USA Tipping Guide


Sonia Gil has her own YouTube channel called Sonia’s Travels where she posts videos giving travel advice. This one explains the ins and outs of tipping in the United States.



Welcome aboard, fellow travellers. Bienvenidos. Not long ago, I did a video about tipping in Europe, and clearly, I need to do one for the US of A. For those of you visiting North America, it can get very confusing because, well, we tip a lot more than anywhere else in the world. But why? Because the minimum wage for tipped employees is actually lower than the regular minimum wage. It varies by state, but that is the main reason tipping is so prevalent here.

O.K. On to the nitty-gritty.

Restaurants: a 15-20% tip is customary, and I’d say that a good, healthy one is right smack at 18%. It’s not obligatory, but it is expected. The tip will already be included if you are with a large party or in the more touristy areas, mainly because they know that tourists are not so aware about how things work around here. So make sure to check your bill and see if it’s included or not.

Bell boy: a dollar per bag is good–$2 for the first one.

The doorman: This one is confusing. Do you tip the doorman every time he gets a cab for you? Do  you not? And the answer is “no”. You don’t have to tip them every time they get a cab for  you, but if they go out of their way, if it’s raining, or if he magically made one appear when there was none, then go ahead. Tip.

concierge: You do not need to tip on simple questions, things like directions, recommendations, or attractions. Now, if they do something special, $5 is good, $10 is better, $20 can get you special seating. So, things like reservations that are hard to get or tickets that were not available for anyone. . .

Cabs: the standard is 10-15% of the fare, and this is something that foreigners have a hard time grasping around, but it is expected and it is customary. And if you have bags and they are heavy, a dollar or two per bag will always be appreciated.

Bars: Yes, we tip here as well–a dollar or two per drink. And if you keep the tips coming, the next round just might be free.

If this feels odd to you, don’t worry, fellow travellers. rest assured, you are not being cheated or overpaying, and in fact, the service industry really counts on these tips. So, be fair. So when you are budgeting, keep the tips in mind.

And with that, I leave you. Thank you for watching. Should you want me to do a tipping guide on Latin America, I will gladly do so. So, let me know if the comments below. And of course, subscribe. See you next Thursday. Ciao!



bienvenidos–Spanish word, meaning “welcome”

minimum wage–the minimum amout of money employers must legally pay to their employees for each hour of work

Do people tip in your country? Have you ever had difficulties figuring out how much or when to tip someone in the United States? Share your stories below!


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One thought on “USA Tipping Guide”

  1. Tips

    Peru has many touristic attractions because it has many arqueological places to visit such as MichuPichu , Lineas de Nazca, Cultura Chimu, Cutura Mochica. Consequently, this country receive thousands of tourists during the year. This country has no obligatory rules for tipping employees of touristic places, restaurants, hotels, taxis. However, tourist agencies advise visitors to tip employees when they provide good services. For instance, hotel employees expect 3 soles tip ($1.00) restaurants waitresses expect 10% of the bill. Tourist guiders receive 10 to 30 Soles tip per day equivalent to $1 .00 to $10.00 per day.

    I learned to tip workers of restaurants as well as hotels and taxis in the USA, so I became aware that most workers earn a minimum rate hour pay. In other words, in the State of Illinois the minimum rate hour pay is $8.25 and the minimum wage of the Federal US Department of Labor is $7.25. Furthermore, there are States with minimum wage rates higher or lower than the federal. Most restaurants’ waitresses’ rate hour pay is $4.50 per hour which means that workers expect to supplement their minimum rate pay with tips.
    In the past, I had difficulties to figure out how to tip workers in the USA. Therefore, I search information about tips using available resources, first, asking my close friends, next, asking some front desk workers and finally, reading some articles about low income people that depend on check payments and tips, so I became more conscious tipping workers in some public places in restaurants at least 15$ and taxis, based on the distance, 2 dollares at least.
    I would like to share with you a short story about tipping that happen to me in the past. When I started my first job for an agency in the USA I had to take a trip to Springfield to be trained for work during three days. When it was almost the end of the training, I realized that my nice gold ring of my right finger hand was missing. I couldn’t believe that the ring was not any more in the right place and it was odd for me due I couldn’t remember what I did with my ring. I was concerned about it. I approached to the doorman at the front desk of the hotel to tell him about my missing ring. He listened to me attentively. “Please wait”, he told me. After few seconds, he came back and showed me something that he was holding in his hand, he asked me … “is this your ring?” The ring was inside a small plastic zip bag I approached him to see the ring inside the bag and I recognized that it was my ring. The hotel doorman told me that
    the hotel- cleaning lady found it in my bedroom’s bathtub. Then, I realized that I lost my ring when I was washing my hair with shampoo in the shower. I did not feel when the ring slid out from my finger. I was so happy to find it. I wrote a nice card of appreciation. In addition, I wrote a check tipping her the amount of $15.00. I was so happy to found it.

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