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Follow this travel tipping guide or expect bad service on your next trip

Bethany Ramos is an editor, blogger, and chick lit author. Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.

This tipping guide could make or break your vacation

You're making a huge mistake if you don't tip when you travel. Take it from a former waitress of more than 10 years — your vacation service is going to suffer if you don't make tipping top priority.

Travel tipping is encouraged in most establishments. If you are confused about tipping guidelines, it never hurts to ask. Some all-inclusive resorts advertise "no tipping" policies, but you may still see guests leave a few dollars on the table. What is really going on here?

How to tip at a hotel

Marriott recently made waves by placing housekeeping tip envelopes in over 160,000 rooms in the U.S. and Canada. Though Marriott did not specify the appropriate amount for a housekeeping tip, the American Hotel & Lodging Association recommends a housekeeper gratuity of $1 to $5 per day.

During your stay, don't forget about the taxi driver, the valet and the bellhop. The average tip amount for most New York cab drivers in 2013 was 20 to 25 percent of the fare; average valet tips range from $2 to $5 per car; a hotel concierge deserves up to $20 for exceptional, one-on-one service; slip the bellhop at least $5 for his or her trouble or $1 to $2 per bag.

How to tip at the airport

Most travelers overlook the fact that tipping is welcome at the airport. Sure, the airport is cold, official and sterile, but outside baggage handlers appreciate $1 to $2 per bag. Airport wheelchair attendants receive $5 to $10 on average per trip. Tip airport transport staff at least $1 per bag.

How to tip on a cruise

Before shelling out cash on a cruise, contact your cruise line about its tipping policy. Many cruise lines have updated their tipping guidelines to match their all-inclusive dining plans, meaning automatic gratuity is likely included.

You may find automatic gratuity detailed in the fine print of your booking confirmation, or you can simply ask a cruise staff member about on-board tipping etiquette. Some luxury cruise lines discourage tipping.

How to tip on an international trip

Tipping standards on international trips may differ by country. It's safe to tip service staff 20 percent in the U.S. (and highly recommended), but before you reach for that tip overseas, take time to research tipping customs.

Tipping in the Middle East and Africa may be seen as unnecessary — watch the locals and follow their lead. In Asia and the Pacific, tipping is normally avoided as it can be perceived as an insult. Ten percent is the norm in Central and South America, unless a hotel or restaurant has already added gratuity to the bill. In Europe, tips are superfluous when service charges are added to bills. Otherwise, tip wait staff 10 percent.

Many travelers see tipping as a courtesy, and that is where they are wrong. Tipping is a necessity if you want good service. While tip amount and etiquette may vary by vacation, one rule surpasses all: When in doubt, tip.

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