The Etiquette of Tipping

Travelling across the globe is a great way to discover exotic regions and broaden your cultural horizons. However, whilst exploring the far corners of the globe it is important to respect the local customs!

For instance, the acceptable practices for tipping hospitality staff can vary greatly depending upon the country to which you are travelling. As the Secret Traveller highlights, whereas countries such as the United States of America often tip staff between 15% and 20% for their services, in countries such as Japan the mere act of tipping can be regarded as offensive! Therefore, if you are about to travel abroad and wish to avoid committing any cultural faux-pas, then here are some helpful hints on tipping etiquette for several tourist hotspots;

United States of America: From waiters in restaurants and taxi drivers to bellhops and housekeeping within hotels, across the United States of America you should tip staff for their services. Whereas you should tip your server between 15% and 20% depending upon the quality of your service, housekeepers should be tipped between $2 and $5 per day whilst bellhops and concierge should be tipped between $2 and $10 for each additional service that they provide; from carrying your bags to your room to providing room service and securing difficult tickets or reservations.

Africa: From Algeria to Zimbabwe, unless a service charge is included within your bill, it is generally expected for tourists travelling to Africa to leave between 10% and 15% of the total bill as a tip in restaurants, bars and other hospitality establishments.

Europe: Tipping etiquette across Europe can vary depending upon the particular country you visit, but as a rule it is acceptable to tip between 10% and 15%. For instance, in Spanish restaurants it is common for customers to tip between 7% and 15% of the total bill depending upon the quality of the service provided. Alternatively, in France, your restaurant bill will mostly likely have a ‘service compris’ added which indicates that a service charge has been included within your bill to serve as a tip. However, if you were particularly pleased with your meal or if there is no ‘service compris’ added to your bill then it is acceptable to leave a 10% to 20% tip.

Although many other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and China do not have the same tipping culture as other countries, if in doubt it is recommended that you provide a modest gratuity as a show of appreciation for services rendered. As Saskia Welman of Holiday Lettings advises;

“If you haven’t managed to research acceptable tipping advice for your destination, keep an eye out on what other tourists around you are tipping”.

Ultimately, by utilising travel guides and additional online resources to research the tipping etiquette of the countries to which you will be travelling before departing, you can avoid inadvertently causing offense due to tipping etiquette whilst abroad!

3 Reasons Why I’d Like To Visit Bali Someday

One sunny Sunday afternoon, I was walking along Southbank and stumbled upon a tourism event solely dedicated to promoting Indonesia. The event was filled with shops that sell Indonesian-related goods, food, performances, and mascots. I went inside one of the tents, curious to know what Indonesia has to offer, and met an Indonesian girl who’s working for the tourism board. Right on the spot, she interviewed me if I’ve been to Indonesia and I bashfully said no. I did say, however, that I plan to visit in the near future, particularly Bali. She wondered why Bali and I told her it’s because I love being near the ocean.  The ocean always has a profound yet positive effect on me (legit mermaid!). A few minutes later, she thanked me and gave me a book about Indonesia as a token. Sweet! The whole conversation inspired me to write a blog post about Bali and why I’d like to visit it. So, here are my reasons why I (and you) should visit Bali, Indonesia.

3 Reasons Why I’d Like To Visit Bali Someday

1. Kuta Beach

There are many beaches in Bali, all you have to do is choose. Kuta Beach, however, is Bali’s most famous beach resort destination. I guess, Kuta is comparable to Boracay’s popularity. It’s also an ideal place for beginners to surf! I’ve tried surfing before and it’s an amazing experience that I recommend people to try at least once. Anyway, since Kuta is quite famous, it’s best to assume accommodations will be expensive at the beach front. To save money, it’s highly encouraged to stay away from the beach front. Some hotels, like the Fontana Hotel Bali (which you book via Traveloka.com), is relatively near to both the beach and other attractions, such as the Dream Museum Zone (DMZ), a 3D Trick Art Museum.

3 Reasons Why I’d Like To Visit Bali Someday

2. Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple is a Balinese sea temple that is built at the edge of a cliff. Since I’ve never been here, I’m clueless on what to expect but the cliffside in Uluwatu reminds me of the Carrick-a-Rede in Northern Ireland. I love Carrick-a-Rede, it’s my favorite spot during my Belfast Tour and the fact I’m comparing it to Uluwatu is a clear indication that this place is a must-visit!

3 Reasons Why I’d Like To Visit Bali Someday

3. The Tegal Wangi Beach

It’s a secluded and quiet beach that requires a little bit of effort to get to, but it’s worth it. The place is perfect for people who want to relax, fish, and gaze at the sunset. But that’s not really what attracted me to this place. In this beach, there are small holes that resemble a jacuzzi. You can soak in these holes and watch the view of the ocean.

And those are my top 3 reasons why I’d like to visit Bali someday. I’m sure there are more places to see in Bali that is not beach-related, and that’s the whole point of visiting a place: to learn, to fall in love, and to live. If you haven’t been to Bali, I hope this post was able to inspire you to start planning your next trip. If you’ve been there, do share your favorite spots!

Photo Sources: @melissackoh, @hamburgermagazine@unicloh@balilivin (can’t seem to find the original poster)

5 Adventurous Ways To Enjoy The UK

The United Kingdom is known for a lot of things including historic sites, wonderful cities, beautiful natural areas, vibrant culture, great football, and more. But for more adventurous travellers, or those simply looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush or a more active tourist experience, the typical landmarks and vacation checklists may not be what you’re looking for. In other words, seeing Big Ben in London might be wonderful, but it might not mean as much to the adventurous traveller if you can’t climb it!

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any kind of VIP access that allows you to scale Big Ben. But focusing on more reasonable pursuits, I do have a few fun adventures to recommend throughout the UK.

1. Hiking at Scafell Pike

The Lake District in the northwest of England is a popular stop for tourists venturing outside of London, simply because it’s about as beautiful a place as you can find in Europe. Designated as a national park and consisting of a range of picturesque peaks, valleys, and glacial lakes, it’s an inspiring location to say the least. It’s also a wonderful place for adventurers to visit, as it’s full of scenic and challenging hikes, but nothing so difficult or dangerous as to require guided tours or rock climbing equipment. Scafell Pike is the highest peak in the district, and actually in all of England, and the Walking Englishman blog provides a thorough look at the task of scaling it. Ultimately it’s more hike than climb, but as you’ll see there’s plenty of scrambling over rocky areas to keep you challenged.

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Processed with VSCO with a10 preset

2. Take In A Horse Race

There are plenty of major sporting events that can occupy your attention throughout any given year in the UK. But none suit an adventurous spirit quite so well as the major horse racing festivals that take place each spring. The first of these events (the Cheltenham Festival) has already wrapped up for 2016, so the country is now gearing up for the Grand National. And for those unfamiliar with the event, Betfair’s section on horse racing has outlined the the event for anyone who assumes it’s just another horse race. At the Grand National, there are multiple days of high profile races, with champagne bars and on-site restaurants, fashion shows, and of course frequent betting activity to keep spectators engaged. It truly is as much a festival as a sporting event, and arguably the most enjoyable of the major spring races in the UK.

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LOOKOUT POINT LOS Processed with VSCO with c9 preset

3. Sailing in Hampshire

The UK is pretty big on its sailing, and though the weather can be difficult at times and the English Channel can make for some challenging seamanship, it’s also considered to be a good place to learn. For a more relaxing experience you can look into sailing down the River Thames through London. But as noted by First Sail’s write-up of where to sail in the UK, the Solent in Hampshire is tough to beat. Somewhat sheltered from the open expanse of the English Channel by the Isle of Wight, it’s a perfect place to learn as well as a fun place to get out and do some more ambitious sailing for those who are able.

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4. Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Sticking with activities on the water, sea kayaking in Scotland may be about as adventurous an activity as you can find in the UK. It was recommended at The Independent’s travel section as one of the best UK adventure breaks, and specifically it was pointed out that for a £650 per-person fee you can even take a five night expedition through the Summer Isles. That particular venture involves touring sandy beaches and deserted islands, in addition to a great deal of kayaking for which you’ll need to be fit. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly a memorable experience.

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

5. Ballooning in the Cotswolds

Perhaps second only to the Lake District, the Cotswolds region is recognised as one of the most beautiful natural areas in the UK. Filled with the rolling hills and small villages that many think of when they imagine the UK, it’s a place that some visitors enjoy even driving through for sightseeing purposes. But why drive when you could float through the air? As stated at the Ballooning in the Cotswolds site, you can essentially take a tour through the air (with champagne) over this stunning region. It may not be physically exerting, but there aren’t many activities that feel as adventurous as being suspended in mid-air over a vast countryside.