A Guide to Tipping for Business Travelers

Tipping Etiquette for Business Travelers

Woman putting money into tips jar.

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Although there are no official rules around tipping for business travelers, there is a general assumption that people who are traveling on the company's dime have the resources to be more generous tippers. Combined with the fact that business travelers tend to stay at upscale hotels, it's safe to say that you will need to adjust your tipping habits for your business trip.

Most of the time, no one will know you're on a business trip and the person who serves you lunch at the restaurant down the street won't think to expect a bigger tip just because you mention you're traveling on business. As a rule of thumb, you should tip more in any situation in which it is obvious that you are using the company's budget, such as taking your team out for big dinner.

Also, if you're traveling outside of the U.S., you should firstly do your research on the tipping culture of that country. The following guide only pertains to tipping practices for business travelers in the U.S.

Hotels

If your company can afford to put you up at an upscale hotel, keep in mind that these employees may be accustomed to receiving more generous tips. The same expectation also applies if you are staying a medium-range hotel, but if it is obvious you are there for a work-related reason, such as attending a conference that is being hosted in the same hotel. The following tips are within range of what's standard, but will definitely be considered generous.

  • You should tip the doorman $2 if helps you with your bags or hails a cab.
  • Porters should be tipped $2 per bag if they assist you.
  • When ordering room service, tip 15 percent if no service charge has been applied.
  • You should leave between $3-5 per day for the housekeeping staff, especially if your room is particularly messy. If you would prefer not to tip daily, you can leave the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door.

Restaurants

If you're just grabbing a meal between meetings, you don't have to worry about adjusting your tip. However, if you're taking the team out to dinner, especially a large team, or taking a client out for a business meeting, you should tip your servers at 20 percent or higher.

Taxis

Even if your cab driver asks you what brings you to town, you don't need to adjust the size of your tip. Instead, double-check the tipping expectations for the country or city you happen to be visiting and tip at the standard rate.

Tours

If you have some free time and decide to take a tour for yourself, you can consider yourself a leisure traveler and should tip your guide normally. However, if you're the one organizing a private tour for your co-workers or peers, you should tip at 20 percent the total cost of the tour, especially if you have a tour guide who is friendly, knowledgeable, and overall made the experience more enjoyable for everybody.

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