June 6, 2013— -- Americans have a reputation for being generous tippers when traveling abroad. Sometimes it's attributed to our culture of tipping, but just as often it's attributed to a lack of knowledge about local tipping practices.
And ask restaurant servers in the U.S. if they'd prefer a table of Americans or a table of Europeans in their sections, and far more often than not you'll find they prefer the Americans, simply because Europeans aren't known to tip well when traveling in the States.
Unless, apparently, they're German.
A new survey of 9,000 people in eight countries revealed that Germans -- not Americans -- were the best tippers of the nations surveyed. Americans came in second.
"Tipping is a cultural norm in the States, and U.S. travelers have a tendency to take their customs on the road whether they are on American soil or traveling abroad," said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor.
It's not as commonplace in Europe, where the gratuity or service charge is often already included in the bill.
Only 16 percent of U.S. respondents said they always felt they were informed about how much to leave. Which may contribute to our reputation for overtipping outside the U.S.
Of the eight nations surveyed, the Italians came in last place. Only 23 percent of those surveyed said they always tipped while on vacation, compared with 69 percent of Germans and 57 percent of Americans.
Germans – 69%
Americans – 57%
Russians – 53%
Brazilians – 40%
French – 39%
Brits – 39%
Spanish – 36%
Italians – 23%
For some Americans, tipping brings trouble: Sixteen percent of U.S. respondents said they'd been asked to leave a tip by staff, 9 percent said they'd been confronted about a tip, and 3 percent said that a tipping situation had ruined their vacation.