Could someone please offer some suggestions for tipping in Poland? taxis? restaurants? hotels?
In my experience it's highly unusual. And with their love for credit cards, there's no opportunity to leave behind some change.
True, I would say that credit cards are very welcomed in Poland, that seemed to be the feeling I got too. The times I was in Poland ten years ago or more, I did not know what to do as respects to tipping when paying with a credit card. So, instead of leaving nothing, I added at least 10 % to the entire credit card bill.
Consult the guidebooks to be sure but it should be minimal (less than or equal to 10%). Remember that Poland was behind the Iron Curtain for a long time and they don't have a highly refined service sector that responds to tips to improve performance...like other places in Europe, service sector staff don't depend on tips for their livelihood so no need to overtip (especially taxis and hotels).
I was there last May and when taking a taxi or paying a restaurant bill I rounded up a bit, no more than the equivalent of $5. Not sure if it was expected but no one seemed terribly surprised or excited either way, and it felt like the right thing to do.
Thanks for all of your responses. That gives me a good idea of what to do.
I have a funny story about this.
I tried asking my desk clerk in my Krakow hotel what I should tip in a restaurant. He answered that it's not a set amount, you leave whatever you feel is appropriate. I tried to explain that that wouldn't work, because I had no idea what was appropriate (so I had no "feelings" on the matter), and that norms are different everywhere. I cited the examples of New York (where locals leave 20% at restaurants) and Italy (where locals leave 0% at restaurants). So, does he leave 5%? 10%? He still couldn't answer. The next day I asked a different clerk, and she said 10% - so that's what I went with. And I don't recall getting any positive or negative reactions, so I guess I was within the ballpark.
well its not surprising that people like to get gifts of free money for doing the job they are paid to do. My Polish friends do not tip, ever, and think Americans are fools for voluntarily paying more than something costs.
they don't have a highly refined service sector that responds to tips to improve performance
I have no complaints whatsoever about the service offered in Polish cafés and restaurants.
All I meant by the service sector was that performance doesn't correlate or improve with tips - that's all - sorry for the poor choice of words. I am Polish by the way so I've dealt with a lot of surly people in the Polish service sector (not rude per se, but you are invisible to them and get ignored), but more so when I was growing up when there was simply no culture of "service" and "customer". Haven't experienced any issues lately, most people are friendly but definitely not like servers here in the US which do angle for tips pretty boldly and are overly intrusive.
To the OP, although travel guides will say 10% tip, I do think that a simple rounding up is more than adequate. That is how locals do it. Americans tend to overtip because anything less feels uncomfortable.