Tipping in New York in 2024: How Much Should You Tip in NYC? 💵
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Tipping in New York, much like other states in the US, is a common courtesy. While it is not mandatory, it’s definitely expected. One might argue it’s mandatory, not mandatory. This unwritten rule can be rather confusing, especially when you’re visiting from parts of the world, where tipping is not the norm. When do you tip? Who do you tip? How much should you tip in NYC?
Generally, a tip is expected when you’re receiving a service. This includes waitstaff, porters, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers, tour guides, etc.
Restaurants & Bars
Leaving a tip at a bar or restaurant is so important because waitresses, waiters, and bartenders depend on it as they’re usually paid a minimum wage. Most servers prefer a cash tip so they can take the money home right away once their shift ends. However, tipping in New York via card is also fine!
What to expect: First, the server will hand you the bill along with a pen. It’s either a plain receipt or the receipt is inside a bill book. The receipt has a line where you’ll write down the tip you want to leave and a line for the total amount, including tip. If you’re not good at math, don’t sweat it! Usually there are tipping suggestions at the bottom of the bill.
If you pay by card, just place it on top of the bill/stick it inside the bill book and notify the server that you’re ready. The server will collect your card, process the bill (either in front of you with a portable card reader, behind the bar or in the back office), and will return with a copy of the final receipt. If you pay in cash, you’ll put the final amount on top of the bill or inside the booklet and notify the waitstaff.
🍝 Restaurant with table service: 15-20% of the total bill, pre-tax. If the service was not up to scratch, you can cut the tip to 10% or leave two pennies on top of the bill to express your disappointment.
🍸 Bars: 15-20% of the total bill, pre-tax or $1-$2 per drink. If you’re tipping in New York well, you might get a drink for free (don’t forget to leave $1 for that one, too)!
💡 Good to know: Sometimes you’ll see tipping jars for example at McDonald’s, Starbucks, Deli’s, etc. In those cases you are not required to tip.
Heads-up: Sometimes, but rarely, gratuity is already added to the bill. In that case you don’t have to leave a tip! However, if you feel like the added tip doesn’t justify the exceptional service, you can ask the staff to increase the amount. Likewise, if you believe the added tip doesn’t reflect the quality of service, you can ask the staff to lower the amount as well.
Taxis & Shuttles
Whether you’re hailing an iconic yellow cab in Manhattan, call an Uber or book a shuttle to the airport, a tip is always expected at the end of the ride. When you’re tipping in New York, you’ll be offered a variety of payment options. In taxis you can either tip by card or in cash, private car services like Uber and Lyft allow you to tip drivers through the apps, but you can also tip in cash. Shuttle drivers only accept cash tips.
🚕 How much to tip a taxi in NYC: 10-20% of the fare. This applies to both local rides where the taxi meter is activated, as well as trips to the airport, even if yellow cabs offer a flat fare.
🚗 How much to tip an Uber/Lyft driver: 10-20% of the fare, just like you’d tip a taxi driver. After you’ve reached your destination, you can tip your driver through the app or in cash.
🚌 How much to tip a shuttle driver: $2-$5 per person. This is a cash tip so make sure you have a couple of dollars handy before you hop on the bus. Shuttle drivers usually have a tipping jar in the front of the bus where you can leave your tip. Note: you are not required to tip local bus drivers or Big Bus Tour drivers.
Tipping in New York can be confusing. Especially at hotels. There are many more service providers helping you out than at a restaurant for example and you might be wondering who you should tip and how much. One thing is for sure, hotel employees only receive cash tips. You can’t tip them by card. Therefore, always make sure you carry a couple of $1 bills with you. Here’s a collection of hotel employees that appreciate a tip.
🧑✈️ Doorman: $1-$5 depending on the provided service. For example, a $1 cash tip is sufficient if a doorman helps you hail a cab. If the weather is particularly bad, you can tip up to $5 for the same service. Or for example, if they help you carry shopping bags inside the hotel, you can give the doorman $2.
🎒 Porter: $1-$2 per bag. Porters mainly handle your luggage upon your arrival and departure. They deliver your bags right to your room and also collect them when you’re leaving again. Consider a more generous tip if you have a large volume of bags or extra heavy items.
🧽 Housekeeping: $2-$5 per night. Tipping maids in New York is a daily exercise. Before you’re leaving your room for the day, make sure you place a cash tip for housekeeping where they can see it. This could be on the pillow or next to the bathroom sink.
🍛 Room Service: 15-20% of the total meal bill, pre-tax and only if it’s not already included.
🛎️ Concierge: Tips are not expected. However, if a concierge provided you with an excellent restaurant recommendation or went the extra mile to solve a particularly difficult request, you can certainly show your appreciation by tipping that person $1-$5.
If you’ve decided to join a guided tour in New York, you should know that it is common to tip your tour guide. In case you are participating in an excursion to a nearby city, you’re also expected to tip the bus driver. Please note that tour guides and their bus drivers only accept cash tips.
👟 Tour Guides: $2-$5 per participating person for local tours. 15-20% of the ticket price for a day trip to a nearby city. Always remember, tipping in New York depends on the quality of service and if you’re unhappy with a tour, you don’t have to tip. However, in that case you should let the tour guide know that you had different expectations so they can improve the quality of their tours.
🚐 Tour Bus Drivers: $1-$2 per person for local tours. $2-$5 for a day trip to a nearby city.
While wellness covers a wide range of services, we’ve tried our best to collect the most common services where a tip is expected. At wellness places you’re usually able to tip with your card. However, when it comes to tipping in New York, keep in mind that wellness employees too prefer cash tips.
What to expect: After your treatment you’ll receive a bill from the salon receptionist. Scenario one: you pay the full price, including tip, via card. Scenario two: you pay the price of the treatment via card and tip in cash. Sometimes the person who treated you is nearby and you can personally give them the tip. Scenario three: you pay everything in cash. In case you’re not happy with any of the services, the tips below do not apply and you are free to lower the amount. However, if you do so, always let the staff know why you’re not tipping within the usual range so they know how they can improve their services.
🧖 Spa: 15-20% of the total bill. If you’ve received several treatments from different therapists and one of those sessions was particularly relaxing, feel free to tip that person extra!
💇 Hairdressers/Barbers: 15-20% of the total bill. This tip will go to the hair stylist. However, sometimes there are more people involved in your makeover. For example, if you have a shampooist, make sure to leave them a few dollars as well. This could be $1-$2 or 5-10% of the total bill.
💅 Nail Salon: 15-20% of the total bill. Again, if you’ve received several treatments from different manicurists and one did an exceptionally good job, feel free to tip that person extra!
And that’s how tipping in New York works! If there’s a service we haven’t covered and you’re unsure how much you should tip, send us a message or post your question in the comments. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can!