Courtney Allan

Travel Trouble

Why this Aussie traveller didn’t tip when they headed overseas

Why this Aussie traveller didn’t tip when they headed overseas

In the US where wages are so low that tipping supplements their income, refusing to tip while travelling overseas is highly frowned upon.

However, one Australian woman refused to buy into the practice of tipping at all while she was in the United States for two weeks and then headed on a four-month trip to South America.

“I had started the first leg of my five-month trip and was on a very tight budget,” Natasha Cameron, 26, said told

“I was also uncertain as to how much was acceptable to tip. For some of the trip we bought from the supermarket and takeaway to avoid having to worry about tipping and having that awkward encounter. I had saved for years to go on this trip and was not working for the duration of the holiday, so every last penny really did count.”

As tipping in Australia is culturally looked upon as an extra amount for doing a good job, it’s not surprising that Aussies don’t follow the cultural trends while travelling overseas.

However, Cameron said that she never felt pressured into tipping. 

“People in the US are really friendly to Aussie travellers, so I never felt pressured into tipping,” she said.

“However, I myself did feel guilty and would often second-guess myself. There were occasions where I left a small tip. I think being a tourist and sometimes not understanding the tipping etiquette can impact perceptions and attitudes.”

With tipping factors into labour laws in the US, tipping can make or break a servers’ night. However, it needs to be changed, according to Cameron.

“I think (this) definitely does need to change and starts with the restaurant owners,” she said. “There is often a tax on top of the bill, so with tipping as well, it really does add up.

“As someone who has worked in restaurants and cafes growing up, I do believe (Australian) wages are great by comparison to other countries. While I did appreciate a tip from time to time, I did not expect it and therefore don’t think people should.

“If the service is exceptional and someone has gone out of their way to help me, then I think it is a great way of showing gratitude.”