Somewhere in the Republic of Moldova.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Three months ago today, we arrived in England. Since then, we've also been in Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. And, we've eaten in more restaurants in the last three months than we have in the last three years!

So we've been put into situations where you wonder how much of a tip you're supposed to leave, if anything at all. And it turns out that it is quite a bit different in each country, even the smaller countries that share borders.

When in Canada, we simply don't go to restaurants. It's far too expensive and we don't see the value. We have occasionally gone to restaurants while traveling through the United States, but even then it's not a common thing for us to do. In Mexico, we do eat out sometimes because the price to do so is reasonable.

Personally, I'm not a big believer in tipping. I wish the whole practice was abolished and that people were just paid a fair wage by their employer according to the job that they do. I notice that in Iceland (visiting there next month!) tipping is not customary and is never expected. Having said that, we are unlikely to be visiting many restaurants because it is so expensive in Iceland!

So we learned that in England, you are expected to leave a tip of 10%  if you are in an actual restaurant, or in the restaurant section of a pub. If you are in a pub for lunch and a drink, and you have ordered it yourself at the bar, then no tip is required or expected.

In Czech Republic, it is common that you would round up your bill, and that usually results in your leaving a 5% to 10% tip. It's also easier in the change department. If your bill was 280 korunas, you just leave 300. It was similar in Slovakia, although no tip was expected. It was totally optional and you would not have been out of line to leave no tip at all.

Then in Hungary, it goes totally the other way. Tipping is customary, and pretty much expected at around the  10% to 15% level. But, you never simply leave the money on the table. When you pay the bill, you leave the money with the waiter directly.

In Mexico, it's getting a little messed up because of the influence from Canadians and Americans visiting the country and doing things the same way they would back home. For example, you would not normally tip a taxi driver in Mexico unless he does something special. Or the guy pumping your fuel, unless he cleans your windshield, or checks your tire pressure. Seems that sometimes they expect a tip because you're a foreigner, where a local would never be expected to leave a tip for the same service.

Another thing I don't agree with is the percentage thing. The person working in the cheaper restaurant where the bill is $40 probably worked just as hard as the person working in the more expensive restaurant where the bill is $80. So if you're leaving 15%, why does the guy in the cheaper restaurant make less money? I don't really get that.

Anyhow, enough about that. Here's some pictures from our walk yesterday...

Got a nice view from up this hill.

See that mound in the middle left?

It's apparently where Ewyas Harold Castle used to stand. I'm going to find out more about that another day!

Harvey loves the water.

Even when it's very muddy water! It's a good thing he doesn't mind getting rinsed off back at the house.

Ruth and the sheep. They were funny. At first they would run away, but then they started following us. Harvey just looks at them...not interested at all. Chasing them would take far too much effort!


  1. I may have shared the story with you about being in a Scottish pub with friends and leaving a tip at the bar after paying for a round of drinks. My wife's uncle picked up the money and handed it back to me saying that they don't do that...I took him as just being cheap (Scottish trait lol) and put it back on the bar.

    Shortly after taking our seats, the bartender came over to our table and handed the money back to me. lol

  2. Thanks for the insights. It seems tipping is getting more prevalent in the world. I am not sure if it is good or bad, but people should get paid a decent base wage to start and tipping should always be an extra. Some parts of the world that's not the case though now.

  3. I hear Australia is another country where tipping is not required. Never understood how the system works, as you have said, why not just pay a regular wage?

    I don't tip someone for pumping my gas, a taxi never. Airport taxis that bring me home expect a tip. The company they work for just charged me 50 dollars (airport taxis in Mexico are a mafia), go ask them for more pay or a better share of the charge. People choose their work, if you're not well-paid or expect more, change your job. I always thought being a waiter was for school kids anyway.

    10% is my maximum.

  4. I tip according to the service we get. I'll over tip if someone is extra helpful or cheerful or very attentive without being intrusive. But I'll leave a small tip or none at all if the service is lousy. But the only folks we tip are restaurant servers and hair dresser.

  5. Going out to eat is something I just don't do anymore. So, the tipping issue has now been solved for me. I used to tip the barber until I found out he owns his business and process enough people each day so he gets about $100 to the hour.

  6. Love the header pic today - looks picture perfect! That Harvey is a hoot!

  7. Back to the land of the green!


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