Parking using valet is simple. You simply drive up, pay the fee if applicable, and let the concierge take your car away. Once you return, the valet will grab your car and you’re off.
Valet service is offered at many hotels, events, fancy restaurants, theme parks, and many other large parking garages. It often costs anywhere from $10–$40+ and depends on where it is. For example, valet parking at Disneyland costs $35! Even some airport parking lots offer valet.
Some places and events offer complimentary valet parking.
- Hide valuables and clean up your car. Since you’re giving someone else access to your car, you’ll want to hide any valuables you may have left sitting in the open. This is true anytime you park. You might also want to tidy up those crumbs and trash in your car a little bit – you don’t want to look like a slob.
- Bring cash for the gratuity. Yes, you’re supposed to tip the valet (even if there is free valet parking). In many states, their hourly wage is less than minimum wage and they rely on tips to supplement their income. Make sure to bring small bills so you can provide a tip! We share more about how to tip a valet and tipping policy below.
Once you arrive, you’ll simply pull up to the valet parking section and get out of your car. Valet will sometimes open the door for you for formal events and high-end establishments. Then, they will provide you with a claim ticket that you’ll use to retrieve your car.
You might want to tip the valet who takes your car from you, in case they’re not the same valet who picks it up. Continue reading for more about tipping.
Wondering How Much to Tip Valet?
A typical tip for valet drivers is $2–$5.
Luckily, this is an easy range and you won’t need to pull out a tip calculator for valet service. The tip amount depends on a few factors – it can be based on the level of service you get, the parking rates, and even how generous you’re feeling.
If you’re going in and out of a hotel multiple times per day, it’s not common to tip multiple times. You only need to tip once that day (although you might want to leave a higher tip since they’ll be parking and retrieving your car multiple times). You should also try to tip each valet you encounter.
While you’re not required to tip more if you drive a luxury car, the valet will likely expect a higher tip. People with expensive cars have enough money to tip bigger! On a final note, you should tip slightly more if you paid a higher parking rate.