As you travel, the polite amount of money to tip varies from country to country. If you're visiting Thailand, here's what you need to know about tips.
Tipping in Restaurants
For meals at restaurants, it is polite to tip 10 percent of your total bill. If the service has been exceptional, you can tip up to 15 percent, which would be considered very generous. Many high-end restaurants and hotels add a 10 percent service charge to the bill automatically, so make sure to check the bill first or ask if service is included.
Many people just round up or add on a 10 or 20 baht tip for a typical meal. If the restaurant is inexpensive, it may be appropriate to just round up and leave the change. Some Thai people do not tip at all, although it is becoming much more common. It's generally better to air on the side of polite, especially when you are the visitor.
Tipping in Hotels and Beyond
Bell hops, porters, service people and others who carry things for you should also be tipped. There are no hard and fast rules for this, but 20 baht per bag is sufficient.
Although exchange rates vary, 1 U.S. dollar is roughly 34 Thai baht. So a 20 baht tip would be only about 60 cents.
Housekeepers generally don't expect to be tipped, but they will appreciate a 20 to 50 baht tip in an envelope left for them.
Massage therapists, spa technicians, and salon employees should also be tipped 10 percent or more. Fifteen percent is more appropriate for a Thai massage, especially if the therapist works hard and you enjoy the service.
In salons or spas where there are multiple people providing services, you should tip each person individually. Hotel spas and salons usually add a 10 percent service charge so, as in restaurants, ask first.
Don't forget to tip a tour guide, if you book a private tour in Thailand. How much you leave is up to you, based on service.
Tipping Your Taxi
Most people round up their taxi fare (so, for a 52 baht fare the driver would get 60 baht) and tip additionally for drivers who help with luggage or bags.
Tip: Know a fair rate for your distance and make sure you agree on your taxi fare before you get in the cab. This will help you make sure you don't get taken advantage of. Count and prepare your money in advance so you can quickly give it to the driver. If the service is not good, it is not expected that you leave a tip.
Where Not to Tip in Thailand
You typically won't tip a street food vendor, a sales associate in a store, a cashier or sometimes even a bartender, if you go up to the bar, order and retrieve your own drinks.
Other Thoughts on Tips
Service staff appreciates tips in cash. Whenever possible, give the tip directly to the person who helped you to assure he or she actually receives it.