The latest on tipping: Where and how much to tip in 2024

One expense that is commonly overlooked when traveling is tipping. We all know to tip at a restaurant in the U.S., but there are other situations that aren’t always so clear, both in the U.S. and especially abroad. Tipping customs and guidance change all the time it seems, but don’t let it get you anxious. Ultimately where and how much to tip is up to you. Here’s our latest advice on tipping for great – or not so great – service. 

Restaurants. Many employees at restaurants are dependent on tips for their income. Right or wrong, it’s the way it is. In the U.S., 18-20% on your pre-tax bill for full service is standard, as is $1-2 per drink at the bar. Tipping has spread to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe though you can feel comfortable leaving around 15%. Tipping at full-service restaurants in Italy and Spain is optional, rounding up to the next Euro is considered polite. 

A note on fast-casual and coffee shops: Tip what’s comfortable for you. While many counter service restaurants now show you an iPad with 20-25% gratuity as the default (yikes!), don’t feel in any way obligated. For a well-made coffee beverage with friendly service, we feel a dollar or two is a nice gesture. 

Also, keep in mind that many restaurants pool their tips with all servers and staff, and share them at the end of the night. While we believe excellent service should be rewarded with a higher tip, it doesn’t necessarily translate to that individual person receiving it. 

Hotels. Tipping is expected at many higher-end hotels for certain services.

Valet: Tip when picking up your car, not when dropping it off. Around $2-5 is common.

Concierge: The concierge’s job is to give you a map, answer questions, and point you in the right direction. That level of service requires no gratuity. If they go above and beyond, think of tipping guidelines in terms of a hierarchy. A simple dinner reservation might be worth $5-10, but if they pull some strings to get you into a popular restaurant or a sold-out show, $50 isn’t unheard of.

Bellhop: It’s expected to tip $3-5 per bag in the U.S., on the lower end for smaller bags and higher for large suitcases. In Europe, it is polite to tip 1 Euro per bag. Occasionally you may run into an overly eager bellhop who takes your bags against your objections. If someone takes your bags after you’ve said “No”, then don’t feel obligated to tip.

Housekeeper: Don’t overlook tipping your housekeeper, especially at higher-end resorts (for a basic hotel, tipping is less expected but still welcome). Experts suggest $5 per day in the U.S., and the equivalent of a few dollars per day elsewhere. Leave tips in a clearly marked envelope or next to a note so the housekeeper knows it’s intended for them.

Taxi and rideshare. If you take a taxi, plan to tip around 15-20% for good service ($5 minimum), adjusted upward or downward for a particularly pleasant or unpleasant ride. Uber and other rideshares give you the option to leave a tip via your phone, which can be done from the app after you’ve left the vehicle. It’s a nice gesture but not mandatory to add a few dollars if the ride was pleasant. If you take an airport shuttle, it’s polite to add $1-2 per bag if assistance is offered. For longer shuttle rides, 10-15% of the fare is a nice gesture which oftentimes is paid in advance at the time of booking. 

Tour guides. Check to see if gratuity is included in the cost of the tour. If it is not, you should tip your guide $5-25 per person for a half or full day tour. On private tours, especially if your guide went above and beyond, they deserve to be tipped on the high end. 

International norms. Tipping in the U.S. is nearly mandatory and the highest among countries, though the tipping culture has spread to much of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe. If traveling to Asia, know that tipping may be considered confusing, embarrassing, or rude as it undermines the professionalism of the staff. This is especially true in Japan and South Korea. In Australia and New Zealand it is not expected that you leave a tip at a restaurant or café, but for great service it is appreciated. 

When traveling, make sure to carry small-denomination bills with you. If you only have a credit card, it may be impossible or awkward to leave an expected gratuity. Tipping culture can be tricky to navigate, so follow these general rules and ultimately tip what you’re comfortable giving.

Do you have any “tips” on tipping? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

About Denise

My goal is to simplify travel-planning through an equal exchange process where I acquire your ideas and expectations for your trip relieving you of the worry, hassle, stress and time that accompanies Do-It-Yourself planning.

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