While there aren’t any official guidelines for tipping in the USA, there are some common beliefs among many Americans. Tipping is not mandatory anywhere in the United States but some restaurants automatically include your tip in the bill (it should be clearly displayed and listed as “Service Charge”), usually for parties of eight or more. In the USA, there is no legal requirement to tip unless it is stated in writing, so don’t feel like you’re under any pressure to tip if you have received really bad service (always inform the manager of bad experiences).

Remember that many waitstaff and bartenders are paid below minimum wage because employees are expected to make up the difference in tips. Servers are even expected to pay income tax on your tip so your tip really is part of their normal wage. Always leave tips in cash and hand it directly to the person you are tipping to ensure it goes to its rightful new owner.


These Elvis guys in Las Vegas would not even look our way until we gave them a tip – tipping is pretty important!


One of the most highly debatable questions is “how much should I leave?” Tip 15-20% of your bill in a restaurant with table service, but less if you receive bad service. When using a coupon or discount, tip your server on what the bill would have been beforehand. Tip $1 to $2 on drinks you receive at a restaurant bar or from a bartender (or 15-20% of the bill). As for room service, while 10% is acceptable, 15-20% is best for large or complicated orders. When their is a coat check, tip $1 per coat upon retrieval.

One should tip 10-15% at a buffet restaurant with limited service. Keep your minimum tip at $1 per person, or more, unless you have received really bad service.

If you don’t want to leave a tip then visit a counter service/fast food restaurant, which often have a tip jar out, but don’t necessarily require you to leave a tip.

*Always check your bill to see if gratuity has automatically been included!”

The following tipping situations are “completely optional:”

People usually tip $2-$3 a night on hotel housekeeping/maid service (usually up to $5). People like to leave the yip on a pillow or another obvious place along with a simple thank you note. Tipping a concierge isn’t expected but it’s a nice thing to do when you have received good service. Look to see if the tip for a In-suite dining waiter is included in your bill, if not then tip the server 15-20%. Tip a Bellman/Porter $1-$2 per bag.

Tip a taxi driver 10-15% of fare. You can tip a valet parking attendant $1-$3 at the time of picking up your car. Ask ahead of time if the driver accepts credit cards to ensure you have enough money.

Tip a hairdresser/manicurist 10-20%. Tip a massage therapist 10-20%, and for a manicure/pedicurist, tip 10-15%.

Dealers at game tables in a casino should be tipped 5% of the best amount at the end of the session. Slot machine hosts should be tipped $10-$20 if they make a hand payout ($1,000 or more).

Last but not least, your tour guides should be tipped 10-15% or more, depending on the quality of the tour, including knowledge and friendliness.

Hate doing the math in your head? I do to! I have seen some people carry a calculator or an intemized tipping card with them, but I personally like using the calculator or the iTip app I have downloaded on my iPhone.

Hope that helped!


Money talks!


Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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