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A Traveler’s Guide to Tipping will help you know when to tip and how much the next time you set off for a new travel adventure.
Have you ever found yourself staring at a tip jar at your favorite taco place and wondered “Do I need to leave a tip?” I certainly have. As someone who spent their early twenties waitressing, I understand the importance of tipping. I never want to begrudge a person that deserves a tip. The problem with tipping is that you never know when to tip and how much
When you add travel to the subject of tipping things can get a lot more complicated especially if you plan on crossing any borders. Some countries demand that you tip and even include it in your bill while others would consider it an insult if you left a little cash behind. No need to stress though because I created FIVE posts on tipping while traveling!
Today’s A Traveler’s Guide to Tipping will help make things a little easier for you when you’re exploring these United States!
At the Airport
Skycaps: $1 – $2 per bag. Are they checking your bags for you, too? Tip $5 for the first bag and $3 – $5 for each additional bag.
Flight Attendants: Do not tip them. This is a salaried position. Their responsibilities cover a lot more than just your inflight beverage and snack. I know that some travelers particularly those that fly first or business class may bring a small gift like a box of chocolates to show their appreciation.
Taxi Drivers: Average is 10 – 15% but if your driver is particularly informative, attentive, and helps with your bags then feel free to tip 20%.
Shuttle Driver: $1 – $2 per person, if they help with your bags then add another buck or two per person.
Private Car or Limo Driver: If gratuity is not built in to the original purchase, 15 – 20% is standard.
Valet: $2 – $5 when picking up your car.
Hotel Doorman: There is no need to tip the doorman when they’re just opening up the door. If they provide you with a special service like helping you with your shopping bags or finding a taxi then $2 – $5 is an appropriate tip.
Bellman: $2 – $5 per bag.
Concierge: This can really vary. The tip amount really depends on the type of service that the concierge is providing. Simple directions do not require a tip. Special services like dinner reservations or tour tickets render about a $5 – $10 tip. If it’s a difficult task like theater tickets to a popular show can be upwards of $20 – $50 recommended tip. This, of course, is not required or expected but it does let them know that you appreciate the time they took to ensure that you have an amazing experience.
Butler Service: If your room includes butler service, then 5% of your total stay is recommended.
Housekeeper: Housekeeping shifts vary so it’s important to leave a tip daily. Depending on how luxurious your accommodations are $3 – $5 per day is recommended. Leave the tip on the bed with a note so they know that you’re leaving a tip. Some hotels or inns may provide an envelope for tips.
Spa: Sometimes gratuity is included in the bill otherwise tip 15 – 20%.
Pool Staff: If they are bringing you a drink or towel $1 per item. Reserving you a spot, arranging chair, or umbrella $5.
Room Service: If the gratuity is not part of the bill then 15 – 20%.
Quick Service: $1 – $2 per diner.
Buffet: 10 – 15%
Host / Maitre D’: It’s not typical to tip the host. However if they provide a special service or check your coats for you then a tip of $5 – $20 is a good amount depending on the service provided.
Bartenders and Servers: 15 – 20%, if you’re at the bar and paying by the drink then tip $1 – $2 per drink.
Public Tour Guide: $2 – $5 per person for half day tour and $4 – $10 per person for full day tour.
Private Tour Guide: If gratuity is not included then 15 – 20% of the tour price.
Safari: $10 per day per person for the guide and $5 per day per person for the tracker.
Adventure Tour Guide: $10 per person for half day tour and $20 per person for full day tour.
Bus Driver: $3 – $5 per day per person.
Cruises vary depending on which cruise line you’re cruising and what type of stateroom you have booked. Most cruise lines have standard recommendations on how much to tip and may even automatically bill your onboard account if you did not prepay the gratuities.
Gratuity amounts are often based on your stateroom category. Suite guests typically pay more than those with lower category staterooms.
Some of the more luxurious cruise lines, like Regent Seven Seas, include gratuities in the total price of the cruise. Their main focus is all-inclusive cruising.
When it comes to cruising it’s definitely best to follow the standard recommendations of the cruise line you’re sailing.
While we’re on the water, if you find yourself chartering a boat it’s good to know that the captain does not expect a tip. The standard tip for crew members is about 10 – 20%.
I know that’s a lot of information and it really only covers domestic travel! I hope A Traveler’s Guide to Tipping will help you the next time you’re facing the question of to tip or not to tip. Stay tuned to my next post, An International Traveler’s Guide to Tipping: Europe for your next trip across the pond.
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