Travel Insider: A beginner’s guide to tipping in the USA

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US dollars, banknote, currency


US dollars, banknote, currency

When it comes to tipping in the USA, it can be quite confusing if it’s your first (or even tenth) visit. It’s important you get into the habit of tipping in the US, as a significant portion of American wages are made up of tips and workers rely on your kindness for their livelihood. So, what is the right etiquette and how do tipping amounts differ between services? Tori Goddard, PR Manager for Brand USA in Australia and New Zealand, gives her two cents.

Waiter (drinks and/or food)

Suggested restaurant tips are 18% on top of the bill (before sales tax), with 25% given for the best service. Servers in America are knowledgeable, friendly, and will most likely go above and beyond to ensure you have the best experience.

Ensure that you haven’t already been charged the tip on your bill: there may be a mention of an 18% ‘Gratuity’, and if you already have this, you are not obliged to tip more.

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Leave a dollar tip for a beer or wine, and for cocktails or other drinks that take longer to prepare, leave $2. For larger group bills, think the same as restaurants: 18-25%.


We suggest $2-5 per night.

Tori Goddard, PR Manager for Brand USA in Australia and New Zealand.


Tori Goddard, PR Manager for Brand USA in Australia and New Zealand.

Taxi, shuttle, and ride-share drivers

For taxis, the average tip amount is 10-18%, depending on the service. For shuttle drivers, give $1-2 per bag. For ride-share apps such as Uber, it is normal to give between a 15-18% tip: all completed within the app.

Hotel bellman and parking valet

As a general rule of thumb, tip a hotel bellman $2 per bag. If your service is excellent, tip them up to $5 per bag. For parking valet, tip $3-5 when picking up your car.

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