how to & travel

{take me away № 10 | holiday etiquette : part two}



Whether you are traveling or will remain at home this Christmas, it is always thoughtful to think of those whose services you require on a regular basis, for a well-mannered traveler is always grateful for good service.


Beyond a spoken thank you, tipping is essential in many cases, and for services above and beyond, a handwritten thank you note is always an elegant and appreciative touch.


As for your regular go-to services at home, it is a wonderful gesture to acknowledge their continuous service during the holidays . . .

[as a follow-up to {take me away № 08 | holiday etiquette}, in this article, sarah discusses the topic of tipping while traveling and provides a useful reference guide]


T I P P I N G • W H I L E T R A V E L I N G

While traveling, knowing who and just how much to tip can be a tricky matter, and in any case, one would like to avoid under-tipping or being perceived as ungrateful, and even in some cases, rude. Though tipping varies from country to country, [with some not requiring a tip at all], it is important to be courteous and represent your country of residence well. Rest easy and remember that tipping is a sign of thanks and appreciation for service well done, and with this guide, you will find some key points to assist you in doing so:


{travel services}

01 | tours: tip a local guide $1 per person for a half-day tour and $2 for a full-day tour. If the tour is lengthy and spans the better part or full trip, $3-$5 per day is best; you may also wish to tip your transportation driver $2 per day



01 | taxi: generally offering 15-20% of the total cost [if luggage is excessive, you may wish to offer an extra dollar per piece for the efforts] is appropriate

02 | limousine: you may offer 15% as with taxi services, however, a limousine driver will most often take extra care, and so, 20% of the total price is nice

* note: while traveling by airplane, particularly if you are flying business or first class, a thank you is quite sufficient for services

01 | doorman: often a spoken thank you is quite enough, but if you require their assistance with luggage when arriving to the hotel, a tip of $1-$4 is nice; if you require extra service or are staying at the hotel for a lengthy time, kindly offer a few extra dollars at the end of your trip, in addition

02 | bellhop: $2 for the initial bag, and $1 per additional bag; for any additional services such as room service, be sure to offer $2-$3

03 | concierge: for general questions/inquiries, tipping is not necessary; for booking restaurant reservations, tickets, or assisting in organizing or planning, $10-$12 is best

04 | valet: once your vehicle is returned, you may offer a tip of $2-$5


05 | housekeeper: for their daily tidying, turn down service and such, be sure to leave a tip of $3-$5 on a daily basis; as you may have belongings scattered around the room, it is important to either leave the tip within a marked envelope, or clipped with a thank you note; if your room will require more work, an upward tip of $5 or $6 is appropriate

{beauty / spa services}

01 | hair stylist: 15%-20% of the total cost; be sure to divide your tip amongst those who assisted, such as the person who shampooed, brought you a complimentary beverage, your stylist, etc. [alternatively, assistants may be given $3-$5 each]
02 | manicure & pedicure: 15%-20% of the cost, with a split of the tip to those who also assisted in your comfort [i.e. bringing you a robe, beverage and/or complimentary snack, etc.]

03 | massage, facial & waxing: 15%-20% of the total, however, if your massage is on the lengthy side, you may offer 20%

04 | makeup artist: you may wish to have your makeup professionally applied for an event, and so, a tip of 20% of the bill is thoughtful


{dining out}

01 | host or maitre d’: there is no obligation to tip for showing you to your table, however, if he or she has gone above and beyond to secure a reservation or accommodate a large group, a $10 tip is a nice gesture

02 | waiter or waitress: 10%-15% of the bill before taxes is generally ideal

03 | restroom attendant: a tip of $0.50-$3 is nice, but also dependent on the extent of services

04 | valet: as with hotels, once your vehicle is returned, you may offer a tip of $2-$5



05 | delivery: 10%-15% of the total bill, but towards 15% if your delivery is on the large or complicated side [or if the distance is greater]
06 | takeout: a tip is not customary for takeout orders; however, if you have pre-ordered for an event or have a large order, a tip of 10% for the extra service is lovely

07 | tipping jar: if you will be frequenting a particular café during your stay, or for extra friendly service, offer a $1 or $2 tip


{additional services}

01 | pet care: you may require a little extra help for your pet, such as a dog walking service, while you are traveling; generally, 10%-15% of the total fee is appropriate

02 | golf caddies: 15%-20% of the club’s charge for golfing is most ideal


T I P P I N G • B Y

The tipping recommendations above are given in approximation, and you may wish to change dollars for whichever country’s currency you will be visiting. Many countries will happily accept dollars, but the following may not: Israel, South Africa, Argentina, and the French Caribbean. For an additional look at country-specific guidelines for tipping, please consult the Condé Nast Traveler guide. And in any case, if you are uncertain, you may always do as the locals do, or ask for suggestions from hotel staff upon arrival.

A L I T T L E E X T R A • F O R T H E H O L I D A Y S

As aforementioned, whether you are traveling during Christmas and/or New Year’s or are remaining at home, tipping a little extra, writing a thank you note, and gifting a little extra something is always thoughtful. There are services that you may require during the year on a regular basis, and we must thank those who specialize in the services that we greatly enjoy and appreciate.


However, do not feel overwhelmed—giving a little extra at Christmas is budget dependant—and remember, it is the thought and gesture that counts! Below you will find some helpful ideas and tips on giving at Christmas:


{thank you cards}

A handwritten card should include two to three sentences, offering thanks and appreciation. Give to all service providers that you require at home, and while traveling, as required, for exemplary service. In addition, you might like to leave or send a note to those you were staying with over Christmas and/or New Year’s—be it family, friends or even a small B&B.


{extra tipping guide}

01 | one week’s pay: dog walker, house cleaner, au pair/live in nanny, cook, butler, personal care giver

02 | one session’s worth: regular babysitter, barber/hair stylist, beauty/esthetician, pet groomer, pool and/or yard maintenance

03 | $5 to $10: dairy [and other food items] delivery, diaper services, business/commercial services, dry cleaning/laundry service

04 | $10 to $20: newspaper delivery, garage/parking attendants, garbage and recycling collectors

05 | $20 to $50: doorman, superintendant, daycare provider, elevator operator


{a small gift}

A thoughtful gift is always a kind gesture, and needn’t be large or extravagant. Your gift may be homemade, [such as a special ornament or chocolate bark perhaps] or liberal in size and price, as to not offend or make the receiver feel overwhelmed.

{you may wish to include}: doorman, superintendant, teachers and instructors, therapists, au pair/nanny/daycare provider, housecleaner, any maintenance providers, pet groomer, dog walker, newspaper delivery, beauty/esthetician, private nurse/healthcare provider

*for additional etiquette tips: Emily Post’s Everyday Etiquette and The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum.

*a final tip: whenever possible, delivering your gift and/or card by hand is the best way possible . . . 

{images:do something worth remembering // soft ball // bergdorf princess // sara’s scrapbook // l’elegance du herrisson //soho streets // forelsket // po // a previous post // clic par hasard // a previous post // confusion // a previous post via haute design // photography by nicole hill gerulat // escapism // a-ve-nue // something white // dress // aileenzakka // sara’s scrapbook // follow studio // photography by michael paul; holiday & thank you cards by rifle paper co.}

Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curled up in her home library, exploring enchanting tales, lands to be discovered and explored, intriguing stories, and timeless beauty. What resulted is a lifelong passion for love and authenticity, delightful simplicity and beautiful moments. Educated in design, marketing and English, Sarah’s keen eye and aesthetic allow her to immerse beauty and heartfelt passion into both her personal and professional projects.

17 Notes
  • I find tipping such a minefield… how much, who to, when… but this is certainly helpful if travelling overseas. In Australia we generally only tip at restaurants and then it is based on how great the service, meal, drinks, and ambience was on the night.
    Thanks Sarah..

  • klvolker, anonymous no.2, anonymous no. 3 — yes, would agree that, while can not speak for other cities in the US, in nyc, 18% – 20% is the standard for tipping at restaurants — thank you for your input & hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season x

  • Anonymous said...

    Yes, as a waitress in the States, 10-15% would NOT make me a happy camper– 18% is standard for good service, and 20% or more for good service! This also applies to non-Americans dining out in the States!

  • Dearest Sarah,

    What a JOY to find a post like this! With a general tendency of downward morals and ethics, this is a refreshing read! You mention Condé Nast but also the books by Mary Murray Bosrock put your best foot forward for different continents and countries are great. These proved valuable at the time that my husband and I were still International Consultants.
    Thanks again for polishing up this part of etiquette, and it is perfect for the Christmas season!
    Love to you,


  • A beautiful reminder! :)

  • Anonymous said...

    In the United States, it is customary to tip 18-20% of the subtotal of a restaurant bill. As a server in a fine restaurant , the tourist season can be especially rough, as many foreign travelers tip 5-10%. Fine dining etiquette and service applies in all situations in my business, so its’ nice to show appreciation.

  • liza — :)

    lorenabr & mavideniz — thank you! & happy you like the images — sometimes the selection can take a lifetime! x

    rachel — hello rachel! just a quick note to apologise re: email — will reply today

  • Hello Sarah! I’m so grateful for this visually stunning guide to proper etiquette, and I think this is so very important. My father instilled in me first the importance of tipping and showing extra appreciation. I think it demonstrates a certain elegance, and seems a little extra goes a long way especially during the holidays, doesn’t it?

    I will be referring to this again, thank you!


  • This is a great post, I love all the images. They are so elegant.


  • Beautiful post Sarah, and the tipping thing, just give what you think you would like to receive if you work for yourself in these kind of business.
    I always give something extra when the service is more than good!

  • tipping is a funny business, what a very helpful guide! however, if you’re dining out at a restaurant in the united states, please please please leave 18%-20% of the bill as a tip. 10%-15% can be conceived as quite the insult and will have most waiters/waitresses wondering what they did wrong. wages for servers are generally very low ($2.13 an hour in most states.)

  • Hello Anonymous: I am so glad that the guide has been helpful! As for tipping a building superintendent in NYC, the suggested tip is only an approximation, but I am certain your generous tip is well received, especially at Christmas :)

  • This is Wonderful! Extraordinary! I’m sharing it on my Facebook Page! I hope you are having a fabulous week sweetie. If you’ve got a minute I’ve got a new post on Beauty Tips for Holiday Party. Love to hear what you think. Xo


  • oh soft, clean and elegant. I hope I receive and Dior box for this Christmas too ;)

  • Anonymous said...

    great guide! i’ve always wondered about some of these…like how much to tip the assistant to the hair stylist.

    i think that tipping for a building superintendent in NYC should be higher than what you suggest…i generally give $100 to the super for the holidays.

  • Love your post! The images are so divine!

  • What a lovely, helpful post. Thank you.

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