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Tipping in Australia

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A recent thread revisited the tipping question: is tipping the norm in Australia & if so, how to compute tips?

 

I’ll start. When I visited, i followed my usual practice of noting what the local practice was and had been. In other words, what do the locals do? Auusies (& Kiwis) do NOT tip.

 

As with many countries in Europe and in other parts of the world, the people doing jobs that Americans might assume are tip-dependant do in fact receive good living wages. Beyond this fact, it’s also just not a tipping culture.

 

When visiting many non-tipping cultures it definitely sometimes feels awkward to simply pay only the tab for what’s owed but really, if the more I examine that thought, the more I realize it’s focused too much on *my* discomfort on what’s happening. That’s the mistake.

 

Continuing to insist on tipping (or expecting to pay in US dollars or whatever) only purports to shift our own burden of discomfort onto someone else. Is it even a tip anymore at that point?

 

If it’s a non-tipping culture, you’re off the hook, no tips no worries. If it’s a culture where people do tip, well then you know what to do.

 

Lastly, when asking about tips or any topic, please remember our TOS, keeping in mind respect always for each other and hopefully kindness too.

 

Thanks as always to everyone for your wonderful contributions to the boards 😎

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Tipping is not the norm in Australia. In fact several of the cruise lines had some much protesting or low bookings that they include the dally service fee for customers booking from Australia in the base charge. So you can have passengers from Australia not adding tips and passengers from the United States having the daily service fee added.

 

Already enough tipping threats so will stick to the main question here. Again most people do not tip in this part of the World.

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A recent thread revisited the tipping question: is tipping the norm in Australia & if so, how to compute tips?

 

I’ll start. When I visited, i followed my usual practice of noting what the local practice was and had been. In other words, what do the locals do? Auusies (& Kiwis) do NOT tip.

 

As with many countries in Europe and in other parts of the world, the people doing jobs that Americans might assume are tip-dependant do in fact receive good living wages. Beyond this fact, it’s also just not a tipping culture.

 

When visiting many non-tipping cultures it definitely sometimes feels awkward to simply pay only the tab for what’s owed but really, if the more I examine that thought, the more I realize it’s focused too much on *my* discomfort on what’s happening. That’s the mistake.

 

Continuing to insist on tipping (or expecting to pay in US dollars or whatever) only purports to shift our own burden of discomfort onto someone else. Is it even a tip anymore at that point?

 

If it’s a non-tipping culture, you’re off the hook, no tips no worries. If it’s a culture where people do tip, well then you know what to do.

 

Lastly, when asking about tips or any topic, please remember our TOS, keeping in mind respect always for each other and hopefully kindness too.

 

Thanks as always to everyone for your wonderful contributions to the boards

 

After just spending a month in Aus and NZ as an American tourist, your points are all very valid. We as Americans are used to a tipping culture and we felt very uncomfortable not tipping on our trip. It was totally within our own minds. I must admit we did tip sometimes to relieve our burden and guilt- although probably not necessary. Another couple of points:

- At touristy spots and hotels catering particularly to Americans, tips were appreciated (by bellman, concierge, etc) but never really expected. Service was the same high level either way.

- In most restaurants we paid by credit card and the portable card reader was brought to our table for this - in most cases there was no line for a tip. In rare cases the server asked us if we wanted to "add anything" to the bill - but again more in touristy type establishments.

-A lot of restaurants save labor costs by the order at the counter method - you get a flag with a number and they bring your food- no tip expected.

- Restaurant bills (even fast food) were more expensive in general than what we would pay for similar food and drink in the US, even with our favorable exchange rate. So it was apparent that the labor cost was built into the price. This was very apparent when we got a surcharge of 10-15% on the bill on Sunday and holidays - when the owners have to pay higher wages.

-Taxi drivers and limo drivers will take a tip if offered, or a round up to the next largest currency - if the fare was $18 they would happily accept a $20 bill.

-In general, to ease American's guilt, people will take free money if offered, it was never refused, but never expected either.

- I think the system of the owner paying higher wages in lieu of customer tipping is a much more fair way to do it IMO.

Thanks!

Edited by TeeRick
typo

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I think you’ve summed it up just about perfectly.

 

It’s not that we don’t tip, but we don’t tip like Americans do. A few examples.

 

Taxi, I just about always round up to the next note, probably for my benefit as much as theirs, so I d9nt get a pocket full of coins.

 

Cafe, pretty much anywhere that I order and pay at the counter, nope.

 

Now a few weeks ago had dad’s birthday at a local cafe, they took our orders at the table, there were about 20 of us, almost everyone wanted to tweet their order, you know, no tomato on my burger, no cucumber on my salad with my steak, berbaise sauce instead of whatever was the sauce on the menu, that sort of thing. Then at the end you went and paid your own bill, I know I gave the staff $10 extra (on a bill of about $55) b-i-l did too and perhaps others. If they’d bought one bill to the table everyone would have just rounded up I suspect, so I’d have kicked in $60 or $70.

 

Minimum adult wage is about $17 an hour, then there are penalty rates for certain shifts.

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Thanks for the info. We'll be spending a month in November.

 

How about hotel rooms for daily service?

 

Thanks.

Edited by nmg222

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Thanks for the info. We'll be spending a month in November.

 

How about hotel rooms for daily service?

 

Thanks.

 

 

I used to work in hotels many lifetimes ago, could count on one hand the number of times anyone got a tip, other than room service and even that was rare.

 

Please understand if you give a tip it’s unlikely it will be declined, but if you don’t it won’t effect your service either.

 

Now there may be a few positions you are used to tipping that don’t exist here, one that springs to mind is bell boy, very few hotels here have one, people take their own bags to their room.

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Great information.. Thanks to all who posted. I can feel my guilt subsiding already.. :D

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Great information.. Thanks to all who posted. I can feel my guilt subsiding already.. :D

No guilt needed.

 

But if you do tip, please keep them reasonable, unfortunately in some tourist areas your fellow country men don’t seem able to restrain themselves and some (a tine minority so far) start to expect it.

 

As I said base adult wage is $17 or $18 an hour, with some penalty rates on top (that’s changing so I’m not going to try and go into it) and that base wage doesn’t matter what you do waiter, secretary, road worker, receptionist the minimum adult wage is at least that. Of course some awards and many jobs pay more.

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No guilt needed.

 

But if you do tip, please keep them reasonable, unfortunately in some tourist areas your fellow country men don’t seem able to restrain themselves and some (a tine minority so far) start to expect it.

 

As I said base adult wage is $17 or $18 an hour, with some penalty rates on top (that’s changing so I’m not going to try and go into it) and that base wage doesn’t matter what you do waiter, secretary, road worker, receptionist the minimum adult wage is at least that. Of course some awards and many jobs pay more.

I promise.. I'll only round up a taxi fare or give a small token for exemplary restaurant service.

 

How about the porters at the dock? I'm guessing they're nothing like the guys in Florida who will threaten bodily harm if you don't tip them? lol

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You need to understand something here Australia is not United States, yes both first World Counties, but then the comparisons start to stop. I never lived in Australia but have spent time as a tourist and as a guest of friends in their homes.

 

The workers have pride in the jobs they do. They do not believe they should be rewarded for just doing the job they agreed to do. A taxi driver takes you from A to B and quotes a fare, that is the payment. If you want to give something extra, yes happy to take but they really do not seem to judge.

 

In my opinion when you tip in Australia it is more about you acknowledging that the person provide great service. And while yes they are happy to take the money the acknowledgment of the service is just as important. I would never tip in AU as I would in the United States as my local friends would see that as a insult to the standards they practice.

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As I said base adult wage is $17 or $18 an hour, with some penalty rates on top (that’s changing so I’m not going to try and go into it) and that base wage doesn’t matter what you do waiter, secretary, road worker, receptionist the minimum adult wage is at least that. Of course some awards and many jobs pay more.

 

Although you noted it as "adult" each time, that only applies from 21 years old. Under that age the rate falls substantially and many restaurant workers (where tips and tourists would be most relevant) are under that age so will get less.

 

Further, there's been an ongoing scandal that many staff in restaurants are getting less than the award rate in any case, so it's not as clear cut as above.

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You need to understand something here Australia is not United States, yes both first World Counties, but then the comparisons start to stop. I never lived in Australia but have spent time as a tourist and as a guest of friends in their homes.

 

The workers have pride in the jobs they do. They do not believe they should be rewarded for just doing the job they agreed to do. A taxi driver takes you from A to B and quotes a fare, that is the payment. If you want to give something extra, yes happy to take but they really do not seem to judge.

 

In my opinion when you tip in Australia it is more about you acknowledging that the person provide great service. And while yes they are happy to take the money the acknowledgment of the service is just as important. I would never tip in AU as I would in the United States as my local friends would see that as a insult to the standards they practice.

 

 

 

Also, in Australia and NZ employees are paid at least the minimum wage which legislated for.

I would not see it as an insult if anybody tipped here the same they do in States though. This is personal choice. Although tipping is not expected it is ALWAYS appreciated.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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How about hotel rooms for daily service?
It really is no tipping needed, anywhere, for anything. The instant that you start thinking "Do I need to tip for this?" or "Should I be tipping?", you are letting your own (totally unnecessary) guilt and discomfort gnaw away at you.

 

In particular, in some tipping cultures people are conditioned to think that if they don't tip, they are bad people - and that others will think that they are bad people. That's the social conditioning that leads to that guilt and discomfort. But there really is no need for it, because nobody will think that you're a bad person for doing something that there is absolutely no legal, moral or social obligation or expectation to do.

 

Host Bonjour has summed it up perfectly - thank you.

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Well, well. Those new payment machines presented tableside that have a tip line or percentage tip pre-set option. That's cheeky. Service charges are already built in the menu prices. You may feel pressured into tipping above and beyond this.

Ignore it. I tip cash if I feel like it and the service was great. I found up if I feel like it. I refuse to be bullied into tipping.

Oh, one thing in Australia that REALLY gets my blood boiling is the refusal of Australian restaurants, cafes etc to split bills. They always let customers work out their own share of the bill.

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I promise.. I'll only round up a taxi fare or give a small token for exemplary restaurant service.

 

How about the porters at the dock? I'm guessing they're nothing like the guys in Florida who will threaten bodily harm if you don't tip them? lol

 

Another interesting question so here are my personal observations. For embarkation, when we dropped off our luggage (in Perth) at the cruise terminal, no tipping was expected. They just took our bags. When we disembarked in Sydney, it was very noticeable that there were hardly any porters at all as compared to FL ports or Cape Liberty, NJ. Truly hard to find a porter - and those few that were there were helping handicapped or very elderly passengers. I think this relates directly to a tipping culture in the US where numerous porters at the dock make very good money on tips. In AUS, the port both hires and pays the porters so having very few of them controls their budget and labor cost.

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Another interesting question so here are my personal observations. For embarkation, when we dropped off our luggage (in Perth) at the cruise terminal, no tipping was expected. They just took our bags. When we disembarked in Sydney, it was very noticeable that there were hardly any porters at all as compared to FL ports or Cape Liberty, NJ. Truly hard to find a porter - and those few that were there were helping handicapped or very elderly passengers. I think this relates directly to a tipping culture in the US where numerous porters at the dock make very good money on tips. In AUS, the port both hires and pays the porters so having very few of them controls their budget and labor cost.

 

Spot on. I noticed in the US service staff all sorts of places where there's an opportunity for someone to pay them to do something e.g. washrooms, airports, railway stations (redcaps) and so on. Here, people are only paid to do their job, so they're only paid where that job is really required.

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Well, well. Those new payment machines presented tableside that have a tip line or percentage tip pre-set option. That's cheeky. Service charges are already built in the menu prices. You may feel pressured into tipping above and beyond this.

 

Ignore it. I tip cash if I feel like it and the service was great. I found up if I feel like it. I refuse to be bullied into tipping.

 

Oh, one thing in Australia that REALLY gets my blood boiling is the refusal of Australian restaurants, cafes etc to split bills. They always let customers work out their own share of the bill.

 

 

 

Not sure I understand - do you mean to have more than one bill per table? This is not common in NZ either. But they will be happy to calculate for you for what you pay - no problems

 

 

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Well, well. Those new payment machines presented tableside that have a tip line or percentage tip pre-set option. That's cheeky. Service charges are already built in the menu prices. You may feel pressured into tipping above and beyond this.

Ignore it. I tip cash if I feel like it and the service was great. I found up if I feel like it. I refuse to be bullied into tipping.

Oh, one thing in Australia that REALLY gets my blood boiling is the refusal of Australian restaurants, cafes etc to split bills. They always let customers work out their own share of the bill.

 

I think someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday.

 

The payment machines have set software that has the tip line/percentage built into the POS system (world wide software set for international markets). It is not a ploy by cafes/restaurants to gauge tips out of customers.

 

The shared bill (but itemised) is quite common as most tables with a group of people have shared items like bottles of wine or appetisers/starters/shared seafood platter so it's not up to the restaurant to decide who pays for what, the customers decide that (won't take long to calculate a few items).

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Well, well. Those new payment machines presented tableside that have a tip line or percentage tip pre-set option. That's cheeky. Service charges are already built in the menu prices. You may feel pressured into tipping above and beyond this.

Ignore it. I tip cash if I feel like it and the service was great. I found up if I feel like it. I refuse to be bullied into tipping.

Oh, one thing in Australia that REALLY gets my blood boiling is the refusal of Australian restaurants, cafes etc to split bills. They always let customers work out their own share of the bill.

 

We were able to split bills with other couples in Australia no problem.

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This thread made me wonder what is appropriate for tour guides. Do you tip the guide or is the price of the tour all that's expected?

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This thread made me wonder what is appropriate for tour guides. Do you tip the guide or is the price of the tour all that's expected?

 

 

 

The answer is it is not expected. We have never tipped for tours in Australia. Occasionally an American in a group would do so, but even that did not seem to be a widespread trend. By any means - if you have a great guide and you want to remunerate them - go ahead!

 

 

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This thread made me wonder what is appropriate for tour guides. Do you tip the guide or is the price of the tour all that's expected?

 

"No tipping" means "no tipping". Nowhere, no time, nobody, nada, zilch, nicht, etc.

 

A heartfelt "Thank you" is all you need to give your guide.

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"No tipping" means "no tipping". Nowhere, no time, nobody, nada, zilch, nicht, etc.

 

A heartfelt "Thank you" is all you need to give your guide.

 

 

 

Exactly.

 

Sometimes I wonder what the point of any of us saying "no tipping - full stop" is when posters just keep responding with "what about this occupation", "what about this employee?"

 

No means no. It's really not complex.

 

If someone performs the Heimlich manoeuvre or CPR on you - say thank you and buy them a drink.

 

Everyone else is doing their job. Most of those people you are patronising by jamming cash into their hand are actually earning more than you the traveller. Yes - that includes your quaintly termed "bellboy" and "porter".

 

As I said to someone a while back - if you are that compelled to throw your money away - there are plenty of homeless people on the streets of the ports you are visiting. Every time you start to feel an urge to tip - give it to one of them.

 

 

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Thanks for the clarification regarding tour guides. My goal is to follow local customs wherever I am, so the input on the boards is invaluable.

 

BTW, although "no" may mean no, there were plenty of exceptions noted above - rounding up the bill at a restaurant or for taxi fare, so it's not that obvious for a non-Australian.

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A few years ago we had a long talk with some friends who live in Australia and New Zealand and they recommended not tipping for most things that we as Americans are used to so we followed the advice.

 

Whether right or wrong he recommended a small tip if dining at a very nice restaurant with terrific service.

 

Otherwise no tipping.

 

Like Europe we found that there was a fee noted often on the restaurant bills.

 

We spent close to 10 days in Sydney visiting family in February who are living there for the next few years.

 

We never tipped. Being with the family when we did dine out it was casual places.

 

Now a few years ago when our friends first walked us though this we were on a cruise and we had some private tours set up and didn't tip and at first felt awkward but this time around we did not because it truly was not expected.

 

The reality is we found prices to be higher in Australia for goods and services compared to the USA and thinking it through it makes sense as the taxes are already included in the pricing and my perception is the salaries are higher in Australia to take into account things such as generally no tips.

 

Personally I wish we could do this in the USA.

 

I am reminded that in the USA tipping is expected in restaurants. What is interesting is that the amount of wage that those working in the industry make can vary by state. As such people in some states make a lot more per hour then their counterparts in other states yet most people will tip the same percentage and not take that into account.

 

I found the service in Australia to be the same or at times better then the USA so this idea that tipping translates to better service I think is not correct.

 

Either way we do our best to tip or not tip based on what the local customs are. The challenge is sometimes like most things there are different opinions on it.

 

Keith

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