Guide For Proper Tipping

To tip or not to tip, that is the question.

Some places welcome tipping, in fact they count on tipping as part of their income.
Some places welcome tipping, in fact they count on tipping as part of their income.
While other places forbid tipping.  It is best to find out what the rules are before you make a tip mistake.
While other places forbid tipping. It is best to find out what the rules are before you make a tip mistake.

Travel can become an uncertainy when you don't know the customs of the area.

You have decided to take a much needed vacation and in consequence have found yourself half way across the world feeling the thrill and excitement of a new adventure. But mixed with that range of emotions is also the tinge of uncertainty you might feel when it comes to the local customs and traditions. One of those uncertainties might even be the confusion you feel not knowing when it is proper, or improper, to leave a tip or gratuity for those who serve you. Even the most sophisticated traveler will experience some embarrassment if they are not sure of the proper etiquette of tipping.

Tip in the local currency of wherever you are visiting.

First of all, always tip in the local currency of wherever you are visiting. It is an arrogant assumption to expect your server to exchange your currency for theirs. Different parts of the world have different customs when it comes to tipping in general.

Find out the local customs regarding tipping before you go.

Preparation is the second key to avoid embarrassment when it comes to tipping. The customs regarding tipping vary depending on where you are. For example, in Europe most restaurants already include a service charge to the total bill, so tipping is not necessary. In Japan tipping is not customary at all, while at a U. S. restaurant tipping is considered proper. Contact a foreign government tourist office before you leave for your destination to research what is expected of you in the area of the world you are planning on visiting.

Tipping in a Restaurant

Restaurants- Tipping in a restaurant can be confusing. Some parts of the world see tipping as some strange American custom that makes them feel totally uncomfortable. In most parts of the world you probably are safe just paying the advertised amount on the menu for your food, but in the U. S. and Canada things are not that way. It is customary to add at least a 15% gratuity to your bill to leave as a tip for your servers. If you are in a bar the rate is about $1 per drink too. The waitress or waiter usually makes a small wage, certainly not enough to live on, and counts on the added income that tipping provides.


Tipping in a restaurant is easy to figure out!

Mandatory Tipping

At some U.S. restaurants there is a gratuity already added to your bill.  This usually occurs when you have a large party.  Most of the time you are informed of this mandatory tip before you are seated, however, sometimes you are not.  Make sure you check your bill to see if the tip has been automatically calculated in to price of the meal before you leave a tip, otherwise you may be tipping the service staff twice.  When it comes to mandatory tipping, if your waiter or waitress was exceptionally good, you are always welcome to add more onto the bill for an additional tip amount.

Tipping suggestions for Hotels

Hotels- Tip the maid who cleans your room about $5.00 a day, and tip the doorman $1-$2 for hailing a cab. Give bellhops about $2 per bag. If you use a concierge to make reservations for you at a local restaurant figure on about a $5.00 tip. If you ask them for a larger request, like a sold out show, or reservations at a new hip spot consider about a $20.00 tip or more for their effort. If the service is particularly good from any one of these service personnel, show your appreciation by the tip you give them.

Tipping is often required for a maitre d'.

The Maitre d'is responsible for the overall dining experience including room service and buffet, service quality and guest satisfaction, while the head waiters or supervisors are responsible for the specific restaurant or dining room they work in.
The Maitre d'is responsible for the overall dining experience including room service and buffet, service quality and guest satisfaction, while the head waiters or supervisors are responsible for the specific restaurant or dining room they work in.

Tipping suggestions for Cruises

Cruises- In the past it was a lot more complicated to know how to tip during a cruise. It was customary to tip your room steward, dining room waiter, the waiter’s assistance, and the dining room host, or Maitre d', in cash on the last night of the cruise. Most major cruise lines today have simplified the process by adding a daily gratuity to your shipboard account. Typically the tipping amount for a cruise is $10-$15 per passenger per day. All the crew members share the amount gathered. This amount can usually be adjusted either up or down. Most cruise lines also include a 15% gratuity to bar tabs also.

Just like with a hotel however, if you feel one of the personnel has gone the extra mile to make you feel comfortable most of the time it is acceptable to let them know and leave an additional tip for them personally. Be aware that some cruise lines may discourage this, so it is always good to check in advance of your trip.

Make sure you know the rules for tipping.

Tips are welcome in most parts of the world, but in some parts they are considered an insult.
Tips are welcome in most parts of the world, but in some parts they are considered an insult.

Tipping suggestions for Tours

Tours- One of the most grueling jobs on a vacation trip can be that of a tour guide. Tour directors lead the tours making sure all the participants and their bags are accounted for each day, sharing their knowledge of the destination, and solving little problems along the way. Although rates may vary depending on the price level of the tour, it is customary to give a $4-$8 per person, per day, tip to your tour director. It is also customary to give about half of that amount to the driver too. A good tour director can make all the difference in your experience on your adventure.

European tipping guide.

Suggestions for tipping in European countries.
Suggestions for tipping in European countries.

Tipping those who serve you.

From Hair Stylists, manicurists, massage therapists, to those who dry your car off at the car wash, tipping is a way to say "thank you" for the service they have given you. If you remember those who give you good service, they will remember you too, believe me. You are safe if you count on 15% of the cost of the services as a baseline amount of tipping, but great service can influence greater generosity when it comes to tipping too.

Also try to remember these special people during the Holiday gift giving season.  The following video gives some guidelines about what appropriate Holiday gifts might be.

Tips on Tipping

Whenever you travel make sure you learn what is expected of you before you go, and feel free to ask questions when you get there if you are still uncertain. You will enjoy yourself much more if you are not worried about making a tipping blunder and embarrassing you and your travel companions, as well as your server.

I hope these few tips on tips have helped… now have a great trip!

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

jasper420 6 years ago

very usefull info great hub and topic this is an issue that needs to be adressed I bealeave that if someone provides a service for you they deserve to be tipped fairly your hub is very usefull


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Very good advice. I was working in a hotel and we received quite a bit of extra money from the tips. Then they made it compalsory and add it on the bills. We never received a penny. The guest thought they gave their tips and the management had a great bonus.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 6 years ago from California Author

@jasper420-I agree that good service should be rewarded with a good tip. Most of those service personnel rely on the income they make from their tips. I realize that the employer is the one who gets off from paying the individual more because of tipping, but that is a whole other subject! Thanks for stopping by.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 6 years ago from California Author

@Hello, hello- That is such an terrible story! I can't believe that the mandatory tipping didn't even reach the one who deserved it! I wonder if that is the case every time?


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

In Spain where I live, in the local bars and cafés no tip or just loose change like ten or twenty centimos are the norm though occasionally in our bar/café we have a good tipper but that is the exception rather than the rule.

It seems a little unfair that some employers pay their staff less than they earn and make the responsibility of their staff having enough to live on fall upon their customers.

An interesting look into a tipping culture but America seems an expensive place to live with all these people expecting money from you regardless of the quality of service given.

I found your video on the couple who had been arrested for not paying a tip for bad service incredible. I am voting the hub up-


Megavitamin profile image

Megavitamin 6 years ago

Great information! I stay in hotels a lot and never quite know how much to tip housekeeping. I will keep all of these tips in mind. Thanks!


NicoleSmith profile image

NicoleSmith 5 years ago

Great hub, Thanks for the article.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working