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

 Learning Guide PDF

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. When i came to the states, i didn’t know about tipping at all.
    Because we don’t tip in my country. Once, i went to restaurant on campus, i left whthout tips after the meal. The waitress who was in charge my table followed me for asking about tips. I was very embarrassed.

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