Depending on where you are from in the world, the practice of tipping varies. Tipping is expected in, for example, the United States, whereas tipping can be seen as offensive in Japan because it is considered a display of pity and wealth.
When embarking on a trip to a foreign country, it is always beneficial to understand the customs before you make the journey. Often you will encounter situations where you are unsure what to do as soon as you arrive, therefore it is best to be educated so you do not come unstuck.
It is not a mandatory requirement to tip in Argentina. Tips are not seen as a negative, in fact, they help to improve the income of workers. If you are happy with the level of service received, then leaving a tip shows gratitude and generosity and that is appreciated.
This short article divides up sectors in Argentina where tourists may encounter the opportunity to provide a tip. It is personal preference whether you choose to tip, but the recommendations in this article are based upon personal experience and local knowledge.
The tip (propina) is a common occurrence in restaurants and cafes. It’s usual that if the service was poor, then a tip isn’t necessary. As standard is a 10 per cent tip, leaving this shows that you enjoyed both the service and the food. It is not expected for you to leave more unless what you were provided with was outstanding.
Don’t be fooled when you look at the bill and see a service (cubierto) charge. This charge is not a service charge in what you may think of as a tip, it is what restaurants often use to cover the costs of bread, but some just include a cubierto charge as an extra.
Leaving a tip in a bar isn’t compulsory, but you will usually find a jar on the bar where you can leave some change.
Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but it is commonplace to round your fare up to the nearest 5 or 10, whatever you feel is most appropriate. Try to give drivers as close to the amount as possible, they don’t like changing big notes for small fares and will sometimes try to keep the change, which isn’t difficult to disagree with if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch.
For those more helpful taxi drivers who help you to unload your luggage, a little tip goes a long way.
For the tours that you pre-book, tipping is customary. Providing that you had an enjoyable day, a tip of about 10-15% would be recommended.
Many cities around Argentina, especially Buenos Aires are home to free walking tours. These free tours are usually very good, with language-specific tours leaving at different times throughout the day. At the end of your tour which can last from 1 hour to up to 3 hours, a tip is usually expected. It doesn’t need to be much, but considering what you would pay for these tours, I would say about $10USD or £8 would be generous.
I would always recommend tipping someone who helps with your luggage. Your luggage when you are away from home is your most important possession, it isn’t worth risking any damage or loss by not paying a small tip. They are grateful for anything you give them, just a few pesos per bag will do. I see it as a tip worth paying.
Car parking ‘officials’
Should you wish to hire a car, then you will without a doubt come across a parking attendant (trapito). These attendants are unofficial parking attendants who as soon as you get close to a parking space are upon you. They offer to help you park by guiding you into the space. Once you have parked, they will request pesos in exchange for guarding your parked car whilst you are away from it. It is always wise to pay these people what they are asking for, which varies depending on the currency, but it is not usually a large amount in respect for a tourist. Paying 100 pesos (June 2020, just over £1 and less than $1.50) is worth it. Failing to pay these attendants is sometimes known to result in damage being inflicted upon your vehicle, which is not ideal.
The peso is the currency in Argentina. It is difficult and unreliable to reference how much you should tip in pesos because the currency fluctuates considerably. Cards, particularly visa are accepted in most but not all places. You will find that cash is king, everyone prefers you to pay with cash because the banking system is not always trusted. For European and North America visitors carrying cash will be unusual, but you must always make sure you have some ready for whenever you need it because you will.