Tipping is so solidly ground into the fabric of the economy and culture, it is unavoidable. If you plan to travel, you must plan to tip.
Shipping lines can provide a list of recommended tips. In general, tips on your cruise will amount to 15 to 20 percent of your cabin fare.
The porter who takes your bags at the pier gets $2 a bag, more if you have trunks. On board, you might get better service if you give your cabin steward and your dining room steward $20 or $30 at the beginning of the cruise. These stewards usually are tipped a total of $3 to $5 a day, more if you are in a suite. Bar and lounge stewards are tipped 20 percent of the bill. Wine stewards get 15 to 18 percent of the wine bill, just as they do at a fine restaurant. For personal services—hairdressers, manicurists, and so on—tip as you would on land.
Mind Your P's and Q's
When traveling by plane, a buck a bag is the correct tip for a sky-cap. No other tipping is required. Tip a private driver, limousine or taxi, 18 to 20 percent of the total bill.
Don't tip officers or the cruise director. A thank-you note will do.
On the last day of the cruise, put tips in envelopes with a note for each recipient. Hand them out personally or, if necessary, have the purser distribute them. It is worth the effort to write a note because the staff will appreciate your personal thanks.
In first class, the ticket covers the costs of meals and service. However, you may tip $10 or $20 at the end of a long trip if service was good. If meals are not included in the ticket price, tip as you would in a restaurant.
For overnight trips, tip the porter about $10 a day if he makes up your berth, wakes you, brings coffee and a newspaper, or performs similar services.
Redcaps, or baggage porters, get $1 or $2 per bag whether you are traveling first class or coach.
Someone will be designated to collect tips at the end of a bus tour. The usual rate is $3 to $5 a day for the tour guide and $2 to $4 a day for the driver. If you want to contribute individually, put your tips in a sealed envelope with a note.
The following are recommendations for tipping at a luxury hotel. Tip slightly less at less expensive hotels.
Doorman: $1 or $2 for hailing a cab.
Porter: $1 a bag, more if unwieldy; $2 if a porter brings you something special, like a toothbrush; tip more if the porter has to leave the hotel to get what you want.
Room service waiter: 20 percent of the bill unless the tip is on the bill.
Maids: $2 or $3 a night. (If possible, give the maid the tip yourself. Too many people come and go in a hotel room to leave money lying around.)
Concierge: $5 a day if he or she does something for you that day.
Parking valet: $2 for bringing the car around.
Note: Some luxury hotels and spas include tips with the room charge. Even so, you might want to tip the maître d' in the dining room $20 or $30 at the start of your visit, as a sort of insurance policy for good seating and service.