The art of tipping can be quite confusing for those visiting the USA for the very first time. When do you tip? How much do you tip? What if you don’t have cash handy? It can be a minefield for first-timers. But don’t worry, it will soon become second nature. To ensure your tipping etiquette is up to scratch, take a look at our quick tipping guide before heading to the States.
Hop out of a taxi in the USA and you might be surprised at the driver’s request for a tip. Haven’t you just been watching the meter go up? Rest assured, this is standard practise. Tips of 10 or 15 per cent are common for taxi drivers and you can also throw the driver a couple of extra dollars if they help you with your bags. Even if it’s just a shuttle from the airport, it’s customary to tip your driver, even just a few dollars per person.
When it comes to hotels, there may be a few people you may need to tip so it’s a good idea to keep a few dollar bills handy. Tipping the bell staff who help you with your bags is expected, one to two dollars per bag is standard. For cleaning staff, you can leave a couple of dollars per night on a table or nightstand on the day of check-out. The concierge is another one to keep in mind, especially if they help you with a complicated request. If you order room service, don’t forget to add 10 to 15 per cent of your total bill, while the valet parking attendants also need to be given one to five dollars every time they bring your car around.
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When you visit a restaurant in the USA, it is also standard practise to leave a tip. Generally speaking, 15 to 20 per cent of your total bill is about right, but this can increase to 25 per cent if you have a large group of five or more. If you plan on visiting a bar, keep in mind that bar tenders also expect a tip for their services. One to two dollars per drink is acceptable. This also applies to the wait staff bringing the rounds to your table.
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