A tip is a discretionary payment for personal services, always given as cash and not in kind. Michael Lynn at Cornell University's School of Hotel Management has made a number of studies of tipping, and reached some interesting conclusions. The behavior of previous tourists has conditioned servers to anticipate tips from American tourists if from no other class of customers.

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. Such tipping is far from obligatory.

Person tipped Amount
Server (waiter/waitress) 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 assumes that servers have received tips equal to 15% of the amount of the check, and they are required to pay taxes on these hypothetical tips.  Because of this practice, not tipping a server actually costs the person 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; never 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.
Limousine driver 15% to 20% of bill.
Parking valet $2 per car.
Hotel bellhop $1 per bag.
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, left at end of stay, with the following exceptions: If the maids seem to change every day, tip daily. In a stay of many weeks, tip weekly. If you are a slob who trashes the room, tip more.
Stylist, barber 15% of charge.
Coat check $1 per coat.
Concierge $5 for substantial help.

Cruise ships

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

Who does NOT get tipped in the United States

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

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