
  6. Brits – 39%
  7. Spanish – 36%
  8. Italians – 23%

Influential factors

Americans like to tip for extra quality in service when on vacation. The greatest amount of U.S. respondents (59 percent) tip on vacation when service goes the extra mile. When asked what encourages travelers to leave a tip at a hotel or restaurant, travelers cited specific factors as the primary reasons to compensate staff.

At a hotel, the top three factors, in order of reason for prompting a tip were the following:

  1. Helpfulness of service
  2. Friendliness of service
  3. Politeness of service

At a restaurant, the service factors for prompting tips shifted slightly in order of importance. When eating out, friendly service factored highly.

  1. Friendliness of service
  2. Politeness of service
  3. Helpfulness

Learning about tipping

In global travel, there appears to be a sense of confusion about tipping. When traveling to other countries, only 16 percent of U.S. respondents said they always feel they are informed on how much to leave.

To better their knowledge of tipping abroad, travelers seek out information from diverse sources. Information sources varied from print and online references to asking locals.

  • 73% reference travel guides
  • 48% read online reviews
  • 46% check online forums
  • 35% ask friends or family who have visited the country
  • 26% get the lowdown from the locals

Calculating the tip

Savvy tech and, most especially, smart learning pay off for travelers calculating their gratuities. To calculate a tip, mental math (used by 85% of travelers) trumps technology. For traveling families, it’s a great opportunity for kids to use their math!

  • 85% calculate the tip in their head
  • 18% use their smartphone
  • 7% carry a tip conversion sheet

Tipping problems

Travelers have angst about tipping, and the process doesn’t always go smoothly. Sixteen percent of U.S. respondents report they have been asked to leave a tip by staff, nine percent cite they have been confronted about the tip, and three percent admit that a tipping situation has ruined their vacation.

Gratitude with discretion

Global tipping practices vary. Gratuities can feel obligatory, but they are best given and received when they are a “thank you” for true service. In fact, part of the customary cost of travel is tips, but the size of the tip can be tempered by service quality and courteous gratitude.

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