Tipping Tips

According to "experts," here are some tipping guidelines, but remember that tipping is really up to you, based upon your particular experience with the service. Nonetheless, those concerned probably earn a good chunk of their income through you. Okay, with that preamble, here we go:

Tip a concierge $5 for special service. Yes, I know that they often receive a kickback from tour operators, but reward exceptional service. A massage therapist should be given 15 percent of the cost of the treatment just as a waiter receives the same amount for your meal. A room-service waiter also gets 15 percent. Remember that your tip is based upon the amount of the bill before tax.

Housekeepers receive $2 to $4 per night, left discreetly on the pillow; no need to add a note, but I know someone who always does. Housekeepers often provide a convenient envelope with a name on it. A train porter gets $1 to $2 per bag as does the person at the airport and the driver in a shuttle who collects your luggage. Cab drivers are allotted 10 percent. A wine steward is awarded 20 percent of the wine bill while nautical types give the cabin steward $3 to $5 per day.

Tipping overseas depends on where you are. In Japan or Thailand, people are insulted when provided with a tip. Go figure. In other countries, they are insulted if you don't. Best to Google the tipping habits in the specific country involved. Be aware that in Europe, a 10-15 percent service charge is usually added to bills, so a few coins will suffice.

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