The ultimate guide to who to tip while traveling

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Avoid awkward silences and guilt-filled exits

Tipping on vacation is embarrassing. There is no way around it. Each country has its own standards and each hotel has a hundred employees who all seem worthy of a few extra dollars. 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?

the man gives the tip

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

From the airport to the hotel

Obviously it depends on how you get to your hotel. If you find your own way, tip yourself with a drink at the bar later. Otherwise, follow these rules.

Shuttle drivers

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

Taxi drivers

Don’t tip your taxi driver unless you really want to. They make money off your fare at a decent rate. Rates in tourist areas are often brutally inflated, so don’t bother for them.

In the hotel


Hotel porter

These guys can make checking in and out a breeze. Reward them as such. It doesn’t require anything crazy. A few dollars per bag is fine. A family of four might tip $10-$15, especially if they’re hauling luggage long enough or in bad weather. Many porters often set the mood for the whole stay with their attitude, so make sure they know they did a good job.


Often invisible, this team helps keep your room spotless when you return each day (at least they usually do). They are also among 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 you may have multiple cleaners in your room. It’s also a good idea to leave a slightly larger tip on the first day to help bring a little more attention to your room.

cleaning at the hotel

Don’t go crazy. $5 a day is at the higher end of what is needed, especially in countries with lower costs of living. Be sure to leave it somewhere obvious, so it’s clear to them.

The lobby team


In today’s internet-dominated world, the concierge has become a little less useful for many of us. But they are still present in most good hotels. They are still able to book things, sniff out a good reservation, and even give you a better room, but you might not use them as much. If you are a hotel regular, the concierge should still be a helpful person.

hotel concierge

Tip them based on their usage. If they just throw you a direction or two, it’s fine. But if they spend half an hour working on your day, give them about $5.

Front desk staff

As helpful as they can be, the front desk doesn’t require tipping. Many of them follow a managerial route and receive an annual salary instead of an hourly salary. The best thing you can do for them is to go online and name them in a good review of your hotel.

Eat outside

This is where things get complicated. In the United States, we tip almost every waiter or bartender who serves us. This is mainly due to the mode of remuneration of these workers. In Europe and other parts of the world, bar and restaurant staff are paid a fair hourly wage and no tipping is expected – in some cases this can be seen as an insult.

the waiter serves the table


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

waiter smiles at customers


Europeans are much less likely to take tips than anywhere else in the world. Most of the countries there get good salaries, and often the waiters won’t get any anyway. Some countries now actively list their service charge (the price is the same) to indicate that tipping is not necessary.

At most of these places you can leave a little extra if the service was outstanding. Otherwise, don’t worry. If you are unsure of a particular country, ask someone when you arrive.

Africa and Middle East

Tipping is widely expected in the Middle East. Even countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which often include a service charge, want an extra 15-20% on the bill. Many African countries also look for around 10-15% of the bill in tips.

restaurant bill


Some Asian countries like China categorically reject tips, while others, like Japan, see them as something to be hard-earned, beyond the already expected good service. Some very touristy countries like Thailand become more receptive to tips after realizing the amount of money that can be earned.

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

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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice