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Tipping in Switzerland and Austria

Switzerland Austria tips tipping service charges

ABOVE: The days when you'd tip with Schilling notes are gone; Austria belongs to the euro currency zone.

When to tip, and how much to give, are questions that worry many tourists to distraction.

First, the bad news: There are no absolute rules. Now for the good news: Again, there are no absolute rules.

The bottom line is that common sense and decency are the best guides to tipping. My own rule of thumb is: "When in doubt, overtip. An extra Franc or Schilling won't ruin my vacation budget, but a few extra coins from each customer over the course of a work day can make a big difference in earnings for a waiter, porter, or taxi driver." Whatever you do, don't worry about the old canard that you'll "lose respect" if you tip too freely. People who depend on tips for extra income are more likely to respect a generous patron than a cheapskate.

Now for some basic guidelines (not rules) on tipping in Switzerland and Austria:

Tipping in Switzerland

Restaurants. A service charge is built into menu prices (unlike in some countries, where it's tacked onto the bill). However, it's customary to round up amounts when paying the waiter or waitress if you're happy with the service. This means that you might hand the server CHF 50 for a CHF 47 meal. If you're paying by credit card, hand the server a cash tip of up to 5%.

Hotels. Tip CHF 1-2 for each bag or service rendered, depending on the class of your hotel. Except in the cheapest hotels and pensions, consider leaving CHF 1 per day for the hotel maid. In a resort hotel, you might want to leave a tip with the manager for dividing among the staff. (The amount will vary according to the length of your stay, the price of the accommodations, and your own generosity.)

Taxis. A service charge is included in Zürich cab fares; it may not be in other parts of the country. As in restaurants, round up or add 5% when you're happy with the service.

Barbers and hairdressers. Tip up to 15%.

Tipping in Austria

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