Guide to Tipping

December 26, 2022

Are you planning to head out of town for a relaxing getaway or family road trip? Wherever the road is taking you, it’s sure to include encounters with professionals in the hospitality, tourism, and food service industries. But how can you tell who expects a tip and how much is appropriate? To help, here is a tipping etiquette guide for all types of excursions.
A cash tip under a cocktail glass on a tile table top.

General Travel Tipping Guidelines

Gratuity can make a big difference for those working in tipped positions. As such, you need to bring cash along and factor tips into your vacation budget. It can be hard to know how much to tip in a given environment; especially if you are traveling. Increasing the amount can go a long way in rewarding excellent service, but so can mentioning that person in a review or in a note to management. 

Please feel free to let other travelers know about your experience with The Parking Spot; Google Reviews, other review sites or reaching out directly to your facility are all good channels for feedback. Remember to tip on the full price, not a discounted rate. While timeliness varies, the tipping point is generally at the end of service.

When dining out in America, waiters and waitresses usually receive a tip amounting to 15-20% of the total bill. Tour guides and activity providers are along the same lines at 10-20%. For group tours or a short excursion, the tip can be lower. For private tours and day-long activities, the tip can be on the higher end. Ride-sharing and private transportation services also rely on tips. Plan for 10-20% and adjust as needed depending on the time of day or distance of travel.


Hotel tips often depend on the level of luxury. For instance, not every establishment offers room service or courtesy drivers, but most will still have housekeeping staff.

  • Front desk agent: No tip is necessary unless providing concierge services or additional tasks.
  • Concierge: The amount depends on the service provided, but $5 is considered fair for basic services.
  • Valet service: What should you tip the valet? When the vehicle is delivered back to you, it’s customary to tip $2-5. For parking, it can be optional or a lower amount. Consider more for your Parking Spot valet since that person may also be charging your EV or washing your vehicle.
  • Bellhop: Depending on the number of bags or trips, $1-5.
  • Housekeeping: How do you tip the housekeeper? Per night, the American Hotel & Lodging Association suggests $1-5. If you receive housekeeping each day of your visit, tip each day. Leaving a tip at the end of the trip may not go to everyone who serviced the room.
  • Room service: Food delivery is tipped similarly to a restaurant at 15-20% but is typically included in the bill. 
  • Shuttle drivers: You are welcome and encouraged to tip your shuttle driver, especially if the service and hospitality were outstanding. The Parking Spot makes it easy to tip your driver. Just scan the QR code on the shuttle with your phone and select your desired tip amount. Add your credit card or log in to your Spot Club account to complete your tip.
  • Spa services: Like at a standard salon, these professionals expect 15-20%.

Tipping on Cruises

Tipping on a cruise may not be necessary if it’s automatically included. If gratuity was not included as a fee, there might be a tip box by reception, or you may want to bring cash. The cruise line may also recommend an amount to be added to the final bill.

All-Inclusive Resorts Tipping

Tipping at an all-inclusive resort is also typically included, with extra fee stacked on for daily services. If you’re unsure what all the fees cover, review the folio carefully or inquire with the front desk upon check-in. If not included, follow basic hotel guidelines with $1 per bag for the bellhop, $5 per day for housekeeping and so on.

Tipping While Abroad

Tipping in other countries is a different matter entirely. Before traveling abroad, research the customs and tipping expectations for that particular country or region. Doing so can help save you time and maybe some embarrassment.

Getting the Most Out of Your Vacation

Want your trip to be unforgettable? The Parking Spot has a range of off-site parking locations to make transportation a breeze. Also, be sure to checkout our other travel tips for all types of getaways and essential guidelines for your upcoming adventure!

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