Hotel Tipping Etiquette: To Tip or Not to Tip

While traveling, the question of whether to tip or not, can be tricky. Figuring out which services need a tip and how much, can be challenging. Here are some suggestions to help you tip correctly while traveling. 

Tipping is expected from just about everyone who provides you a service at hotels and resorts in the United States. You should almost always tip at hotels and resorts, unless the service was lacking in some way. 

Tipping While on Your Journey

Prepare to tip during your stay at a hotel or resort by keeping several one-dollar and five-dollar bills handy and ready to produce at a moment’s notice.  Not having a tip handy when someone who provides you a service waits, is in very poor taste. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is better to skip the tip and return at some point later with a tip of the right amount.  

Generally, bed and breakfast owners do not require tips. Owners usually serve as a cook, maid and tour guide for guests. They will treat you as a friend and won’t expect a tip.  Bed and breakfast employees do however, expect tips, like hotel employees . 

Tipping is always at your discretion. Your tips should be guided by the quality of service that you receive. Keep in mind, as you prepare your tip stash, that your local travel, food, and assistance expenses typically require tips that will total fifty percent of the bills. Here’s a breakdown of these general tipping expectations. 

  • Room service expects a 12-15% tip of the value of the room service cost 
  • Waitstaff expects 15-20% of the cost of the meal 
  • Bartenders expect 10-15% of the drink cost 

Common Tipping Situations 

Tips for Travel Assistance

You can expect to tip hotel drivers who may shuttle you to and from the airport. Additionally, tip taxi or limousine drivers that help you travel from one spot to the other during your vacation. Taxi and limousine drivers including Uber and Lyft drivers, typically can be tipped 15-20% of the total fare. Shuttle or hotel courtesy drivers should be tipped $1-2 per person or $4-5 per party. 

Tipping At The Hotel Lobby

A good rule of thumb is to tip anyone who helps you with your bag when you arrive. The lobby staff is there to help you as you arrive and throughout your stay with services ranging from check-in, additional reservations, hailing cabs, or providing directions. Yes, tip the hotel staff if they arrange something special for you. 

Tip $1-2 to the doormen for any special assistance they provide. For valet, tip the attendant $1-2 for car retrieval. There’s no need to tip when they park the car; tipping here, is optional at best.    The hotel concierge will provide you with directions or restaurant recommendations. These types of services do not require a tip. If the concierge arranges special events, however, such as show tickets, tours, or spa appointments, tip them $2-5. If they go above and beyond, perhaps with a table at an exclusive restaurant, offer a $10-20 tip. 

Tipping For Room Service

During your stay, it is expected that you tip the housekeeper and for any room service requests that you make. Many hotels will automatically include a 12-15% gratuity charge. You can tip extra on the bill if you like. 

You will want to tip the housekeeping staff $1-5 per night. It is best to tip the housekeeping staff daily as different people would be cleaning your room each day over the duration of your stay. Special requests like extra blankets or pillows should be tipped at $1-2 upon delivery. 

Restaurants, Bars, and Spas Tip Suggestions

Waitstaff and hairstylists should be tipped 15-20% of the bill.  For extra assistance, such as suggestions on the best bottle of wine to go with your meal, leave a $2-5 tip. When dining at a buffet, tip $1-2 per person. Even if the drinks are complimentary, such as in Las Vegas, tip $1-2 per round. 

Tipping for Extra Amenities

Some upscale hotels and resorts have unique amenities where it may not be immediately clear that you need to leave a tip. For resort-organized excursions such as kayaking, snorkeling, or boating, you will want to leave the guides $5-10 at the end of each tour. Tip hotel babysitters, or daycare providers 10-20% of the total bill. Tipping swimming pool attendants is not necessary, unless you request a special service. Tip swimming pool setups $1-2.

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