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The Easy Guide to Tipping Etiquette

Going Out to Eat

You decide to try out the cool new bistro downtown, and you’re delighted by how excellent your server was. She took care of everything you needed, right down to finding out the ingredients in the pesto—you’re allergic to pine nuts, but walnuts are fair game. You were planning to tip at the end of the night, but how much would be appropriate? 15% is the standard, but superb service usually calls for 20% or more.

Valet Parking

A valet parked your car before dinner, and brings it to the curb as you leave. You need to thank him for his help, and a couple bucks will do. Tip between $3 to $5 after he brings back your car.

A Day at the Spa

Nothing is more relaxing than a full body massage. The candles, the aromatic oils... and then you get the bill, which is a little less relaxing. Don’t be stressed out by calculating a tip: the rules are the same as going to a restaurant, but be a little more generous. A 20% tip is preferable.  

A Guided Tour

You spend the day on a guided tour of the city. Your guide is very informative and helpful—she’s pretty funny, too. At the end of the day, you should tip her between 15% and 20%.

Hotel Housekeeping

You’ve enjoyed your vacation. The weather was wonderful, the hotel spa was blissful, and your room was always tidied up in the mornings. Some people overlook everything that housekeepers do. Thank the hotel maids for making your stay comfortable; tip them $2 to $5 for each night you stayed. 

Friday Night at the Bar

Going out for drinks with your friends? Don’t forget to tip your bartender. There are two ways to go about this: either tip $1 or $2 per drink, or 15% to 20% of the tab. 

Saturday Afternoon on the Couch

As much as you love to hit the town, you had one too many drinks at the bar last night. Instead of going out for lunch, you decide to order Chinese take-out. If you were picking up your food at the restaurant, there wouldn’t be an obligation to tip. However, if you opt for home delivery, tip the driver 10%--and a little extra if he drove through dangerous weather.

Being Taxied Around Town

Your taxi driver’s tip will depend on multiple factors. Is your destination far away? Was your driver polite? If you have a pleasant experience, feel free to tip as much as 18%. If the driver only gets you from point A to point B (and gets you there late at that), tip as low as 10%. 

A Cut, Color, and Style

A hair cut at a salon isn’t cheap, especially if you get the whole shebang. Your hairdresser did a great job on your ‘do, so the best thing you could do is leave a generous tip. Leave 15% to 20% of your bill. You’ll do the same for manicurists and hair removal specialists. 

The Coffee Shop Tip Jar

You head to your neighborhood coffee shop and notice the tip jar on the counter, the contents of which are split amongst the baristas. You aren’t expected to tip, but you should leave a little something if you order coffee for the entire office, ask for a very complicated drink, or you’re a regular customer.