Tipping norms vary dramatically from country to country, and this can be a massive source of anxiety for travellers. Understanding the tipping nuances of the places you visit can avoid awkward situations and ensure you don’t cause offence.
When it comes to tipping in Germany, there isn’t a hard and fast rule. This guide can help you understand tipping norms and avoid a potentially disastrous social faux pas.
So, should you tip in Germany?
As a general rule, yes, you should tip in restaurants and any other hospitality sector. However, tips are usually lower than you would pay in North America. Generally, you will tip around 10 %. However, if the service is outstanding, you can tip a little more.
The German word for a tip even points to the fact that it isn’t meant to be a huge amount. Tjinkgeld literally translates to ‘drink money’, signifying that bonuses will amount to enough to buy a drink or two. This is primarily because German servers are mostly paid minimum wage and thus do not rely solely on their tips to earn an income. While tips are, of course, a “nice to have” bonus and a fantastic way to express appreciation, they aren’t the only income source.
Oftentimes, people will round up the amount to the nearest note or round figure. So, if you buy a coffee and a snack for €7.60, you might hand the sever a 10 Euro bill and say, “9 Euros.” This keeps things simple and shows your gratitude.
Tipping by Industry
Here is a rough guide to tipping norms in popular tourism sectors.
In restaurants: Usually, you will tip around 10 % of your bill. Some restaurants might include a service charge. This will be labelled as bedienung. So check if it’s marked on the bill before adding your tip. When you are ready to pay, ask the waiter for “Die Rechnung Bitte”. Usually, they will bring it as soon as you ask and expect immediate payment. So get out your wallet and calculator beforehand so you can figure out the tip then and there.
In hotels: Tipping in hotels isn’t as common as in some other destinations. That being said, many people do it and it is of course very much appreciated. You can tip concierges one or two euros for carrying your bags and leave housekeepers a couple of euros per night for cleaning your room. If the concierge goes above and beyond – planning trips and booking reservations – you can also leave them a tip at the end of your stay (up to 20 Euros.)
In Taxis: Tipping taxi drivers isn’t expected; however, like any other sector, it is hugely appreciated. If you have a great experience (like a driver who loads your bags, gives you top travel recommendations, or loads your child’s car seat), you can leave a 10 % tip.
On Tours: There are loads of tours in Germany. When embarking on an all-inclusive day tour, it is usually expected to pay the guide around 10 %, especially if they provide a stellar outing and first-class entertainment. You’ll usually tip around 5 euros or more if you’re attending a free walking tour.
The Takeaway On Tips
As a general rule, tipping will always be appreciated. Tipping around 10 % is a safe bet and will be valued in various sectors. If someone really goes above and beyond, you can show appreciation with a bigger tip. The tourism sector was hit particularly hard during the cOVID-19 pandemic, so naturally, a little can go a long way as hospitality staff get back on their feet.
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