International Travel Tips

Read these 3 International Travel Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Adventure Travel tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Tipping Abroad

Traveling to a foreign country can be intimidating, and trying to follow the correct protocol for things like tipping can be downright confusing. Some countries require tips while others automatically add it through service charges. Tipping is not required in some places, and in a country like Japan, tipping can even be considered an insult.

To avoid an international incident, the traveler’s best bet is to do a little research before departure to see what the rules are for tipping at their destination. If it’s not possible to check beforehand, hotel concierges are a great source of information. In a tight spot, simply observing how others around you are handling the situation works too.

Try to have a small amount of local currency when you arrive at you destination so that you are able to tip taxi drivers, concierges, and anyone else who offers you a service. Pay for souvenirs and food with larger bills so that you have change left over for tipping.

Experts suggest tipping between 5 to 10 percent to anyone who offers you a service in countries where tipping is expected. The following service people usually require tips:

  • Restaurant Staff

  • Hotel Staff

  • Drivers

  • Tour Guides

  • Activity Directors (Scuba Instructors, etc.)

  • Salon Workers

  • Childcare Staff

  • Restroom Attendants

  • Locals who pose for pictures or give directions

What if I get into trouble overseas?

What To Do When You're In Trouble Abroad

Here's an international travel tip. * If you are a US citizen and find yourself in a jam overseas, you have options. The Office of American Services and Crisis Management (ACS) exists to serve Americans traveling or residing abroad. ACS supports the work of US overseas embassies and consulates by providing emergency services to Americans in cases of arrest, death, crime victimization, repatriation, medical evacuation, temporary financial assisance, and welfare-and-whereabouts cases. They also operate 24-hour Duty Officer Programs and Crisis Response Teams who work on task forces convened to deal with natural or man-made disasters.

How can the US Embassy keep me safe while traveling abroad?

STEP Abroad with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The US Government established STEP for US citizens who travel or live in a foreign country, so they can register their whereabouts with the US Embassy. Sign up for this free service so you keep in contact with the Embassy in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, death or political uprising. You can access your STEP account online from anywhere that has internet. STEP also allows you to receive updates including travel alerts and travel warnings from the US Government about any particular country. Also, if your family in the US needs to contact you, such as in the case of a death, they can reach you via the US Embassy thanks to the STEP system.

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