Hitting the road means new people, new places, and new experiences. It also means a wide variety of new situations -- some of which may warrant a tip. Even the most experienced and well-meaning travelers may occasionally find themselves in the awkward position of not knowing whether (or how much) to tip, which is why we have compiled this guide to tipping within the United States.
#5: Food and drinks
As most Americans already know, the cultural norm for sit-down restaurants and bars is between 15 and 20 percent, though exceptional service may be rewarded with more. In certain high-end restaurants in places such as Manhattan or San Francisco, 25% may be the new norm.
Coffee shops and other informal hangout places often offer a jar for tips. A dollar or two should suffice. Tipping the host is not necessary, though may be appropriate if they’ve done you a favor.
A general rule: anyone who performs a specific and involved service for you should get at least a small tip. There’s no need to tip the concierge for giving you basic directions, or the doorman for holding the door and smiling, but you probably should give a couple bucks to the doorman who hails a taxi, and 5 to 10 or even 20 dollars to the concierge who scores you a hard-to-get reservation at the hottest restaurant in town.
The coat check, bellhop, shuttle driver, and valet driver also deserve at least a few bucks. Again, exceptional service should be rewarded with more; i.e. if a bellhop brings your super-bulky duffle bag up to your 22nd floor room, you may wish to consider dishing out a five or a ten. Investing in a smart suitcase could save you a chunk of change here -- not that we would ever recommend being stingy, of course!
Room service should be tipped just like any other meal you would eat. And housekeeping should receive between 1 and 3 dollars per night, per person. Pro tip: because shifts can change, it is usually best to leave a housekeeping tip each night, even if you’re staying for longer.
#3: Resorts, cruises, and spas
These days, most resorts and cruises have switched to an “all-inclusive” model that includes gratuity. This is simply more convenient for clients, and better for the workers, as they no longer need to fear getting stiffed by clients from Europe or other parts of the world where tipping is not commonplace.
When it comes to spas, it is usually a good idea to tip 15 to 20 percent if you receive a massage. You are receiving a highly personalized service from a trained professional. In any of these contexts, a small extra tip to anyone who has lent a helping hand will be much appreciated.
#2 Tour guides and other helping hands
Personal tour guides should receive a tip of 15 to 20 percent. For public or group tour guides, a few dollars should be perfectly fine. Of course, you may very well received help from other people along your way. Thrillist offers an extremely detailed list of the standard tips for virtually any professional you may encounter.
#1: A general word to the wise
You may have noticed a general trend: work that involves a great deal of personal service and know-how generally warrants a tip of 15 to 20 percent, or at least a couple of Lincolns. Work that is less involved and less personalized still generally merits at least a couple of dollars.
Last but not least, you should never let your money talk for you! Exceptionally great service (or exceptionally bad service) should be mentioned to the company whenever possible. This helps organizations improve any problems with their service while rewarding great workers with the credit that they deserve.
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