Tips on Tipping while Traveling

The unquantifiable experience of exploring other cultures does have a quantifiable downside: tips. The etiquette of tipping changes from region to region, so be sure to do some in depth research on your own on your destination’s customs (try Trip Advisor or Cruise Critic or even Wikipedia). But here’s a handy little guide to help you get a sense (or cents) of how much to tip. While I use USD here, substitute the denominations of your destination.


In General:
Be sure to calculate tips into your costs. Because you’ll most likely be going to hotels and using taxis, those small amounts can add up quickly.

Always have loose bills on you for quick tipping – it’s always awkward to ask for change when handing over a large bill.


At Airports:
Tip porters and baggage handlers a standard rate of $1 per bag, more if it’s heavy. Also, if a doorman hails a cab a $1 is also expected.

Shuttles to and from the airport usually have a $2 tip per person for the driver.


At the Hotel:
In China and Japan, tipping outside of the airport is generally considered rude. However, in general….

Tip the taxi driver 15%-20% of total fare. If you use valet services, the attendant usually gets $1-$2. Doormen at the hotel also get $1 for hailing a cab and $1-$2 per bag if they help carry them.

If you use a concierge for reservations or tickets, he or she usually gets $5-$10 for especially hard-to-find services.

Don’t forget to leave a few dollars for cleaning! $1-$3 a day should cover it, depending on how messy you are. Leave the tip somewhere clear that it’s a tip – an accompanying note would be perfect if you have the time.

If you use room service, there’s no need for a tip (though you can do a show of $1). Also be careful – some hotels already include a 15% room service charge.


If you’re happy with your tour, you can tip $2-$5 for a full day. If it’s a private guide or a smaller company, it’s often expected to tip more

Many cruises have an automatic tipping program of $10-$13 a day, so be careful you don’t double-tip the staff! You can tip on the last evening of your cruise – generally $3.50 per day per person for waiters and room stewards.


In general, be sure to research customs in your destination and have lots of singles ready!