Tipping tips: A cheat sheet to leaving gratuities

Tipping tips: A cheat sheet to leaving gratuities

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To tip or not to tip? Here’s the answer

Become a tipping expert by learning exactly who you should tip and by how much.


In the United States, tipping is a fact of life, both customary and expected.

It’s also nuanced and confusing. 

How much money do you leave? And in what situations?

We turned to The Emily Post Institute for general guidelines to help you make sure you aren’t under-tipping certain workers while over-tipping others.

To avoid having your waiter spit in your soup or your hair dresser wanting to cut something other than your hair, consider this tipping advice.

Sit-down restaurants and buffets

Tip somewhere between 15 to 20 percent for sit-down meal. Buffets can be less — about 10 percent.

What about that kind soul who brings the pizza to your door or the Uber driver? Yes. You should tip for the luxury of home delivery food. Aim for somewhere in-between buffets or sit-downs…about 12 percent.

To-go orders

Unlike pizza delivery, you’re the driver here. So unless you really think the person who hands you your take-out needs the extra money, there’s no obligation to tip.

Baristas and bartenders

For those that make a daily, morning coffee run, throw in an extra buck for your barista or about 10 to 15 percent. The same applies to the bartender crafting your drinks and keeping you company.

Taxi and valet drivers

Make sure you tip your taxi driver just as you would a waiter or waitress — about 15 to 20 percent. This applies to Uber and Lyft drivers as well. You should give about $2 to $5 to a valet driver too.

Hotel housekeeping staff

The best practice is to leave about $5 to $10 per night for the housekeeping staff. A CreditCards.com survey shows only 27 percent always leave money for housekeeping staff, but make sure you treat them fairly.

Barbers and hair stylists

According to the same CreditCards.com survey, about 67 percent tip their barber or hair stylist. Considering they’re holding sharp scissors and blades near your face and hair, 15 to 20 percent is customary.

Skycap at the airport

Make sure to give the person who carries your bags at the airport, also known as a skycap, about $2 for the first bag and $1 for each additional bag.

Bellhop at the hotel

Just like skycaps, pay a bellhop $2 for the first bag and $1 per each additional bag. Also, throw in an extra $2 or $3 for additional services, such as room delivery.

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