A tip is a discretionary payment for personal services, always given as cash and not in kind.

"In kind" means gifts in the form of food, "Cash" includes gift cards. Because of the ever changing value of the dollar,

United States

In recent years, there has been a tendency for clerks at coffee shops, bakeries, etc, to put out jars in the hopes of collecting tips.

It is unwise to leave the tip with the front desk upon your earture.
Person tipped Amount
Server (restaurant) 15% to 20% of the bill, excluding taxes. For large parties (6 or more), a tip is usually included in the bill, typically 18%. This does not preclude the host's adding a bit more if the service was outstanding.
If you tie up a table for a very long time, tip double, to take the place of the tip from the seating that was missed.
The tax law of the United States (see IRS form 8027) assumes that servers receive tips equal to 8% of the amount of the check. They are required to pay income tax on this 8% whether they received it or not. Because of this practice, not tipping a server actually costs the server money.
Bartender 10% to 15% of the bar bill if your party is a large one; otherwise $1 or $2 for each round of drinks.
Cocktail server As for a bartender.
Maître'd hôtel For fulfilling a particular request, not less than $5. In some restaurants, the maître'd is the proprietor; don't tip the owner of an establishment.
Skycap, porter $1 per bag, more for unusually heavy or unwieldy baggage.
Taxi driver 10% to 15% of fare, never less than $1.
Doorman $2 for hailing a cab or other special service. The annual holiday gift is something like $20 to $100, depending on where you lve.
Limousine driver 15% to 20% of bill.
Parking valet $2 per car.
Hotel bellhop $1 per bag on delivering bags to room. If you leave luggage for safekeeping after you have checked out, $2 on leaving the luggage, $2 on retrieval.
Room service server Check to see if the bill includes a service charge. If so, $2. If not, it depends on the level of the service. 10%. A server who sets the table, pours the wine, and so forth should be tipped on the same schedule as the server in a a restaurant.
Hotel chambermaid $2 per day at a budget hotel, 3 - $5 , more depending on room rate. In many establishments a room may be cleaned by a different person every day. If that is the case, tip daily. Leave the tip on the bed pillow, because money left there is unambiguously a tip. Money left on, say, a table or dresser could have been left by the guest accidently, and a competent chambermaid will leave it be. If you are staying in an establishment so small, or staying so long, that you become familiar with the staff, you can tip weekly. If you have trashed a room, tip generously.
Stylist, barber 15% of charge.
Coat check $1 per coat.
Concierge $5 for substantial help.
Movers locsl vs long distance based, in the first place, on the number of hours the movers work, not the size of the bill from the company. Each member of a moving crew should be tipped individually. Don't give it all to the foreman.

water and soft drinks (not beer! companies forbid it) acces to toilets, lunch Such graciousness is separate from, and do not replace, tipping.

Mail carriers The post office is covered by 5 C.F.R. Part 2635 (see below), though technically they are not part of the executive branch. In its interpretation, mail carriers can accept holiday gifts in kind valued at no more than $20. (In theory, they share such gifts as a cache of cookies with everyone in the branch.) Carriers are not allowed to accept cash. Gift cards from stores and restaurants are not considered cash, but a debit card from a financial institution, such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, is considered cash.
Trash collectors  

Who does NOT get tipped in the United States

Americans abroad

The behavior of previous American tourists has conditioned servers to anticipate tips from American tourists even if from no other class of customers.

Cruise ships

We won't discuss tipping for services on cruise ships, because an excellent interactive calculator that incorporates the tipping recommendations of the major cruise lines is available at

Australia and New Zealand

In general, in keeping with their strongly egalitarian societies, tipping is discouraged.


In restaurants, the gratuity is included in the check. A few


taken as an insult.


Michael Lynn at Cornell University's School of Hotel Management has made a number of studies of tipping, and reached some interesting conclusions.

William Rufus Johnson.
The Itching Palm; A Study of the habit of tipping in America.
Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Company, 1916.


We have to tip, of course, and as every keeper can tell you it is the poor man who gives the biggest tip, generally with the best grace.

T.H. White.
England Take My Bones.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1936
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