Tipping in Russia
How much do you tip in Russia?
- Restaurants & Cafes: 10% of the bill is customary, with 100 RUB being the average tip for a light meal and anything from 300-1500 RUB for dinner.
- Tour guides: 500 RUB for half-day tours and 1000 RUB for full day tours.
- Taxis: 100 RUB for short trips and 500 RUB for more than a few hours. Street performers: 30-100 RUB. is average
- Beggars: BEWARE! If they are genuine, then anything you can give will be appreciated even just a few roubles could help.
A little goes a long way in Russia. Restaurants, theatres, taxis, tours; you name it, everything’s a bargain when the rate is ±60 roubles to the dollar. The same applies to tips. Though one could be generous and tip as one would at home, often as little as $3 will please most people. As in Europe, tips in Russia are not necessary though they are greatly appreciated.
At restaurants and cafes 10% of the bill is customary, with 100 RUB being the average tip for a light meal and anything from 300-1500 RUB for dinner depending on the establishment and, of course, the waiter’s charm or lack of it (Russian waiters are known to be on the whole cold, arrogant snobs).
Tour guides that really went the extra mile to make your Russia vacation memorable can be thanked with a discrete 1000 RUB note in hand or 500 RUB for half-day tours. Do feel free, however, to give more as that is only the average and spectacular service ought to be rewarded with greater than average gratitude.
Taxi drivers often turn out to be the most fascinating of people, being veritable treasure-troves of information. They also tend to be quite hard-up, so an extra 100 RUB for a short trip or 500 RUB for a few hours would definitely be appreciated. And here you can find more tips on using taxis in Russia.
There are some marvellous talents busking round the streets of Russia and sadly there are very few opportunities available to poor musicians in Russia. A couple coins can help and a 100 RUB note can make their night.
Beggars aren’t as profuse in Russia as they used to be and often the majority are clearly drunks or addicts. But, one does still see frail babushkas on the streets banging their heads against the concrete in the pouring rain, praying to God that someone will show mercy. It is a shocking sight, but with some pensions at less than $100 per month the babushkas have little choice.
The above is just a guideline and tipping should always be at your discretion. Keep in mind that in Moscow everything including tips is around 20% dearer.
The average Russian earns 200rub/hour ($3), so you really don’t need to give much to bring out a smile. But don’t go too far; be subtle or you could risk offending sensitive Russian sensibilities.