New York City Tipping Etiquette

When & How Much to Tip in New York
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 © TripSavvy 2018

No one likes to be embarrassed by not giving a generous enough tip, but there are also times when some people aren't sure whether or not a tip is expected for a service. A simple thing to remember about tipping when visiting New York City, though, is that you should always tip your service workers.

For New Yorkers who work in the service industry, including hotels, restaurants, and drivers, tips are an essential part of their earnings. However, you should also take into consideration the level of luxury at an establishment you visit as well as the quality of service delivered when you determine what kind of tip to leave your server.

Whether you're at an upscale hotel or restaurant with good service or a modest establishment with excellent service, you should tip based on the value of your meal. A handy way to calculate an adequate tip at most establishments is to double your tax amount on the bill—which accounts for an 8.875 percent sales tax in NYC and a 17 percent tip.

  • 01 of 05

    Tipping at New York City Hotels

    Hotel doorman
    ••• Stanley K Patz / Getty Images

    It can often feel like everyone needs a tip when you're staying at an upscale hotel, and they, in fact, do rely on your tips to help them maintain their own lives in NYC when they're not serving you.

    Hotel doormen who hail a cab or bring cars for you from the valet should be tipped between two and five dollars while hotel porters and bellhops should be tipped a dollar or two per bag he or she helps deliver to or from your room. Depending on the services you're asking for from housekeeping, you should tip between two and five dollars, as well.

    The hotel concierge, who manages all guests' requests, deserves a tip based on the service rendered—tip more for a particularly difficult request such as a hard-to-score dinner reservation at a nearby restaurant.

    If you decide to use the room service option to get a meal delivered to your room—or if you order out from Seamless or other delivery apps—you should tip your room service waiter between 18 and 22 percent of your total bill...MORE if it is not included in your bill.

  • 02 of 05
    Woman signing receipt after paying bar tab in restaurant
    ••• asiseeit/Getty Images

    Most waitstaff and bartenders are paid very little and rely heavily on tips for their income. Check your bill to be sure that a restaurant (or bar) didn't automatically add a gratuity to your bill (this is particularly common when traveling with a group) as there's no need to double tip.

    Still, for the most part, you'll find yourself needing to know what the appropriate amount is to tip when going out on the town for food and drinks.

    If you're getting table service at a restaurant, make sure to tip between 15 and 25 percent of the total bill, depending on how good the service is. If, however, you're just heading to the bar or eating there, tip one to two dollars per drink or 15 to 25 of the total bill if you're putting it on a card.

    When you're going out to a fancy dinner, on the other hand, expect to tip 20 to 30 percent for dinner service, 20 to 50 dollars for the Matre d', and maybe even a few dollars for valet parking services.

    Coat checks and bathroom...MORE attendants at fancier establishments typically expect a dollar per item or visit, respectively.

  • 03 of 05
    Walking Tour Highlights Manhattan's Financial District
    ••• Chris Hondros / Getty Images

    Like most other service providers, tour guides depend on tips. Generally, a 15 to 20 percent guideline applies, though tipping in these situations should also reflect the size of the tour group, as well as the length of the tour.

    Additionally, if the tour guide provides you a lot of personalized attention or gives you additional advice or assistance, your tip should reflect it.

    Small group tours with less than 15 participants should expect to tip 15 to 25 dollars per person; medium groups with between 15 and 30 participants should tip around 10 dollars per person; large groups with 30 or more participants should tip five dollars each, and in all cases, the driver should be tipped between five and 10 dollars as well.

  • 04 of 05
    NYC Taxi
    ••• Stefano Brivio / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Driving in New York City takes skill and know-how, and the people who drive you around New York City depend on your tips to pay their bills, which is why they put their lives and expertise to the test each day to get you to your destination.

    Taxi drivers should be tipped 10 to 20 percent of their fare, which should be calculated automatically on the screen. Limousine and livery drivers, on the other hand, should be paid no less than 15 percent as their services are typically more deluxe. Shuttle drivers should be paid between two and five dollars per person being carried in the shuttle.

    An interesting note for Uber and Lyft drivers: although most of these apps already include the driver's pay in the bill for your trip, you can often approve an additional tip. Please consider tipping your app drivers more as these drivers are not paid the same amount as city cab drivers.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Woman getting a facial.
    ••• Frank Gaglione / Getty Images

    At many spas and salons, even if they accept credit cards, they expect you to tip in cash, so keep this in mind when heading to your next appointment.

    Hairdressers expect between 15 and 25 percent tips on any treatments, with those taking over an hour deserving the larger tip. You should also tip the assistant who washes your hair, if applicable, between two and five dollars.

    Manicurists, ​masseuses, and aestheticians alike all expect between 15 and 20 percent of the bill as a tip. As a general rule, you should probably bring in a 10 or 20-dollar bill for any of these appointments that take over an hour for the tip alone