Gratuity guide: Rules for tipping in the United States

Followed by the bellman ($2 first bag, $1 each additional).

And the concierge ($5 to $20, depending on the task), who can recommend several good bistros in the area and help with hard-won reservations.

Later, the taxi driver whisks you to your restaurant (10-20%) where the maitre d’ has gone the extra distance ($10 plus, quietly) to secure the perfect window-side table with the sort of grace and palm-nourished professionalism rivaled only by your sommelier (discretionary), waiter (15-20%) and restroom attendant (a buck if you take the towel and mint; more for emergency supplies and quick marital advice).

Back at the hotel, your suite has been carefully prepared by an invisible but very much existent and equally deserving housekeeper ($2 to $5 per day).

And on it goes.

Spa therapists and hairdressers (15-20%).

Skycaps ($1 per bag, $2 for heavy ones) and tour guides (15%-ish is most appreciated).

And now, all of a sudden, let’s not forget the dude manning the register at the indie pizza joint, gastro-pub or premium ice cream parlor who swipes your card and then swivels the screen around to let you discreetly e-tip a suggested default amount — 10% …15% … 18% … 25% … and here it comes 30% (for over-the-counter grub) — while he politely looks away.

Yes, there’s also a “No Gratuity” option at the bottom of the screen if you’re that person.

And not to worry.

No one’s judging you to your face.

Courtesy shuttle: $1 to $2 per bag if your driver helps you with them.

Taxis, limos, vans and paid shuttles: 15% of the total fare and up to 20% for above-and-beyond service, advises

Head to heel

Hair: 15% will suffice but the “cardinal rule” for salons is 20%, says

Same range is customary for your massage therapist at the spa.

Shoe shine: 10% = Unhappy. 20% = “We’re good.” 30% = “Wow.” 40% = “You’ve just made my day, I want to make yours,” translates a seasoned New York shoe shine person to

Last few tips

Before tipping, check that a service charge hasn’t already been added.

Tip discreetly, respectfully and from the full amount if you use a coupon or gift certificate to offset the bill.

When in doubt, you’re allowed to ask (preferably the receptionist or concierge, and not the person you’d actually be tipping) if tipping is customary and generally how much is appropriate.

Jordan Rane writes regularly for CNN Travel and The Los Angeles Times. A Lowell Thomas Award recipient from the Society of American Travel Writers, his work on travel and the outdoors has spanned six continents and appeared in more than 50 publications. He lives in Los Angeles.