tipping in New York

Tipping has always been a controversial topic in US, and many travellers visiting New York often face trouble understanding the city’s tipping customs. Part of the reason is before tipping was intended to be a reward and a genuine form of appreciation for good service. However, over the years it has transformed into being an obligation and requirement, particularly in New York.

Now, why is that? Well, different service industries in New York are permitted to pay their workers way below minimum wage, hence forcing people to make up the difference through tips. Therefore, these small amounts of cash are the only way employees can actually make their job profitable, and it works too! Do you plan on visiting New York soon? If so, then this tipping guide might just prove useful. Follow this guide and you'll have a good idea of how much to tip for different services in New York City. However, keep in mind to always have small bills ready for tipping, as oftentimes it seems bad to pull out a $20 bill and then saying “Sorry, I will tip you later”.

tipping in hotels in New York

in New York tip 15%-20% at Hotels

As mentioned earlier, quite often tips are the only source of income for people in the service industry in New York, particularly those working in hotels. And since there is a person to help you around every corner, it’s good to be a little generous during your stay. Usually, the hotel doorman would expect a tip of $1-2 for bringing your car from the valet or hailing a cab.

Bellhops and porters should be given $1-$2 per bag and don’t forget to leave the housekeeping about $2-$5 per day for their cleaning services. The concierge, or hotel portiere, will expect a $5-$20 tip depending on the services arranged for you (more for particularly difficult requests). If service charges haven’t already been added in the bill, the room service waiter should be left with a 15-20% tip.

tipping customs for restaurants in New York

in New York tip 15-20% at a restaurant

Waiters/waitresses in New York are paid very little and rely heavily on tips for their income. Therefore, these individuals expect a 15% of gratuity on the total bill, though at higher-end restaurants, a solid 20% is not really uncommon. However, be sure to read your bill at restaurants before leaving gratuities, especially if you are in a tourist district!

Restaurants in different points of interest in the city often add an 18% service charge to the bill, which usually cannot be noticed. So, make sure to always ask the waiter for any extra charges added to the bill, to avoid double-tipping in which you can accidentally leave a tip of over 40%, something the server will never tell you about. Consequently, make sure to ask what the percentage is if the bill doesn't state it.

tip etiquette at bars and clubs in New York

at a bar tip $1-2$ per drink

When you talk about going to a bar in New York, gratuity is actually essential. Not to mention, everyone looks forward to scoring a nice tip. Saying so, when visiting a bar, always tip the bartender $1 for the first drink. If you feel generous, you can continue giving a tip of $1 for each drink purchased. Keep in mind that without tips, you might not get another drink.

Additionally, don’t forget that some bars and dance clubs have a bathroom assistant who hands out paper towels to dry your hands (and takes care of those heavy drinkers who start vomiting all over the place). These assistants have to stay up the entire night, so it would be generous of you to tip them with a minimum of $1.

should you tip your taxi driver

in New York tip 10% when taking a taxi

Driving in New York City isn’t an easy task and requires a great set of skills and know-how. This is because the city is always filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic! Consequently, drivers must know about different shortcuts, to ensure you reach your destination on time. These drivers also depend on tips to pay their bills. So, make sure to tip 15-20% of fare. For shorter rides, round up the total bill or simply add a dollar. If you are travelling in a shuttle, give a tip of $2 per person.

should you tip your hairdresser

in New York tip 10 - 15% at a hairdresser

Hairdressers in New York expect a hefty tip for their services, as many of them are professionals in what they do. They will go the extra mile to please customers and give that perfect look. So, if you feel that you are completely satisfied with your new look and the work of the hairdresser, consider giving a 15% tip of the total bill or a smashing 20%.

should you tip tour guides in New York

Tip tour guides $10-$25 depending on size

Like any other service provider in New York tour guides depend on tips to pay their bills. Generally, tips are based on the type of tour selected and size of group. For instance, if you choose a small group tour a tip of $15 per person might do well. However, for a larger you may expect to pay more.