Tipping is one of the most important skills that you will ever have. You are essentially giving a legalized bribe to smooth the interaction between yourself and the other person.
Say you go to a restaurant. From the waiter’s point of view, he has the expectation that you will leave a good tip at the end of the service. What happens if you are a lousy tipper? The waiter would have jumped through hoops for no tip or a lousy tip at the end. If the waiter has the vibe that you are not going to be a good tipper, he will not serve you well.
Give a good tip as soon as your are seated. There is an obligation for good service because you have paid him already. The relationship between you and the waiter is not of hope, but obligation. He is going to do everything necessary to take care of you because he has that money in his pocket.
Many people show up with a stack of money and shower everybody with it. If you slip $10 or $20 to everybody you encounter, you will have nothing to show for it.
Suppose you arrive at a hotel from the airport. You give $10 to the taxi driver, $10 to the porter, $10 to the bell hop, $10 to the concierge, and $10 to the desk agent. You tipped five people, but there was only one person who could change your experience at the hotel.
Who can change your experience at the hotel? The DESK AGENT can.
I was in Munich a year ago for vacation. I booked a standard room for $100 a night. As I was checking in, I slipped $200 to the desk agent UNDER my credit card as I was paying for the room. The agent took the $200 and upgraded my standard room to a suite. The price difference between the standard room and suite was $500 a night. Because I was staying there for 7 nights, I was getting more than $2,800 in value for a $200 tip.
Tip generously, but only tip people that can affect your experience.
20% of the total cost is sufficient. If your meal is $100, $20 is fine. If you are paying $800 for five nights at a hotel, under $200 should be fine.
You want to tip in increments of 10 and nothing less than 10 of that currency. A $5 or $1 tip is kind of cheesy, and increments of $10 look better.
There is no trick to it – you want to do it discretely. If you are tipping a waiter, have the bill in your hand and hold it downward. If you need to use a credit card, fold your money and put it against your credit card as you hand it to the desk agent.
Tipping is important because it teaches the skill of applying money strategically. People think that you need a great deal of money to have a great experience. That is not always true. Sometimes, very little money applied correctly and at the right moment, is what is needed. Think about the trip to Munich where I spent a week at a luxury suite. It was a magical experience, and all it cost was a couple hundred Euros.