(CNN) — Tip too little and you’re blacklisted, tip too much and you’re a chump.
Different cultures call for different gratuity customs, so here’s a comprehensive guide to the etiquette in seven big cities.
When in doubt, remember the golden rule — always leave 10% and you won’t get chased down the street. Probably.
Canada is known as a friendly place, but skip the tip and you may set off a riot.
Giving gratuities is heavily emphasized in the service culture and servers rely on their tips as a big part of their income.
Restaurants: In Ontario the bill will come with a 13% sales tax, but a 10 to 15% tip is still expected for standard service. If the service was above average, 20% might be more appropriate.
If the meal was not satisfactory, it might be better to alert a manager instead of foregoing the tip. He or she may be able to offer a complimentary dish or discount.
A small tip is expected at the bar, and 10 to 20% is still expected for table service.
Taxi: Cabbing is not common outside downtown Toronto. A small tip is expected.
Hotel: Tipping is at the discretion of the guest but a small gesture is expected for porters who carry your bags.
Other: Tipping in cafés is not expected, but why not give your pizza delivery guy a little something for his effort?
Brits are more reserved when it comes to tipping but a gratuity of at least 10 percent is expected in restaurants.
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Brits are not as keen on tipping as their transatlantic cousins, but in certain situations it is expected, especially for good service.
Restaurants: Diners are not expected to add an additional tip if there is already a service charge on the bill. If the bill says “service charge not included” it is customary to leave at least 10%.
Taxi: If a cab is any kind other than a black cab, passengers usually round to the nearest pound or just tell the driver to “keep the change.”
Black cabs are more worthy of tips — at least 10% — because they have better knowledge of London’s maze-like roads.
Hotel: Tipping is at the discretion of the guest, but we suggest a few pounds for the porter if he helps with bags.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazilians have a friendly reputation, but tipping is not a part of the culture. However they are often direct and clear on money they want or do not expect.
Restaurants: A 10% “servico” charge is often added to the bill. While there is no legal obligation to pay it, it’s customary to do so.
Taxi: Tipping is not expected, but cabbies will often round to the nearest real.
No one likes to deal with change in Brazil, even in supermarkets cashiers will round to the nearest five cents.
Hotel: It’s customary to tip for room service, maids and bellboys.
Other: In nightclubs, people are given a paper ticket that tracks each individual’s drinks, and it is paid at the end of the night so bartenders never deal with cash. Most of the time, a 10% service charge will be added, so you do not have to tip.
Food delivery does not require a tip because there is often already a delivery fee. Tipping for beauty and hair is not standard.
In Rio a 10 percent ‘servico’ charge is often added to the bill.
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Tipping is not a Chinese custom. Most low to mid-end restaurants prioritize speed and efficiency over friendliness and customer service.
Restaurants: A 10% charge is added to most restaurant bills. But a Hong Kong restaurant insider tells us that less than 1% of places that charge service tax will give it to their staff. It’s just a means of making prices appear lower.
So even if there is a service charge, it might be nice to leave some change, just in case.
Hotels: Locals don’t often tip in hotels, but porters in high-end hotel are likely to expect a small gesture.
Taxi: Tipping is not expected in taxis, but drivers will often keep any small change.
Note: Hong Kong coins are thick and heavy, so people often leave small tips — not for the service — but to relieve their bursting pocket seams.
Leaving some loose change is a nice touch in Hong Kong.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/Getty Images
According to the Singapore government website, tipping is “not a way of life” in Singapore and the government does not encourage a tip beyond the service charge and tax.
Restaurants: Despite the no-tipping rule, locals tell us that a small tip is greatly appreciated when someone has gone out of their way to help you, even if it’s just the change.
Taxi: Tipping in cabs is not expected, but it is a nice courtesy to round up or tell the driver to keep the change.
Hotel: An exception to the rule is hotel staff, who will probably expect a small handout.
Other: Do not tip at Changi Airport.
Changi Airport corporate communications representative Kwan Shu Qin tells us: “Service staff are not allowed to accept tips from passengers and customers they serve.
“This is to ensure that all airport visitors enjoy a consistent high standard of service, regardless of whether they tip.”
Some tourists believe laid-back Australian culture doesn’t practice tipping, but just like the Brits, local Aussies tip for table service — unless the service is bad.
Restaurants: Starting wages for waiting staff are generally OK, so waiters do not rely on tips for their wages.
Most diners do tip about 10% for good table service, but on the flip side, cheapskates don’t have to feel particularly bad for giving exactly the amount it says on the bill.
Hotels: Porters should earn a couple of dollars per piece of luggage.
Taxi: Tipping isn’t common but taxi drivers will usually round up.
Other: Tipping at pubs is not expected either unless your bartender makes you a special fancy drink.
Waiting staff rely on tips to bolster their wages in South Africa.
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/Getty Images
Cape Town, South Africa
Tipping is common practice in South Africa for a range of services, from taxis and tour guides to gas-station attendants.
Restaurants: It is expected for diners to tip a standard 10 to 15% of the bill in both bars and restaurants. Similar to Canada, low-paid wait staff rely on gratuities as part of their income.
Taxi: Taxi drivers expect to be tipped about 10 percent.
Hotel: Porters who carry bags should be rewarded with a small sum.
Other: You’re likely to run into “car guards” when traveling — these orange-vested, often self-employed helpers direct you to a parking spot and stand around to protect your car. If you use their services, they expect a small tip.
If you do not want to use a car guard, wave them away and ignore them.
Editor’s note: This article was previously published in 2012. It was reformatted and republished in 2017.
Jane Leung is a Hong Kong-born Canadian who has dabbled in the mixed media bag of film and television production, the professional sports industry and magazine publishing.