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Should Mark Zuckerberg have tipped the waiter in Rome?

May 30, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Don't forget to add money for tipping into your vacation budget.
Don't forget to add money for tipping into your vacation budget. (Photo illustration by Christopher…)

The plunging price of Facebook stock aside, Mark Zuckerberg seems to have become ensnared in a kerfuffle over his apparent decision not to leave a tip on a meal during his honeymoon in Rome.

The online Telegraph newspaper reports the Facebook tycoon failed to leave a tip after spending about $40 on fried pumpkin flowers and sea bass-stuffed ravioli at Nonna Betta in the Italian capital's historic Jewish quarter. What he ate isn't important, but what he should have known about tipping etiquette is.

Travel outfitter Magellan's says 10% above the service charge is appropriate throughout Italy. Conde Nast Traveler's tipping guide says leave as close to 10% as possible, no more than that, when in Italy. And business magazine Kiplinger suggests restaurant tips of 15% to 20% that are standard stateside would seem far too extravagant in Italy and much of Europe.

I find that my tipping etiquette -- for hotel stays, bellhops, etc. -- is inconsistent at best, even when I'm just tooling around the U.S. It's kind of like eating right: We all know the guidelines for healthy eating but don't always follow them.

So here's a bunch of general tipping guidelines from etiquette czar Emily Post and a nifty quiz from Kiplinger that will gauge just what kind of tipper you are. And here's Travel Editor Catharine Hamm's advice on proper tipping for hotel bellmen.

One tip about tipping that's a no-brainer: Include money for tipping into your vacation budget so you don't come up short. But, thankfully, if you misstep, you likely won't garner the media attention Zuckerberg did.

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