What to tip when I travel?


Absolutely, Everyone, You Need To Tip While Travelling

It’s probably safe to say the idea of tipping the flight attendant has never crossed your mind, but apparently, a whopping 30% of flyers have done it.

While tipping in restaurants is a fairly black and white (albeit highly divisive) issue, the rules get blurred on vacation. Suddenly, there are outstretched hands everywhere, and you have no idea with whom to leave your money. The guy scrambling eggs? Really?

In an effort to make your next airport shuttle ride considerably less awkward, we asked national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, Diane Gottsman, exactly who we should be tipping, and how much. And here’s what she said:


$1-$2 per bag. Unless you’re checking in curbside, in which case it’s $5 for one bag, $3 to $5 for each additional bag.

Host(ess)/Maitre D’

Hotel doorman

There’s no tip required for a smile and a held door. However, if they perform a special service such as helping carry shopping bags from the taxi to the front desk, or holding an umbrella from the front door to the car, think about $2-$5.

Hotel bellman

Generally, $1-$2 per bag. Although, if you’re asking the bellman to lug your one Eddie Bauer duffle bag up to the 23rd floor, make it worth his trip and give him $5.

Hotel valet

$2-$5 when you pick up your car.

Front Desk

You don’t typically tip the front desk staff, nor do they expect it. But if they work in a concierge capacity and score you a dinner reservation at that spot where everybody in El Paso wants to eat, you should thank them with $5-$10.

Hotel concierge

For quick directions to the nearest coffee shop, no tip. For theater tickets or dinner reservations, tip $5-$10. If said tickets are to the most popular show in town, however, you’re looking at more like $20. May seem steep, but at least you’re not stuck at Jersey Boys.

Room service

If the room service fee hasn’t already been added to the cost of the meal, add 15%. If it has, then it’s up to you how generous you feel about the luxury of eating without pants.

Hotel housekeepers

$3-$5 daily, or if there are more than five guests in the room, $1 per person per day.

Buffet servers

$2-$5 per diner for servers who refill drinks, clear plates, and score you extra dinner rolls.

Buffet cooks

Depends on how much you liked that omelet. If there’s no tip jar, though, you’re in the clear.


If you’re running a tab, tip 15-20% of the bill. If you’re paying as you go, it’s $1-$2 per drink.

Restroom attendant

Some people may have never seen a person assisting in the restroom until they visit a larger city (or the Charlotte airport, for some odd reason), and may be confused as to what to do or say. Greet the attendant with a broad smile and a cheerful “hello”, and then walk straight out without leaving a nickel. JK!Drop $1-$2 into his or her basket, depending on the service provided (fresh towel, mints, mouthwash, etc.).

Spa employee/massage therapist