How Much to Tip in the USA

Never leave the wrong tip, again!

Many Aussies when travelling often struggle to remember how much to tip in the USA, and under what circumstances.  At Travel Guru, we have compiled a handy tipping scale table will help you to never again make an embarrassing mistake, while you are off enjoying your overseas holiday.

To sum it up, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions, that will help you along your way.  See how you rank, with some common questions below.

USA Tipping reference table

Common Tipping Questions (FAQS)

If a waiter’s service is bad, do I still need to tip them?

The answer to this question is an overwhelming YES!!!

Waiter’s get paid on averge over 85% of their salary, on tips. This is what helps to keep the overall cost of that delicious Surf and Turf special down.

Not tipping at all will be harshly judged, and in some cases even be considered stealing. So, avoid awkwardness, and tip!

So, I can just tip them the minimum 10%, then?

Well you can, but your actions will most probably not have your desired effect.

First of all, 10% has never been considered the minimum tipping scale in the USA. (We told you that you probably have no idea how much to tip in the USA!).

Even 15% is considered a low base tip, so be aware of this, and even if the service is the worst that you have ever encountered in your life, make sure that you calculate at least 15%.

How much is appropriate to tip my bartender?

That is a great question!

As a bare minimum, start with $1 per beer, wine or basic spirit, and work your way up from there, depending on the level of attentiveness and service provided.

For drinks that take more time and attention, such as cocktails, you can start at $1.50 or $2, and if they show some pretty amazing bartending skills, feel free to splash out a few extra bucks, for their efforts.

Bonus Tip- Keep your bartender/server happy

Now, this is something that could never work over here in Australia, due to strict liquor licencing laws, however if you would like to experience the wonders of free-pouring, and have your bartender look after you extra well for the duration of the night, consider slipping them a $20 note early on in the night, and see how they might be willing to perhaps bend the rules a little bit, for you! *note* This does not work in all places, but worse case scenario, you have just given a very good tip, and made your bartender quite happy!

Do I really need to tip my taxi driver?

Yes, you do- and this is especially important for you to remember, in case you are using the popular ride-sharing service, Uber.

Although taxi drivers only receive between 15-30% of their wages from tips, it is considered rude to not tip!

Is free valet ever really free?

No, just like pretty much everything in life, there is always a price to be paid.

The good news is that the minimum acceptable tip is between just $2-$4, but if you are in a more luxury area or are driving a luxury car, between $5-10 is on the higher end of the tipping scale.

Should I leave a tip for my barista?

Yes, even loose change is better than not tipping at all.

Again, we realise how different that the tipping system in the Australia, and that it can be very difficult to know how much to tip in the USA, but that’s why we’re here to help!

Are you thinking about taking a trip to the USA or Canada?

Don’t forget to apply for your ESTA visa waiver before you leave! We have compiled a list of useful links, that might also help, before your departure.

If you would like some assistance with planning your trip, feel free to contact one of our specialists. Alternatively, if you are someone who prefers to book most of your trip on your own, please visit our online booking section, for access to some great deals on accommodation, tours, travel insurance and car hire.