Tipping Etiquette

A tip is a gift or sum of money tendered for a service performed or anticipated. It is given voluntarily or beyond obligation. Tipping is prevalent worldwide, but few commonly accepted practices are as fraught with confusion. Here are a few guidelines on tipping.

  • Tip 20% for excellent service, 15% for very good service, and 10% for adequate.
  • Tip on the before-tax price.
  • Carry a lot of dollar bills.
  • Do not tip if automatic gratuity is included.
  • Do not make a show of your generosity.
  • Do not be intimidated into a tip.
  • At least say thank-you.

Folklore has it that tipping began generations ago in England when an employee put a moneybox on a table and wrote the words to insure promptness on it. The first three letters of each word survived to make up our word tip. Tipping is a personal act based on the quality of service a person has received, and the practices in the country where that person is travelling.

Here is a list that suggests what is generally considered to be adequate amounts to tip various people for services rendered.

Location Person Amount
Restaurant Waiter or Waitress 15% of bill
Headwaiter/Maitre'd None unless special services are porvided, then about $5
Busboy None
Wine Steward 15% of wine bill
Bartender 10-15% of bar bill
Coatcheck attendant $1 for one or two coats
Restroom attendant $0.50
Carpark attendant $1
Owner None
Servers at counter 15% of bill
Chambermaid No tip for one-night stay; $1 a night or $5-10 a week
Room service waiter 15% of bill
Bellhop $10 for bringing luggage to room; $5 for showing of room
Lobby attendant None for opening the door or calling taxi from stand; $1 or more for help with luggage or finding a taxi on the street
Desk clerk None unless special service is given during long stay
Dining car waiter 15% of bill
Stewards 15% of bill
Redcaps Posted rate plus $0.50
Skycaps $1 or more per bag
In-flight personnel None
Driver 15% of fare, no less than $0.25
Haircutter 15% of the cost, minimum of $1
Beauty Shop
one operator 15% of bill
several operators 10% of bill to person who sets hair; 10% divided among others
Manicurist $1 or more
Owner None
Sports Arena
Usher $0.50 to $1 per party if shown to seat
Parking Garage
Parking attendant $1; $5 suggested if attendant helps with luggage