Published January 14, 1999

Tipping Guide: How Much to Tip for Limo, How Much to Tip Parking Valet + More

Whom do you tip? When? How much?

These are questions every business traveler grapples with. Tipping is a way of expressing thanks for services rendered. These days, tips are also doled out beforehand as a subtle bribe for special treatment. A generous tipper will often be given superior service at the hotels he or she frequents.

Unfortunately, tips have come to be taken for granted -- customers are expected to tip regardless of the quality of service. Never feel obliged to tip if you are unhappy with the service; it is not mandatory to leave a tip. Tip only at your discretion and as a reward for excellent service.

At every step of a business trip, you will come across people who help make your journey a little easier. Do carry a lot of change and small bills for tips -- and when someone has gone out of their way to provide timely assistance or extra services, be as liberal as you can. The amount may be a small one to you, but it may be a lot for the person at the receiving end.

Below are some suggestions for tipping the people you are most likely to encounter while traveling.

- Taxi/Limo Drivers: A two- to three-dollar tip is usually satisfactory; tip more if he helps you with your bags or puts his foot on the gas to get you to your destination on time.

- Porters: A standard tip for airport and train porters is one dollar per bag; more if your luggage is heavy enough to dislocate shoulders.

- Hotel Bellman: Again, one dollar per bag is standard. Tip when he shows you to your room and again if he assists you upon checkout. Tip more if he provides any additional service. A five-dollar tip upon arrival can usually guarantee you special attention should you require it.

- Doorman: Typically, a one-dollar tip for hailing a taxi is appropriate. Consider tipping more for special service, such as carrying your bags or shielding you with an umbrella.

- Concierge: Tip for special services such as making restaurant or theater reservations or arranging sightseeing tours. The amount of the tip is generally dependent on the type of service provided and the level of difficulty involved. Tip anything between two dollars and $10. You can either tip for each service, or in a lump sum when you depart. If you want to ensure special treatment from the concierge, you might consider a $10 to $20 tip upon arrival.

- Hotel Maid: When it comes to tipping, maids are often neglected because they do their work when you are not around. For more than one night's stay, one dollar per night is standard. Leave the tip in the hotel room in a marked envelope.

- Parking Attendants: Tip one or two dollars when your car is delivered.

- Waiters: 15 to 20 percent of your pre-tax check is considered standard. The same applies for room service waiters. Some restaurants will automatically add a 15 percent service tax to your bill -- look for it before tipping. If the 15 percent has already been added, you need only tip up to another five percent for superlative service.

- Cloakroom Attendants: If there is a charge for the service, a tip is not necessary. However, if there is no charge, or extra care is taken with your coat and bags, a one to two dollar tip is appropriate.

- Tour Guides/Charter Bus Drivers: If a tip is not automatically included, tip one dollar for a half-day tour, two for a full-day tour, and anywhere from five to 10 dollars for a week-long tour. Tip a private guide more.