1. Travel

Video:How to Tip When Traveling

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Knowing who to tip and how much can get confusing when you're traveling - check out these tips to keep it simple and easy to remember.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Tip When Traveling

Hey guys Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. As an old favorite saying from my bartending days goes, "Tipping is not a city in China." But oddly enough, if you're actually traveling in China, you don't necessarily need to think about tipping all that much. So what's the deal, when to tip and when not to tip when traveling? Take a look at these helpful hints, and you'll never be flummoxed on the subject, ever again. Check it out.

Who to Tip?

Rule number one - keep it simple. Trying to memorize a big list of people and services and the tip amounts you should consider giving if about as fun as learning the periodic table. Before you do anything, think about this: why are you tipping?

Waiters, bartenders, housekeepers, valets, bellmen, stylists, doormen, cab drivers, and sky caps all work for relatively modest salaries, so if you see people working hard for you and being attentive and doing it with a genuine smile, you might want to consider giving them a tip.

How Much to Tip?

Rule number two - how much do you tip? Think about your tips this way - for excellent service you're either giving a buck or two, or leaving a percentage of the bill. Give a buck or two a bag to good bellmen, doormen, skycaps, and shuttle drivers that handle your luggage; a buck or two a drink to bartenders, a buck or two per key or ticket hand off to valets, a buck or two to doormen who hail you a cab, and a buck or two per night for the housekeeper at your hotel.

For waiters, large bar tabs, cabbies, hair stylists and body treatment specialists, give 15% for getting the job done, take away 5% if its bad but not offensive service, and add 5% if its excellent.

Likewise, if anyone in the service industry does you a solid, hit 'em back with a finsky. And if you're looking for tickets to a sold out show or entry into a list-only club, concierges and bouncers can make magical things happen when properly motivated. I should also mention here that these are standard tips in the United Sates, where tipping has become an integrated part of the service industry, but not necessarily everywhere.

Know How to Tip Abroad

Rule number three - do your homework. If you are traveling outside the States, do a thorough search on the internet or look through up-to-date travel guides. The cultural differences can be a bit overwhelming, and tipping is no exception, so be prepared for any situation you're likely to encounter.

Look for Service Charges

Always look out for the hidden service charges as well. Especially in areas frequented by tourists, it's not uncommon to find the gratuity already included. But also know that in some places, the service charge does not preclude the expectation that you'll leave a tip on top. Like I said, look it up before you go, so you'll know for sure. And in any event, tip or no tip, just remember to be cool, and be nice. Service industry people are there to serve you and help you, so show a little love.

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