How to Tip in Romania: When, who and how much to tip

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the tipping etiquette in Romania. You will better understand if tipping is required here, how much to tip and and who to tip, plus various other things that will help you during your stay here.

During my travels, I realized that each country has its own tipping etiquette and applying what works in your country might not be a good idea in a different one.

Without knowing exactly how much is considered enough, you can end up tipping less or much more than what you’re expected. While the latter won’t upset those you tip, if you really want to say “Thank you” to somebody for their service, you should know how much to tip.

But enough with the intros! Let’s start answering your questions and we’ll start with the most important one.

How much should you tip in Romania?

As a golden rule of thumb, you should know that tipping around 10% of the bill in Romania is considered a good tip. If you are really happy with the service, you can go up to 15%, which will be even more appreciated.

But in reality, every person living in Romania will have their own strategy when it comes to tipping and how much to tip, so we can say that the “appropriate” amount is something that you feel – not exact numbers, as strange as it might sound.

It also depends greatly on where you are and what type of service you are tipping for. While tipping in restaurants and bars is basically mandatory, you’re not expected to tip in the local supermarket or when buying clothes, for example.

When it comes to restaurants and pubs, we could say that most people stick by the 10% rule. This means that you should tip an amount equal to 10% of your bill. This will be considered enough in all places and nobody will feel offended.

Remember that most people working in restaurants work on minimum wage (which is very low in Romania) and they’re basically expecting tips as part of their income. So if you can tip – even more than 10% – it will be greatly appreciated.

Some places will have a tip jar to make it easier for you to tip.

But there are other services that you are expected to tip for – or at least it is appreciated and many people do.

Whenever I get stuff delivered at home, for example, I tip around 5 lei (which is around 1 Euro), no matter how much I pay for the things being delivered.

The amount might seem small to foreigners, but extremely generous tips are not very common here. Many Romanians won’t tip at all or tip very low amounts outside of restaurants and pubs (and some don’t tip here either).

Do you tip tour guides in Romania?

tipping etiquette in Romania

Yes, you’re usually expected to tip tour guides in Romania, and the base rate of 10% applies here as well. If it’s a free tour, consider tipping 50 lei (10 Euros) or at least 30 lei if it’s a shorter tour or the guide doesn’t do a great job.

Have in mind that if your guide involves a vehicle (with one or two drivers), then the guide will always split the tip. In this case, you can increase the tip to 15% of the total cost of the tour, if you can afford it.

Should You Tip for Takeout?

You are not necessarily expected to tip for takeout in Romania, but it will be appreciated if you leave a tip. If the food is delivered to you, then you are expected to leave a small tip (around 5 lei) to the delivery person.

However, even when ordering takeout, you should know that there are still people involved in the preparation of your food and most likely they receive a low wage. But they are also more prepared not to receive a tip when takeout is involved.

Is tipping required in Romania?

Romanian money

At restaurants, pubs and bars, tipping is normally expected throughout Romania, with 10% of the bill being considered enough. Service (aka “the tip”) is usually not included in bills – but do double check to make sure.

As I said before, since salaries are so low in Romania and the prices are going up, it is customary to leave a tip even if the service was not great. One thing is certain: no matter what type of service you’re paying for, the person receiving the tip won’t be offended.

Therefore, you are generally expected to tip when paying for your bills in a restaurant, bar or pub, but also when paying for a taxi ride or for your tour guide, and even in grocery stores or supermarkets (if paying by cash, the coins are usually left behind)

The latter are not really seen as actual tips, as people usually don’t take the coins when they receive their change (because, yes, many Romanians still use cash and haven’t switched to using Euros yet).

If it’s a bunch of 10 bani coins or lower, almost nobody will take them because of their low value. The 50 bani coins will usually be picked from the bunch of coins received as change and all the lower ones will be left behind.

The good side here is that if you go to a farmer’s market, for example, they will always round down the amount you have to pay.

So even if something costs 5 lei and 40 bani, they will only ask for 5 lei from you. In this case, you are not expected to tip or pay more. Although I am sure nobody would mind if you actually do.

So to sum it up, most people are going to expect you to leave them some sort of a tip, no matter if we’re talking about the change in a supermarket or an actual tip offered at a restaurant or to the guy that delivers your pizza.

How to tip when paying with a credit or debit card

Tipping in Romania

Although cash is still king in Romania, in most places in the country (maybe except for villages and very small towns) you can pay using your card. This is getting more and more popular, too.

Unlike other countries, though, in Romania there’s no additional “tip” option on the bill, so if you want to leave a tip, you will actually need to have some cash available for it. (And the same rate of 10% applies.)

So, when in Romania, make sure to always have some Lei with you – not only for tipping purposes, but also to pay in the places that still won’t accept payments by card!

Finally, if unsure, do ask if service is included in the price. In some areas – especially the more touristy places out there – the service fee might be already included if you pay by card (and sometimes even if you don’t).

In most cases it won’t – I personally have never been to a place where the tip was included in the bill – but it doesn’t hurt to ask just to be sure.

But all in all, you shouldn’t really worry too much about this. Any amount is appreciated in Romania, as the people here say that even a little bit is better than nothing!

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14 thoughts on “How to Tip in Romania: When, who and how much to tip”

  1. Thanks for the… tips, Calin. 😉 I’ve had some interesting tipping moments including tipping at a carwash. I had paid and went out to pick up our car. As my keys were presented I gave a couple of lei. The attendant looked rather taken aback. I was afraid I had not given enough, but as it turns out apparently, he wasn’t used to someone doing this. He took it, of course, but seem as though he’d received a gift from the heavens.

    As for leaving small change: Nobody seems to want coins. I’d encourage visitors to not do as my wife does and count out coins to pay at a cashier. They always appear to be in a hurry and these fractions of pennies annoy them. I’m all for leaving the change… except for the 50 bani coin. You need these to unlock the shopping carts at the grocery stores.

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  2. Keep those tips coming guys.. i need them. 🙂 I would tip car wash too. I think tipping the people that physically do work for you is appropriate in general. Like the person carrying bags, perhaps the boy that mows the lawn etc. I am not sure i would tip my grocer for ringing up my groceries however. I do like the 10% for its ease of calculation. I do question if Romanian waiter/waitresses get the concept however. Far to often they seem annoyed by my presence and do not seem to understand that their tip is directly related to their behavior. In time they will learn that a really good waiter can make really good money. If you are the perfect waiter it is as easy to calculate 20% and that is a common tip in U.S. You rent a grocery cart? Ugg..

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    • You get the 50 bani back when you return the cart. This keeps the carts from being left around willy-nilly. We had some stores doing this back in California.

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    • That is absolutely correct, Otto! The people serving you in restaurants or bars and usually anywhere fail to understand that their behavior affects the tips they get. Just yesterday I was talking with my wife about the extremely low service you are usually met with and especially the fact that almost nobody smiles.

      There was a time when in the Carrefour chain, the employees wore a sticker saying something like “Today I smile for you…” followed by the name of the employee. That always made ME smile because you usually saw those grim faced people that seemed to go through the worst moments of their lives… and that shiny sticker that said the exact opposite. Probably it was the company trying to teach their employees to smile more and behave better… but the sticker thing only lasted for a short while 🙂

      Regarding the coin needed for the grocery carts, that’s how it goes in Europe and indeed it’s mostly for making sure that people return the carts to where they took them from and not leave them scattered all over the place. It might take a tiny bit of adjustment for somebody who’s not used to this, but not really a problem in my opinion.

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  3. I live in tip-free Japan. The Japanese feel culturally bound to offer good service without getting a tip for it. Needless to say, the price level for just about everything is higher in Japan. Tipping in the USA is really just a way for employers to get away without paying a decent wage. Would service employees really give worse service if they didn’t get tips? How about if knew they could be fired for not doing so like in Japan?

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    • I personally think that Japan’s way is the best way to go. It saves you a lot of trouble thinking about how much should you tip and doing the math yourself. But that’s in an ideal world and we’re far away from it.

      However, I didn’t know that bit about Japan and I am pleased to hear it. I am getting more and more fascinated by this country that manages to at least seem to do everything right in a world where everything’s done wrong.

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  4. Great article. It really is stupefying trying to figure out tipping in different countries. I always aim for the 10% in Europe and 20% in the U.S. Since my husband was a waiter for years in the U.S, we might sometimes overdo it. I’m trying to remember our trip to Tokyo a couple of years ago. If memory serves me, the slip had space for a tip in one place at least..perhaps the touristy areas are starting the fad? In Spain, most people just leave the change from their bill, but they definitely appreciate the tipping.

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    • Yeah, unless the change is a bit over 4 Euros on a 16 Euros bill :)) I was there during my first days in Spain, still thinking like in Romania “ah, they’re just coins!”

      Jokes aside, it seems that the 10% rule works best in case you’re in doubt. You can’t go wrong with it in most countries.

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  5. Hi, I had problems with tipping in a restaurant or not. because it is the norm I did tip even though the service was bad. Once I decided not to because the prices were high and the service very low. The waiter came after us and demanded to know why we did not give a tip. We are traveling in Roemenie for 6 weeks and I don’t like going out to eat because the service is usually so bad. So we cook our zelfs being on a camping.
    I hope that the waiters become to see that there is a patron between good service and tipping. If everybody gives tips because it is the norm then nothing will change. Once I asked a waitress if she was tired because she did no smile once. it was like being served by a robot. Then she began to tell that clients don’t understand how hard the work is bla bla bla. Yes I see it is hard work!! But that does not mean you treat your customers like a piece of sh*t. I have seen waiters struggle and make mistakes but if they were nice and authentic they get a tip from me

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    • I completely agree with this, Donna. Tipping shouldn’t be the norm, but the result of good service.

      I too use to tip just because that’s what everybody does, despite the poor service. But hopefully I will be able to move on and not tip when the service is bad – maybe this will help a bit.

      The problem is – at least in the small city I live in – that staff at bars and restaurants is difficult to find. People come and go (probably because of low wages as well), and as a result owners don’t spent too much time training the staff or at least telling what’s expected of them or they simply don’t care.

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    • Hello David. This is a really delicate situations – some will swear by tipping, some tip a lot (sometimes more than the value of the order, if you can imagine something like this!) and some don’t. So it really depends on how you feel – there are people in all categories. Personally, I think that around 5 lei would be much appreciated.

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