How to get the most out of your tips


Tipping for services rendered while traveling is common in the United States, but not so much in countries like Japan and Brazil, among others. But if you’re traveling to distant lands — or even to another U.S. state — this summer, it pays to know a few rules of the road when it comes to tipping.

Start with these tips for managing your tipping needs when traveling this summer.

Know the proper failover ranges. The average tip for a sit-down meal in the United States is always between 15% and 20%. For taxis and Uber (UBER) – Get the report from Uber Technologies, Inc. trips, tip amounts vary based on mileage and total costs. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the average tip for an Uber ride is $3.

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Tip early and often

Pay upfront for quality service. It doesn’t take much to be unforgettable and some initial tips open doors.

“A $20 to the hotel receptionist or flight attendant almost always guarantees that you get the best room they have or that your drink never goes dry during the flight,” said Taylor Kovar, certified financial planner. and CEO of The Money Couple in Lufkin, Texas. (Kovar just completed a cross-country trip to all 50 states with his family.)

For overseas travel, do your due diligence. When traveling abroad, a quick Google search will save you a lot of time, money and embarrassment. “If Google says tipping isn’t customary, don’t tip, that’s offensive,” Kovar said.

Make housekeeping tips a priority. The lowest tip people in all hotels, the chambermaids/housekeepers, are the hardest working and probably the lowest paid.

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“I make sure to tip the maids because I was one – it was my start in the travel business,” said Leslie Overton, director of travel operations at Fora in New York, NY. “Therefore, whenever I’m somewhere abroad, I always take out cash, then get change from reception and put the maid’s tip in my makeup bag.

“It’s the last thing I pack so before I put it in my suitcase, I know to leave the tip for housekeeping,” Overton added.

When to tip in Europe

In Europe, know when and when not to tip. Tipping in general isn’t customary in Italy, for example, but it’s appreciated, says Katy Clarke, founder of Untold Italy, an online destination for Italian travelers.

Clarke offers specific advice for European (particularly Italian) travelers.

  • In restaurants, Italians round up to the nearest €5 or €10. However, when service is included, no additional tip is required
  • Scenarios where you should tip for excellent service: tour guides, driving services, restaurants
  • Scenarios where tipping is not required: taxis, hotel housekeeping
  • American travelers are sometimes told “tip not included” because tourism professionals know it’s the norm in the United States

To err on the side of being generous. Tipping while traveling doesn’t have to be a complicated process. “If you received great service and tipping is common in the culture, feel free to leave more than enough,” said Mark Morgan, co-founder of, an online travel site. (Morgan and his wife have traveled to more than 40 countries over the past few years.)

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Consider tips in your travel budget. Budgeting can be extremely important if you plan to travel to countries like the United States, where tipping is required. “You’ll quickly eat up your travel budget if you haven’t set aside enough for tips throughout your trip,” Morgan added.

Bring small notes (and even coins) for your tips. “With multiple small bills and coins, you can easily tip without having to worry about breaking larger bills,” Morgan said.


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