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Whether it’s helping you with luggage or setting a dinner in front of you, it seems these days almost everyone is eligible for the acceptance of a tip. This seems to become even more evident when it comes to traveling, especially within the U.S. How much should I tip the valet for parking in America?

Though it’s incredibly difficult for even the most avid of travelers to know when it is appropriate to tip, and how much, and foreigners traveling throughout the United States are looked upon as incredibly cheap for not opening their wallets to almost every-one they encounter. What to tip a valet for parking

So how does the culture of tipping apply to a valet? If staying in luxury accommodation in America and driving, it’s likely that at some stage, you’ll come into contact with a valet. And regardless of whether or not the hotel gives you the option to self park, if you hand over your keys, you’re expected to give them tip. Do I need to tip the Valet when staying in hotels in America?

Pro Tip: Compare prices on US Hotels via HotelPlanner.com – find discounts to brag about.

Utilize the following tips for a stress free experience, and to know how much is an appropriate tip. What kind of tip should I give for parking my car?

How Much to Tip Valet Parking in the United States

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How Much to Tip for Valet Parking in the USA (And Other Advice)

$2 – $5 for the valet who returns your car to you is a standard tip.

$2 – $5 for the valet who parks your car on arrival is not necessary, but we do it anyway out of appreciation…and as an incentive to take good care of our precious car! How much to tip the parking attendants?

The majority of establishments offering valet parking pool their tips, and generally everything made throughout the course of the day will be split evenly among the employees. Do valets at hotels pool their tips?

Carry cash with you. You don’t want to pull up to the valet and then realize you have no cash for their tip. Also, make sure you have the correct change on you so that you don’t have to dig throughout your wallet or purse in front of them. How much can I make as a valet in the States in tips?

Organize your car. Make sure you have all of your gear already organized before you arrive at your hotel. We held up traffic screwing around trying to organize our suitcases after we arrived.  As you can imagine this was incredibly stressful! What does a valet in America earn in tips?

Don’t forget anything! Keys, wallet, phone, phone charger! Some hotels have a service charge for every time you request your car during your stay. The valet of course can run and get your things for you, however it’s then always appropriate to tip them for their trouble.

Travel with a second pair of car keys. A lot of the time your car will not be accessible to you without having hotel employees fetch it for you.  On the chance that you do have access to the car lot and left something in your car, pack a second set of keys. Do you need to tip the valet in the States?

While staying in Savannah the valet kindly parked our car in the outdoor lot so we could access our bikes. Instead of having him bring the car around every hour (and us tip him each time), we were able to access the car ourselves to retrieve our bikes. Do you need to tip the people who park your car?

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo Credits: Hollywood Valet (First Pinterest Image) by Graham

    32 Comments

  1. I think you are right on with $5 for a tip. At nice hotels with valet parking I expect they pay their attendants a decent wage. If I am going to spend $20-40 for valet parking I think I should be able to figure some of that goes to the parking attendants.

    • And $5 does add up with every car which comes through – even myself as a cocktail server on a minimum wage, if I take in 20 tables over one night who all tip me an average of $10 that’s a pretty decent salary to go home with over the night :)

  2. Great article. As an american, I don’t even know this. probably because i never was able to afford to eat anywhere that had valet. haha…kidding, but i think i always gave 5 or 10 bucks depending on what i had in my pocket…so this is spot on!

    • My husband is American and he didn’t even know lol! Glad we’re on the same page!

  3. Good guide. I never carry cash but always make sure I have lots of singles when traveling for tips at hotels. When we stay in hotels we’ve ended up staying in more nicer places lately, partially because we sometimes use Priceline to secure nice hotels cheaply. And while we might be able to snag a great luxury hotel room in downtown Atlanta for $60, for example, you have to factor in an extra $20 to $30 a day for parking and the valet tips.

    • Thanks Lance :) It’s so true – you do end up having to tack an extra $20 or $30 onto the cost of your trip just in tips!!
      Now that we’re getting older we’re more prone to trying to stay in nice hotels where we can – a lot of the time though as well we try and save where we can by self parking etc – still all adds up!

  4. Ever hear the story of Frank Sinatra and the valet in Las Vegas? As the valet brought his car, Frank asked him, “What’s the best tip you ever got?”

    The valet answered, “$50.”

    Frank said, “Here’s a hundred. By the way, who gave you the $50?”

    The valet, “You did, Mr. Sinatra, last week.”

    • I love this story! I hadn’t heard it before but it’s great! Thanks for sharing Tom :)

  5. Great advice! I usually tend to forget cash for valet parking and second car key which often gets me into an awkward situation.

    • Took us a while to figure out all the little tricks of the trade too :)

  6. I find tipping the most daunting thing about travelling to the US. I’m sure it’s second nature to those that live there or have a longer stay but when you don’t, working out who to tip and how much is a bit tricky. I wouldn’t have had any idea about how much valet parking.

    • Experienced exactly that when I moved to the US in 2013. It’s any kind of service is generally expected a 20% tip, and that goes for cab drivers, valets, the hairdresser. My original thought was that it was just for the restaurant/food service industry. But it really has become super widespread, and I don’t blame foreign travelers for having no clue.

      Would be so much easier if they just abolished the whole system and included it in an employees pay in my opinion!!

  7. Thanks

    But i think ‘$2 – $5 for the valet who returns your car to you is a standard tip ‘ so expensive !

    • It definitely can start to add up if you’re on a long trip and staying at a number of hotels. We do try to self park where-ever possible :)

  8. I’ve definitely not planned ahead and forgotten to have cash on me at the valet. It’s such an awkward situation! One time, after this had happened, I actually went back later and gave the tip. The guy probably didn’t even remember me, but he was still glad to take my cash! I’ll definitely have to start being better about that. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Happened to the best of us! Our last roadtrip was for 3 months so we went to the bank before we left just to take out around $50 in ones!! Had a nice little “valet” cash stash in the car after having learnt how stressful and awkward it is not being prepared in the past!

  9. Great tip. I usually do $5 so great I was doing the right thing. Thanks for sharing. Great read and great tips.

    • Thanks Rachel – glad your experiences have been on par with ours :) Happy travels!

  10. Oh, yes, Megan and Mike! I won’t forget Keys, wallet, phone, phone charger. Thanks for your advice.

    • Glad to hear it! Trust me, makes it a massive pain to retrieve when you do!

      Happy travels :)

  11. This is such a great article. Good to know about tipping the valet, i guess i left a few unhappy folk on my last American tour…..

    • Happy to hear the article was helpful Peter :)

      I’m sure they’re quite used to foreigners not knowing the ins and outs of the tipping culture and missing out on tips from travelers … you can feel fine though knowing that you now know how to approach a valet on future trips :)

  12. I am so surprised I was able to stumble upon this! It is so difficult knowing the proper amount to tip anyone, especially when it comes to those who do these types of services, so this is quite useful for me! Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad you stumbled across our site Larissa, welcome! Glad we could help out :)

  13. That was very nice of the valet to park so near your bikes. It’s great to have considerate professionals on your side in the midst of trying to conveniently get from one place to another.

    • Yes, the valet’s at DoubleTree Savannah were really lovely, and very considerate. It’s little things like that which make a huge difference to a holiday – the convenience and minimal hassle. We give them 5 stars for customer service :)

  14. Great advice! I never thought of bringing a second set of keys but I can see why it would make things easier. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Brian! Glad we could help :) Having a second set of keys came in so handy for us when we were in places where we could access the car ourselves. You’re obviously not meant to, so keep it pretty subtle ;)

  15. I didn’t realize some car lots are closed to the public, so that’s definitely good to keep in mind, especially if you’re forgetful like me! Thanks for these tips!

    • Yep – makes it really difficult when you like to secretly run to the car with your spare pair of keys!!

  16. It may seem like common sense, but people often forget to remove their valuables. “I would recommend clearing your car out of all items of value before you valet park just to take this issue out of the equation,” Ryder said. “Why invite the problem?”

    • Absolutely – and when you’re rocking up at a hotel for the first time, perhaps you’ve been driving all day and you’re tired and stressed trying to get your belongings out. It’s easy to forget when you’re rushing to grab everything, especially if there’s a line up of cars waiting behind you.

      So we try to have organized our valuables before hand so we know we don’t leave anything in the car :)

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