The Savvy Globetrotter’s Guide to Travel Tipping

Two hands holding a ten dollar US bill.

When you travel, you rely heavily on the service industry to ensure things go smoothly.

Whether you are traveling domestically or abroad, a customary way to show appreciation is by leaving a tip. However, who you tip, how much you tip, and even if you tip depends entirely on the cultural etiquette of where you travel.

Here is a helpful guide to travel tipping to help you understand the complexities of showing gratuity while traveling.

No matter where you are traveling, you must first understand when you are typically expected to tip. Here are some of the standard services that require a tip:

1. Shuttle And Taxi Drivers

Shuttle Driver: A standard tip for an airport shuttle driver is around 15-20% of the fare or a minimum of $1-2 per passenger.

Taxi Driver: Tipping cab drivers approximately 15-20% of the total fare is customary. Rounding up to the nearest dollar is also appreciated.

Day Trip Driver: For a day trip driver, consider tipping 10-20% of the cost of the excursion, depending on the quality of service and your satisfaction.

2. Hotel Staff

Concierge: If the concierge assists you with reservations or recommendations, a $5-10 tip is customary.

Doorman: A standard tip for a doorman who helps with luggage is $1-2 per bag.

Housekeeping: Leave a tip of $2-5 per day for the housekeeping staff or maid. You can leave it daily or as a lump sum at the end of your stay.

Sign on a wood panel that reads

3. Restaurant, Bar, And Nightclub Staff

Restaurant Servers: A typical tipping range is 15-20% of the bill, based on whether the service was good or bad. For exceptional service, consider going above 20%. For large parties, check if gratuity is automatically added to the bill. If not, tip 18-20%.

Bartender: Tip $1-2 per drink or 15-20% of the total tab.

4. Tour Guides

It’s customary to tip your guide based on their performance when on guided tours. A standard range is $5-10 per person for a half-day tour and $10-20 for a full-day tour.

Tip: Consider leaving a positive review or rating for exceptional guides to boost their reputation.

5. Cruises and All-Inclusive Resorts

Cruise Staff: Tipping practices on cruises can vary. Check the cruise line’s tipper guidelines, as some include gratuities in the cruise fare. If not, plan to tip $10-15 per person daily.

All-Inclusive Resort Staff: Tipping is often included at all-inclusive resorts, but for exceptional quality service, consider tipping staff who provide 5-star service.

These tipping percentages are general guidelines based on travel in the United States. For international travel, travel tipping is more complicated.

Before traveling anywhere, research the specific rules and expectations for tipping at your destination.

Tipping practices can vary widely from one place to another, and understanding local norms is essential to avoid inadvertently offending someone or breaching social etiquette. In some cultures, tipping is customary and even considered obligatory.

Failing to leave a tip in these places can be seen as a breach of etiquette or an indication of disrespect. On the other hand, in other countries, tipping may not be common, and attempting to tip excessively could be seen as an awkward or inappropriate gesture.

Man standing at the front of a bus as passengers in the seats listen to him speak.

Here are some of the standard tipping guidelines at the most popular foreign travel destinations from Minneapolis St Paul Airport:

  • Mexico: 10-15% in restaurants, round up elsewhere.
  • Germany: Round up for good service.
  • England: 10-15% in restaurants, round up.
  • Ireland: Similar to England, plus taxi and hotel staff.
  • China: Tipping is rare, except for guided tours.
  • Japan: Tipping is not practiced.
  • South Korea: Tipping is uncommon.
  • Netherlands: Round up in restaurants and for taxi drivers.
  • Iceland: Round up in restaurants and consider tipping tour guides.
  • Canada: Tip 15-20% in restaurants, and it’s common to tip service providers.

When in doubt about tipping, remember you can always ask someone. Most people are happy to share their culture and explain their tipping customs.

When traveling, knowing who should not be tipped is essential to avoid customs issues and even potential criminal allegations.

Generally, government officials, including police officers, should never be tipped as it can be seen as bribery and might lead to legal troubles. It’s crucial to respect local laws and regulations regarding tipping to ensure a hassle-free and ethical travel experience.

Always research and adhere to the specific rules of your destination to avoid unintentional missteps and potential legal consequences.

Do you tip when you leave luggage at a hotel?

Yes, it’s customary to tip the hotel bellboy or porter who helps with your luggage, typically $1-2 per bag.

Do you tip if gratuity is included in an all-inclusive package?

It’s not necessary to tip if gratuity is already included in the all-inclusive package, but you can offer extra for exceptional service.

How much do you tip for luggage help?

Around $1-2 per bag is a standard tip for luggage assistance.

Are you supposed to tip a travel agent?

Tipping travel agents is not a common practice. They are usually compensated through commissions from bookings. If you had great service, consider an online review.

What is a good tip for an airport shuttle driver?

Tipping around 15-20% of the fare or rounding up to the nearest dollar is a good guideline for airport shuttle driver or a minimum of $1-2 per passenger.

Travel tipping can be mastered if you take the time to learn about the unique culture of your destination. Tipping is just one of the many cultural differences you must learn while traveling.

Many of the simple things we take for granted are very different in other cultures. Experiencing these differences is what makes travel so amazing. For example, if you’re thinking about driving on your next trip, read our guide to driving etiquette around the world.

No matter where you are traveling from the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, EZ Air Park makes traveling easy. We offer secure long-term parking and a shuttle service to and from the airport. Book your reservation now for your next trip.