This area comes a lot more naturally to people from countries with a tipping culture, as opposed to someone like me from Australia where we really don't tip that much (maybe 10% on a nice meal at a good restaurant, but certainly not to the extent of somewhere like the US). It can divide a lot of opinion on what the fair amount is but I want to provide a couple of tips on giving tips!
Do a bare minimum of background research or asking around - preferably before you land there. Yes this is mostly to avoid that brief moment of silence when you have completely offended the cabbie who went out of his way to help and could have been avoided with an extra buck or two.
I don't mean you have to know each industry's tip % or what not, but a general level of awareness is a good start.
Here is one super handy info graphic Mint (a personal finance app in the US) put together:
That is as good as start you will find anywhere.
There is also a few tipping apps out there, but a good bit of rough math in your head never hurt :-)
I think my guiding tip on this area is to go with what feels about right, and a little on the generous side if you really did have a good experience.
From personal experience I think karma really does come around particularly when you travel and are dealing with service industries most of your trip (food and hospitality), it is other people you are dealing with- treat them with respect and generosity and you might be amazed what comes back to you!
What is your tips on tipping?
Written by Peter Cain
Peter Cain is the Founder and CEO of dataGO.co, a company committed to making it easier and cheaper to stay connected whilst travelling. You can find him on Twitter and Google+. You can also find dataGO on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ for all the latest info on local and roaming SIMs and data hotspots.