Germany is a popular travel destination for those looking for natural, historical, and cultural attractions. The country is also a favorite venue of various international conferences. Regardless of what you are after in Germany, you will definitely make use of many different kinds of services.
This takes us to the topic of tipping. How exactly do the Germans see tipping? Where, who, and how much do you tip? Let’s explore all of these questions so you are not clueless during your travel.
Staff in hotels and other accommodation establishments in Germany do expect to be tipped. Porters are commonly given 1 to 3 euros for each bag.
Housekeeping staff receive 3 to 5 euros on average per night. The common practice when leaving tips for chambermaids is leaving the tip money on your room’s nightstand or on the bed.
There is a large difference between how concierge staff in Germany and those in nearly the rest of the world are tipped. Whereas other countries do not tip the concierge unless exceptional service is provided, the Germans are a lot more generous. Tip your concierge 10 to 20 euros for satisfactory work.
Concierges in Germany are found in upscale hotels only anyway, so the large gratuity percentage is rarely ever an issue to the target market.
Room service staff must be tipped, preferably in cash.
Dining and Drinking Places
The general rule regarding tipping in restaurants, bars, and similar places in Germany is that you should tip whenever there is table service. Also, you need to give the tip without making it look like you are showing off, establishing some sort of power hierarchy, or anything of that sort.
Tip even unfriendly waiters. There are many establishments in Germany where waitstaff can be a little rude or even make curt comments, but diners and drinkers tip them anyway.
In many dining places in Germany, gratuity is already accounted for in the price of the food. Also, servers and other restaurant staff are paid at least minimum wage, unlike in other countries, where service workers are paid below minimum with the expectation that they will earn the difference from tips.
When the service charge is not integrated into the price of the food items, it may appear as a separate item on the bill (“Bedienung”).
Diners in German restaurants normally just round up their total amount to the next euro. Take note that you may not always receive a bill or a check. Sometimes, the waiter will just tell you how much your total is.
If extremely happy with the service, you can give 5% to 10%. Regardless of how you plan to tip, make sure you give the money directly to the waitstaff.
If you are giving a large bill, simply hand it to the waiter and mention the total amount (bill + tip) you want to pay. It is already understood that the difference is gratuity.
In pubs and bars in Germany, tips are expected because most of the time, you are served.
Tourists typically tip their tour guides 10%. This applies to all kinds of tours (by bus, on foot, private, etc.). Some tour guides will not ask for gratuity but reviews on travel sites (Some sites pay bonuses for positive reviews.).
Taxi drivers in Germany are not commonly tipped, but passengers generally just round up their fare to the nearest euro to make payment convenient. However, experienced travelers discourage tipping over 10% for cabs.
Drivers of airport shuttles do not necessarily have to be tipped, but you may want to give gratuity if they help with luggage and do other favors.
Most patrons do not tip at spas. If you are very happy with their work and feel compelled to tip, you may give up to 5% gratuity.
A 10% tip is commonly given to hairdressers who do a fine job.
Where to Never Tip
Fast food places and other establishments with counter service are never tipped. Establishments with cafeteria-like setup are not tipped because practically everyone serves you instead of just one dedicated personnel.
We are often advised to tip friendly and efficient service workers. However, there are many cultural factors to be considered. What may come off as rude to you may be perfectly civil and normal in Germany.
The rule of thumb, then, would be to tip where it is expected, and do so tactfully. Make sure that it is not given in a way that looks like you are showing off or putting the service worker in their place.