Tips for U.S. Travel

Sunday, April 16, 2006

There are no tipping commandments, no final authority that has handed down rules of right and wrong. But after interviewing experts and ethicists, and searching our soul, we can present some widely accepted guidelines for tipping in the United States. (For international destinations, see below.) Reminder: No need to tip the government, so figure your tips before taxes.

-- Cindy Loose


· Waiter: 15 to 20 percent.

· Counter service: 15 to 20 percent.

· Takeout: 10 percent.

· Buffet: Nothing, unless a waiter delivers the food; then 10 percent. $1 to $2 for the drink refiller.

· Sommelier: Some experts say 10 percent, some say 20, and some say that for an expensive bottle -- say over $100 -- forget the percentage and give a flat fee, beginning at about $20.

· Bartender: Either $1 per drink or 15 to 20 percent of the bill. For best service, tip for each drink rather than at the end.

· Coat checker: If there is already a fee, you don't have to tip; otherwise, $1 an item.

· Restroom attendant: 50 cents to $1.


· Garage attendant: $1.

· Valet parking attendant: $2 (beyond the valet parking fee).

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