How Tipping Works

Tipping Guidelines: Hotels, Airports, Parking and Auto-related

Tips are not usually necessary for desk clerks, unless they do something out of the ordinary for you.
Tips are not usually necessary for desk clerks, unless they do something out of the ordinary for you.
Courtesy Steve Mann/


Gratuities to hotel staff vary from location to location, usually depending on the size of the metropolitan area and class of hotel. Although hotel personnel and the typical services that they provide are listed below, should any staff member go above and beyond (outside of these guidelines), you should consider compensating them for their efforts.

  • Bellhops - At least one dollar for each bag they carry (more if the bags are especially large, heavy or awkward to carry), and more if they go above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Maid service - One to $10 per night. This, of course, depends on the mess you make, the price of the room and the extra services you request.
  • Concierge - Five to $10, depending on how helpful he or she is. If the concierge suggested and made reservations for you at a great restaurant or arranged for your entertainment, then you might tip $20 to $25.
  • Doorman - Should a doorman call or a hail a taxi for you, then a $1 gratuity is appropriate.


  • Food and pizza delivery - Two to $5, depending on distance and weather conditions.
  • Flower delivery -One to $10, with the higher amounts going to especially large or multiple arrangements.
  • Large deliveries (like furniture) - usually require $5 to $10 per person, with more for extra service.


  • Skycaps - One to $2 per bag for carrying and checking your luggage. The same goes for shuttle drivers if they help you with your bags. Anyone who helps you out with special services, such as wheel chair assistance, should be given a small tip.
  • Taxi-cab drivers - Fifteen to 20 percent of the fare.

Parking and auto-related

  • Valet tips - One to $2 per car when you pick the car up. If you ask for special care or for quicker retrieval, then you might also tip when you drop the car off.
  • Mechanic - Ten to $20 or more for jobs over $500.
  • Gas station attendants - One to $2 or more when they voluntarily check fluids, wash windows, etc., should receive .

[Source:O, the Oprah magazine].

Next, we'll look at international tipping customs and when you should refrain from tipping. ­­­