We avoid the awkward situation when you really do not know if you need to tip someone or not. Do not worry if you find some of your tipping mistakes as you read along, there is always the next time. A great service might automatically mean a good tip for a lot of people, but of course you need to consider some cultural aspects and how the service staff is being paid.
They need to be tipped – people you often just say thank you to
When you book a tour, rarely will the tip for the tour guide be included. The tour guide deserves around $4 if it is just a short tour. A full-day of his or her service deserves around $10 of tip. If you are not sure how much you should give the guide, ask the tour operator. You might have heard that tipping in Japan and China are not really practiced, but giving tips to tour guides is an exception (just do it discretely).
Drivers of shuttle services
Your travel package might include pick up from the airport to your hotel or your car rental company. These rides, although part of the package should not be seen as a totally free ride. Some drivers put tip jars but in case there’s none, it is always courteous to give him some tip when you are dropped of.
If you asked the concierge to sketch a direction for you, there is really no need to tip the hotel concierge. But if he has gone through a lot to get you last minute tickets to a concert of your favorite rock band, by all means the guy deserves some tip. On average you need to hand a concierge around $20 depending on what you asked them to accomplish for you. You can give it to him in person or you can send a thank you note inside one of the hotel’s envelopes.
A lot of people do not tip the housekeeping staff. A couple of bucks per day is acceptable. If you do not have an envelope, you can leave the money under the pillow. The staff though may find the money but think that it is not for them, so the best thing to do is give it to them personally. If in case you are staying in a small Bed and Breakfast, the owners might be doing the job themselves, so foregoing the tip is okay.
You tip them – but don’t have to
If you will be checking into a big hotel, you might be confused who to tip. One person will bring the bags from your car then another person will bring them to the reception, and then another staff will bring the bags to your hotel room. Now, you cannot give money to every person who helps you will the bags. It is best to hand out a few bucks to the person who delivers the luggage to your room.
In the United States, customers usually leave 20% in case there is something special the staff has done for you. This is not the practice though in other places. In Europe, you can leave a few euros if you are happy with the service. Say you have a 44-euro bill and you leave 50 since you’re happy with the food and service. Waiters in New Zealand and Denmark though do not expect any tip. In Norway, they usually add a 10% service charge but check the bill before leaving so you can tip when needed.
Cruise lines provided envelopes before with tip suggestions while on board. Most cruise today though add the tip to your bill especially if you are sailing across the Caribbean. These automated tips are often not adjustable but some cruise lines make it possible for the customer to decide how much to give. Better check with the cruise line or tour company if the tips are already included or if the tips can be adjusted or not.
Staff in Japan and China
When you are on a holiday in Japan or China, remember that tipping in these countries is considered rude. This applies to taxi drivers, hotel staff, waiters in restaurants among others.
Here’s a bonus travel tip. We found this cool infographic on the web on how you should tip when you travel to different destinations across the globe. Click on the thumbnail below to see.