Tipping is an American tradition you really should know when travelling to the USA. It can be quite confusing to tourists.
Waitresses, bartender, taxi drivers, .. all work for quite a low pay. Americans love to decide for themselves how much a service was worth and show their appreciation in their tips. So tips are part of the salary. Tipping is not mandatory, but it isn't decent to not give a tip!
For every service there are some unwritten guidelines:
- In a restaurant the tip should be between 15% and 20% of the check before taxes. A tip is not needed in fast food or self-service restaurants.
- Bartenders get about 50 cent per drink.
- The maid should get 1$ per day. It's best to leave the money every day, and not the total amount at the end because every day a different maid could clean up your room.
- Bellboys get 1$ or 2$ per bag, depending on the weight.
- After the porter got you a cab and opened the door he will expect 1$
- For a taxi a tip of 10% is appropriate, 15% if you have luggage.
- Valet parking is worth 2$ when they get your car.