How to Tip by Continent

Tipping is a sign of gratitude for a good service or a job well done. Tips and their amount are a matter of social custom and etiquette which varies in between countries. While tipping is customary to most countries, there are still some places in the world where it’s not allowed and they consider tipping rude or offensive.

The next time you travel to another continent, make sure to take note of correct tipping etiquette.

Africa

Tip restaurants from 5% – 10% when no service charge has been added to your bill. When in hotels, $1 is the minimum tip for porters. You may also tip the concierge in advance for additional services like helping you to get tickets to special events or attractions. Taxi drivers are tipped about 10% of the total bill. Not all countries in Africa will accept American Dollars, prepare local currency.

Asia

 In Japan, China, South Korea and in Singapore, tipping is not part of the culture and is considered insulting.

In Hong Kong, tipping is not expected at hotels and restaurants establishments. A 10% charge is added to the bill instead.

In Macau, which is previously a colony of Portugal, tipping is widely accepted.

In most Southeast Asian countries, restaurant tipping isn’t a requirement but it is recommended to leave 5% – 10% tip as long as no service fees have already been added. For taxis, just round up the fare and leave the change.

In Indonesia, tipping is common especially in large tourist areas such as Bali and Lombok – 10% – 15% tip at restaurants, 10% – 20% at massage parlors, 5% on taxis and around $1 per bag for bellboys at high end hotels.

Australia

Tipping in Australia is not required or expected. The federal government of Australia protects the rights

of workers by providing them with a minimum wage. In New Zealand, tipping is not a traditional practice, but is accepted as a gesture of kindness.

Europe

When dining out in Europe, tips should always be in cash and not of credit cards.

When there are no service charges already added then it’s ideal to leave a 5% to 10% tip at restaurants.

For Hotels, porters are tipped €1 – €2 per bag and housekeeping staff around €1- €2 per day. However, in Italy, Finland and Iceland, tipping is not customary.

North America

Tipping is a social custom in both Canada and the United States. In restaurants, tips range from 15% to 20% as long as there are no service charges already added. Hotel porters are tipped $1 – $2 per bag and housekeepers about $2 – $5 per day depending on the rating of the hotel. Taxi drivers expect tips of about 10% – 15% of the total bill. In fact, there were laws created to make sure that the pooled gratuities are redistributed among all employees of the establishments.

South America

Tipping is uncommon in Paraguay since service charges are included in the bill. Restaurants in most parts of the continent expect a 10% tip when there are no service charges already added; about $1 per bag for hotel porters and around $2 per day for housekeeping staff. Exceptions apply when staying at luxury hotels. Taxis do not require tips though you could always round up the bill.

What to Wear on a Summer Safari

Safari is a Swahili word, originally from the Arabic “safar;” which means journey. The word is used for any type of journey, e.g. by bus from Nairobi to Mombasa or by ferry from Dar es Salaam to Unguja. Richard Francis Burton, a famous English explorer; made it possible for the word to enter the English language in 1850’s. In this modern day era, Safari refers to a journey or expedition, for hunting, exploration, or investigation, especially in Africa.

A certain theme or style is associated with the word, which includes khaki clothing, belted bush jackets, pith helmets or slouch hats, and animal skin patterns. If you’re going on an African adventure, take note of the theme because it will help you decide on the proper attire for a safari.

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If you are going on a summer safari, here are some helpful tips on what to wear:

  1. If you want to get close to the wildlife, the best way is to go neutral so you blend with the surroundings. Wear greens, browns and khakis so as to not attract unnecessary attention.
  2. It is also important to minimize noise when walking so wear light-weight, breathable fabrics.
  3. Light trail shoes or hybrid shoe/sandals are adequate on a summer Safari.
  4. Pack light by layering. Temperatures during a safari differs in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. Layers would be so much convenient as it allows you to remove clothing or wear it back, as temperatures fluctuate.
  5. Protect your arms and neck from the heat of the sun by wearing airy, long-sleeved shirts with a collar.
  6. Combat trousers are the perfect outfit. It has plenty of pockets to store your camera, sunscreen, binoculars and other important stuff during your journey.
  7.  For an extra layer of warmth, you may bring a light jacket or fleece. Fleece is great because it dries quickly too.
  8. To protect your head and face from the sun in an open-top safari vehicle, wear hats. They also reduce glare for better game viewing.
  9.  To block out harmful rays; sunglasses, polarized glasses if possible should be worn. It will cut through the glare so you won’t miss a thing.

Thrifty Travel Tips

It’s everyone’s dream to travel. We would want to see the world around us. We would want to discover different foods and cuisines from other country. We would want to experience other culture and traditions. The only problem is we don’t have enough money to spend. But there are a lot of ways to save on your journey. Here are some thrifty travel tips to help you complete your travel bucket list with a limited budget, without sacrificing the fun.

  1.  Research before you travel. Look for the best places to go, affordable places to shop and dine and cheapest way of transportation in your dream destination. Almost everything can now be found over the web so do some research before heading out to the airport.
  2. Book with travel agencies that offer bundles – flight, food, attractions and accommodations in one – at no extra cost. You don’t only save money but you also save time and effort of looking for where to eat, to go and to rest.
  3. Travel off season. Airfare and accommodation expenses soar higher during peak seasons such as spring break, Christmas, New Year and Holy Week. Try to avoid those dates to save up to 50% or more on your spending.
  4. Roam without costly charges. We all need to go online while traveling. Before traveling to another country, have your phone unlocked. Buy local pay-as-you-go sim card as soon as you arrive in your destination.
  5. Avoid touristy restaurants. When eating out, look for local restaurants in the area. Most of them offer good food for less.
  6. Avoid hotel breakfast. While this is convenient, this is rarely of good value unless it is bundled in your room accommodation. Try to join local crowd at the corner café, you lower the price plus you get to meet new friends.
  7. Make the most of the local transport. It is not always a good idea to rent a car while traveling. The best way is to travel by bus or train. They are way cheaper than any other kinds of transportation plus you get to experience a scenic and more authentic journey around the place you are visiting.
  8. If you’re visiting museums and attractions, look for passes with multiple locations at a discount. You don’t only save money but it also lets you skip long lines. There are also museums and attractions that are free of charge. Check them out first.
  9. Try to haggle. When shopping for foods, daily needs, souvenirs, etc.; try bargaining. You may do so at markets and stalls.
  10. Plan ahead. Of course the success of any travel experience depends on how well it is planned. Plan early, maybe a year or 6 months before your chosen date so you can make adjustments easily if you need to.

Learn Proper Eating Etiquette Around the World

Eating etiquette changes from country to country, culture to culture. Some mealtime behaviors and table manners might be acceptable in certain places but not everywhere, meaning there is really no standard when it comes to eating etiquette around the world. When travelling or meeting people from other countries, it is important that you learn their customs and traditions because you might insult them without even realizing it. Here are some mealtime traditions and etiquette from other other parts of the world:

Africa

In Ethiopia, there’s a tradition of hand-feeding each other called gursha, which means “mouthful.” This act of dining from someone else’s hand is a gesture of hospitality and social bonds between those sharing the food.

Photo credit: SarahTz- Flickr
Photo credit: SarahTz- Flickr

Europe

In Europe, people never rest their hands in their laps; rather, they place their wrists on the table.

Keep in mind the Continental style of eating – fork in your left hand and knife in your right.

When passing a dish to someone on the table, pass it to your left.

Always use utensils, even for the food that are considered “finger foods.”

Middle East

In many Muslim cultures, the left hand is considered “unclean” that is why people use only the right hand to eat, without the utensils.

Muslims show great respect for food and the effort exerted into making it, that is why when somebody drop his bread, he should pick it up, kiss it, and raise it to his forehead before putting it back on the plate.

Photo credit: Zlerman- Flickr
Photo credit: Zlerman- Flickr

East and South Asia

In Japan and China, people slurp their noodles to show appreciation for the meal.

While in Europe, it is a must that you finish everything on the plate, it is a no-no in many Asian countries. It would suggest that the host didn’t feed the guest enough. Instead, leave a small amount on the plate to show that you are full and that you acknowledge the host’s generosity.

In Japan, it is an insult to tip the waiter at a restaurant. It implies that he’s not making enough money and that he is treated lowly.

In India, it is a tradition to wash the hands and the mouth before the meal.

Also, it is acceptable to lick the fingers as it shows the host how much the guest enjoyed the food.

If you want to return the favor to the host after a good meal, don’t say “Thank you,” instead show your gratitude by inviting the host over a dinner.

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Central and South America

It is very common for the people in Mexico to haggle over paying the bill when eating out.

In Chile, taking a second helping is offensive. You must wait for your host to offer you more food.

In most Central American countries, people do not begin to eat until the host says “Buen provecho!”

When eating in informal restaurants, summon the staff by making eye contact, waving or calling their names is impolite.

Helpful Words and Phrases When Traveling

When you travel, you interact with many different kinds of people and anywhere you travel you would always need a few basic phrases in a foreign language so you can get around. Here are some basic communication skills to help you communicate effectively when you travel to a non-English speaking country.

Italian

Boun giorno – Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon
Bouna notte – Good night
Bouna sera – Good evening
Ciao – Hi / Hello / Bye
Come sta? – How are you?
Come va – How are you?
Grazie – Thank you.
Mi dispiace – I’m sorry.
Parla inglese – Do you speak English?
Prego – You’re welcome

French

Au revoir – Goodbye
Bonjour – Hello/Good morning/afternoon
Comment allez-vous? – How are you?
Excusez-moi – Excuse me.
Est-ce que vous parlez anglais? – Do you speak English?
Est-ce que vous pouvez m’aider? – Can you help me?
Il n’y a pas de quoi – You’re welcome.
Je ne comprends pas. – I don’t understand.
Merci – Thank you.
Oui/Non- Yes/No

Chinese

Nǐ hǎo ma? – How are you?
Xièxie. – Thank you.
Duìbuqǐ- I’m sorry.
Hěn gāoxìng rènshì nǐ. – Nice to meet you.
Zàijiàn – Goodbye.
Nǐ hui4 shūo yīngyǔ ma? – Do you speak English?
Zǎo ān. – Good morning.
Wǒ tīng bu4 dǒng. – I don’t understand.

Japanese

Arigatu – Thank you.
Hai – Yes.
Dōitashimashite. – You’re welcome.
Gomennasai. – I am sorry.
Konbanwa. – Good evening.
O-negai shimasu. – Please
Ohayō gozaimasu. – Good morning.
O-namae wa nan desu ka. – What is your name?
O-genki desu ka. – How are you?
Wakarimasen. – I don’t understand.

Spanish

Buenos dias – Good morning.
Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
Buenas noches – Good evening.
Cómo está usted? – How are you?
Mucho gusto. – Nice to meet you.
Adios – Goodbye
Hasta luego – See you later.
Que hora es? – What time is it?
De nada. – You are welcome.
Gracia – Thank you.

Tips for a Smooth Check In and Check Out at the Airport

Airports have heightened its security over the years to ensure the safety of passengers and everyone inside the place. To avoid delays, here are some tips to make your check in and check out as smoothly as possible.

  1. Avoid packing up things that are not allowed inside the airport. You can always check for the things that are prohibited or restricted with your airline.
  2. Go to the airport ahead of time. It is better to be at the airport an hour or two earlier before the flight.
  3. If you are not navigating in your home airport, check the airport map and familiarize yourself with the locations of different facilities inside the airport.
  4. It is better to weigh your bag before check-in. Many airports have installed scales, weigh your bag to make sure they are not overweight before you reach the check-in counter.
  5. In most cases, it is better to travel with carry on baggage, but if you are travelling with items unapproved for hand carrying, check them in.
  6. Before check-in, make sure to prepare all the necessary documents. Have in hand all the items and documentation you need before you fall in line.

What You Need to Know about Bar Etiquette

A bar or a pub is an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, liquor cocktails and the likes. Since bars are public drinking places, the customers here are a mixture of different races and cultures. Here are some bar etiquette that you may want to keep in mind to maintain a friendly atmosphere among the people inside a bar.

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1.Bring cash. If you are alone in a bar and having only a drink, you should pay in cash. You are wasting the bartender’s time and delaying his tip if you’re not.

2.Don’t ask the bartender to give you a little extra. Most bars measure their shots and drinks. They have rules with regards to the amount of serving and managers watch carefully if the staff follow the rules, since they make money out of beverages.

3.Don’t get attention by whistling or snapping your fingers. It is rude and insulting.

4.Don’t argue. There are times, people inside the bar would drink more than what is good for them. If you happen to be in that situation, don’t argue with the bartender. It is better to leave the bar.

5.Make sure to tip the bartender. Tip more if you’ve got a better service.