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I'm going to be traveling to Palm Beach in two weeks, and I wanted to make sure I don't offend anyone, specially people I may need to ask for favors later :)

From the van that'll transfer me to the hotel, to waiters and hotel staff; when and how much is it appropriate to tip?

A concrete example; how much should I tip the person that takes my bags from the check-in counter to my room?

  • It's the same pretty much everywhere in the US. More trendy urban areas will expect slightly higher tips. – Michael Pryor Aug 8 '11 at 22:44
  • Well.. I never traveled to the US before, but good to know. – juan Aug 9 '11 at 0:30
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My sister lives in WPB, so I have experience with visiting this area. Don't let the fact that it's Palm Beach affect the amount you tip - just because it is a wealthier area, tipping should be consistent to other parts of Florida because the amount will be in proportion to the cost - e.g. restaurants in Palm Beach are going to be more expensive than restaurants in Apopka - but both servers should get $18-20 for good service. And typically, regardless of what you tip, those helping you will be grateful since there are so many people who don't tip at all. That said, like most destinations, the dollar amount/percentage you tip varies among service rendered.

Shuttle to hotel/airport $5 - they will handle your bags for you

Hotel staff, there are several people to tip in a hotel experience: reception $0; anyone handling your bags $1/bag, $3 if they bring the bags to your room; valet $2/car fetch; room service/housekeeping $2/trip to room; some people leave tips for housekeeping - I typically only do this for stays 2+ nights, and a couple dollars is fine - I leave $5 if I have actually interacted with the person

Waiters in restaurant - 18-20% for average or good service - you can leave more if your server has been amazing, less if they have that Palm Beach attitude :)

having a drink at the bar - $1/drink, $2 if upscale restaurant

if you use a curb-side check-in - $5

taxis in PB - 10% if it is not already built-in like with Uber, Lyft

That should cover tipping interactions you would have at hotels, transportation and dining

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For wait staff at restaurants: from 10%-20%, depending on quality of service. For the bell-hops (the person that takes your bags to your room): $2+ ($1/bag, with a $2 minimum).

Here is a good reference source.

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A good rule of thumb I follow is:

$0 for poor service. I despise giving tips to people that do a crap job just because.

10% for "should be better" service. The general idea is that they gave the bare minimum to not have an angry customer. It's not like they tried, but they did the bare minimum.

15% - 20% for normal, good service. I have a few key markers, but on time delivery, proper seating. Good diner pacing (not rushing but not slow). In general, good quality service, but nothing special.

20% - 30% for amazing service. They recognized me. Brought my drink to the table without asking first. Recommended menu items. Or, went out of the way to assist with a hotel stay, or tried their hardest to accommodate my needs. A good example is the Taxi driver that sat in the parking lot while a friend and I ate dinner.

For non bill stuff like a bellhop or sky cap, I usually go with $5 or $10. If I can be bothered to pay that much then I shouldn't be using their service. for example bellhop. If I really can't spring for $5 I should just carry my own luggage.

In the US we are very tip friendly, but this also leads to entitlement. People tend to think they deserve tips no matter the level of service. Do not be afraid not to tip. Make sure you have a good reason, but remember a tip is a bonus for doing a good job. Not a salary they get for just showing up.

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