The ultimate guide on who to tip while traveling

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Avoid awkward silences and guilt-ridden exits

Tipping on vacation is awkward. There’s no way to avoid it. Each country has its own rules, and each hotel has a hundred employees who seem deserving of a few extra bucks. But who do we really need to tip? When should we do it? And how often should we do it? And of course, how much?

man delivers tip

Fear no more, because Travel Off Path has you covered. Here’s the ultimate guide on who to tip while traveling.

From Airport To Hotel

Obviously this depends on how you get to your hotel. If you’re finding your own way, tip yourself with a drink at the bar later. If not, follow these rules.

transportation drivers

If you have a shuttle arranged by your hotel, definitely tip your driver. Many of them rely heavily on tips. Depending on the country, between $2.50 and $5.00 per person should be enough.

taxi drivers

Don’t tip the taxi driver unless you really want to. They are making money off their fee at a decent rate. Tourist area fees are often brutally inflated, so don’t go out of your way for them.

At the hotel

the goalkeepers

hotel porter

These guys can make your arrival and departure a breeze. Reward them as such. It doesn’t require anything crazy. A few dollars a bag is perfect. A family of four might tip $10-$15, especially if they’re carrying luggage a long way or in bad weather. Many porters often set the mood for the entire stay with their attitude, so make sure they know they’ve done a good job.

internal cleaning

Often invisible, this piece of equipment helps keep your room spotless when you return each day (at least, they usually do). They are also some of the lowest paid workers in the industry, so a tip for them can go a long way.

It’s important to leave a small amount each day rather than a large tip at the end, as there may be multiple housekeepers in your room. It’s also a great idea to leave a slightly larger tip on the first day to help get a little more attention to your room.

cleaning service in hotel

Do not go crazy. $5 a day is on the higher end of what is necessary, especially in countries with a lower cost of living. Make sure you leave it in an obvious place, so it’s clear to them.

The lobby team

The janitor

In today’s Internet-dominated world, the concierge has become a little less useful for many of us. But they still exist in most good hotels. They’re still capable of booking things, spotting a good booking, and even getting you a better room, but you might not use them as much. If you are a regular hotel, the concierge should be a helpful person.

hotel concierge

Tip them based on usage. If they only throw an address or two at you, you’re fine. But if they spend half an hour solving your day, give them $5 or so.

reception staff

As helpful as they can be, the front desk doesn’t need a tip. Many of them are on a managerial path and are paid an annual salary instead of an hourly one. The best thing you can do for them is to go online and mention them in a good review of your hotel.

eat out

This is where things get complicated. In the US, we tip almost every waiter or bartender who serves us. This is mainly due to the way these workers are paid. In Europe and other areas of the world, bar and restaurant staff are paid a fair hourly wage and tips are not expected; in some cases, it can be taken as an insult.

waiter serves table

The Americas

As a general rule, always tip your servers in the Americas. North, Central and South America expect some kind of tip. In the United States, Canada and Colombia, for 15-20%. In other countries, it can range a bit lower, in the range of 10-15%. Brazil, Costa Rica, and Chile include a service or seating charge, so you don’t need to tip there.

the waiter smiles at customers


Europeans are much less likely to accept tips than anywhere else in the world. Most of the countries there get good salaries and often waiters don’t get everything anyway. Some countries now actively list their service charge (the price is the same) to give the hint that tipping is not required.

In most of these places, you can leave a little more if the service was exceptional. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. If you’re not sure about a particular country, ask someone when you arrive.

Africa and Middle East

Tips are widely expected in the Middle East. Even countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which often include service charges, want an additional 15-20% on top of the bill. Many African countries also look for around 10-15% of the bill in tips.

the restaurant bill


Some Asian countries like China shun tipping outright, while others, like Japan, see it as something to be earned, beyond the good service that is already expected. Some very touristy countries like Thailand are becoming more receptive to tips after realizing the amount of money that can be made.

This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest news that will affect your next trip, visit:

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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions You can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Please contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before you travel. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government recommendations

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