Despite how commonplace tipping is in the U.S., it can still seem confusing to understand how much to tip for which services. Though common advice says to tip 15 percent to 20 percent, it may not always be obvious how much to tip for a service — or even when to tip at all.

Around two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans who dine at sit-down restaurants always tip their server, according to Bankrate’s Tipping Survey. For other services, whether or not to tip can be less clear. Fewer U.S. adults always tip when they go to coffee shops (at 20 percent) or when pick up takeout food from a restaurant (at 11 percent).

Customers are also increasingly prompted to tip for other services, such as car maintenance, retail stores and self-serve food, and many are feeling confused and frustrated as a result. More than 1 in 3 (35 percent) Americans believe tipping culture has gotten out of control, and 11 percent are confused about who and how much to tip.

Tipping may feel frustrating, but it’s vital for some fields. Because the expectation is that tipped workers will make more through tips, they legally only need to make $2.13 an hour in the U.S, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. As you plan your next local outing or luxurious trip, here’s how to show your thanks and tip appropriately for a wide range of services.

Bankrate’s insights on tipping behaviors

  • Tipping etiquette isn’t always obvious. 11% of U.S. adults are confused about who and how much to tip.
  • But pre-entered tip screens don’t necessarily make tipping easier. 34% of U.S. adults are annoyed about pre-entered tip screens; 25% tend to tip less, or not at all, when they’re presented with the screens; and only 14% tend to tip more when they see them.
  • Some find tipping gratifying. 29% of U.S. adults say they feel good when they leave a generous tip.

How much to tip at restaurants

For waitstaff at sit-down restaurants, the tip should be at least 18 percent of the pretax bill, according to Cortney Norris, an assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management at Oklahoma State University who studies tipping habits.

Beyond that, the size of a restaurant’s gratuity depends on how well you’re served, including whether your order is correct and whether the server checks on you after you receive your food. Check your tab carefully, because some places add a gratuity to the bill. You may or may not want to supplement that.

“I think that percentage range has moved up, based on inflation and cost of living,” Norris says. “(Waitstaff) wages haven’t. $2.13 has been the sub-minimum wage since 1991. That tip amount has to increase to offset everything else going on in today’s economy.”

Tips are not necessary at fast food restaurants, counter-service restaurants or for take-out orders. Counter-service restaurant workers will likely appreciate any tip for fantastic service, but unlike waitstaff, they likely already receive a full hourly wage, Norris says.

Additional tip: Some restaurants include a menu item such as “Beers for the kitchen,” where you can add several extra dollars to your bill to tip the cooks and dishwashers behind the scenes.

How much to tip at bars

Tip $1 per drink for beer or wine the next time you’re at a bar, according to Norris. For cocktails, which take more time and expertise to make, tip at least 18 to 20 percent of your bill.

If you know you’ll be ordering multiple drinks over the course of a night, tipping $5 on the initial drink and then $1 for each drink after can be a show of goodwill to the bartender. For open bars, consider tipping at least $1 per drink.

How much to tip at coffee shops

At coffee shops and cafes, tipping your barista around 10 percent to 15 percent on coffee or about $1 on a drip coffee would likely be appreciated.

You can also pay your Starbucks barista by leaving a tip with the app.

How much to tip delivery drivers

Delivery fees can be quite high, but that money usually doesn’t go to the driver.

Delivery giant Grubhub advises tipping $5 or 20 percent of your meal price — whichever is greater — if it’s a simple delivery. If your area has severe weather, if the driver has to walk up several flights of stairs or if you are making a large order, tipping an extra 3 percent to 5 percent shows your appreciation for a difficult job.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Restaurant delivery $5 or 20% of the meal price (whichever is greater)
Grocery delivery 15% or 20% of your order total, or more for a large order
Alcohol delivery 15% to 20%, more for heavy crates
Flower delivery $2 to $5

How much to tip at hotels

Expect to pay a variety of tips at hotels, and the bigger and more luxurious the property, the greater the amount.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Hotel porter toting your bags $2-$3 per bag at a basic hotel/motel; $5 per bag at a posh hotel
Room service without gratuity included 20% of the meal price
Concierge who fulfills guest request $5 or more, depending on the difficulty of the request. Snagging hard-to-get tickets to a popular show or sporting event merits a bigger tip than suggesting a great place to eat.
Housekeeping $3-$5 per day for 1-3 people in the room, or  $10 per day at a luxe hotel. Consider leaving money daily for the housekeeping staff because they rotate. Avoid leaving the tip on the nightstand — put it on a desk or counter.

How much to tip while traveling

If you are traveling outside the country, do a little research on tipping customs before you go. Tips are expected in Canada, for example, but not in Japan. And always tip in cash and in the currency of the country you are visiting.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Cruise ships Tipping policies vary among cruise lines, but each one tells you what is appropriate when you board.
Airport curbside check-in $5 per bag, a little more for gigantic suitcases
Airport shuttle bus driver $3-$5, or more if the driver helps you with your bags

How much to tip at weddings

The size and scope of the wedding determine the amount you should pay in tips. Carefully read the contract for the wedding and reception venues before deciding on gratuities, as they might be included in the price. Also, if you are the host, make sure service workers at the party do not leave out tip jars, since you would not want to burden your guests with leaving tips.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Waitstaff $20-$50 per server for a sit-down meal, even more for the captain, depending on how lavish it is
Bartender About $20 per hour
DJ $50 to $150. Read the contract.
Wedding planner Up to 20 percent of their cost, but even better is to refer new clients to them.

How much to tip at salons and spas

Hairstyling and other beauty services are licensed, skilled crafts. Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert and the founder of the Swann School of Protocol in California, recommends tipping 5 percent to 20 percent for beauty services, depending on the quality of service.

Some independent massage therapists charge all-inclusive rates for their services, but generally tipping 20 percent for spa services like massages, facials and more is advised.

Most all-inclusive resorts, however, don’t encourage tipping.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Manicurists 5% to 20% per nail tech
Hairstylists/barbers 5% to 20% for the entire service
Massages 15% to 20%
Facials 18% to 20%

How much to tip for transportation

Most ridesharing apps allow you to tip your driver through the app, but make sure to keep cash on hand if you’re taking a shuttle, taxi or limousine.

“With Uber rides, the least amount is 3 to 5 percent, and it goes up from there,” Swann says. “Make a judgment call. Was the vehicle clean? Was the person pleasant? Did they do something extra? It just depends on the level of service.”

Generally, the longer the trip, the larger the tip.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Limousine driver 10% to 20% of the fare
Taxi driver 15% to 20% of the fare
Ride-sharing service, such as Uber or Lyft 3% to 5% of the fare and up. Even if apps for ride-hailing services do not give you an option to leave a gratuity, consider tipping the driver anyway in cash.
Shuttle driver $2 to $3 for a shuttle that carries multiple people, such as at airports. Tip more for a personalized shuttle.

How much to tip child care

Regardless if you’re showing appreciation to a teen babysitter or a daycare worker, tipping 15 percent to 20 percent for childcare workers is generally advised.

Additional tip: Consider giving your children’s daycare teachers a small gift or handmade treat during the holiday season.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Babysitting 15% to 20% of the total
Nannying Year-end bonus of one to two week’s pay
Au pairs Year-end bonus of one to two week’s pay

How much to tip movers

How much you’ll tip movers depends on many factors, such as if you own a lot of heavy furniture or if the movers will be expected to bring items upstairs.

Tip more for a more difficult, labor-intensive move, and be sure to tip for each individual mover. Offering water bottles, especially on a hot day, can be another kind way to show appreciation for a difficult job.

Length of move Suggested guidelines for tipping
2 hours $10 per person
4 hours $20 per person
8 hours $40 per person

General guidelines for tipping etiquette

Tipping is more of an art than a science. These guidelines are a great place to start, but don’t feel like you have to stick to them if a worker gives you fantastic service and you want to show your appreciation. Otherwise, if you receive poor service, try to show empathy to the workers and bring up your complaint with them before leaving a small, or no, tip.

“In general, for things like sit-down restaurant meals, haircuts and taxis/rideshares, I’d say a 20 percent tip is recommended,” Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman says. “Unfortunately, many people are tipping far less — sometimes even nothing at all. But for all of those services, I think a 20 percent tip should be standard practice. These people are working hard and depend on tips as a big part of their salary.”

Generally, if you don’t know whether or not to tip for a service, Norris, the assistant professor at Oklahoma State University, advises tipping if you couldn’t do it yourself or if the person added value to your overall experience.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of tipped services. Additionally, don’t forget about tipping for other personalized or highly-skilled services, like tattoos or housekeeping.

  • Tipping is required for sit-down restaurants. For most services, tipping is optional, albeit appreciated, and is typically based on exceptional service. But at sit-down restaurants, tipping is the majority of a worker’s pay. Make sure to tip at least 18 percent.
  • Tip according to the service provided: The more skill and experience that goes into a service, the more you should consider tipping. Someone who you have a personalized relationship with that knows your preferences also might earn a bigger tip, since they can offer knowledgeable advice and higher quality services.
  • Cash is not necessarily king: Check the tipping policy at a company before using their services. If there’s no way to tip a worker when you pay, ask if they prefer to be tipped via a peer-to-peer payment platform, such as Venmo or Zelle, or in cash. Just make sure to leave cash in a visible spot when you might not be present to speak to the worker in person, such as for hotel housekeeping.
  • Show appreciation for favors, too: You may tip a professional, but you’re unlikely to pay and tip a friend who’s helping you move your couch. Paying back a friend with a meal or a favor in turn is a kind gesture when you receive help for free.
  • Bankrate commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey on tipping habits. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,445 US adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th April – 1st May 2024. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.

    Sources: Suggested guidelines for tipping

    • General tipping guidelines on coffee shops and others from Emily Post.
    • General tipping guidelines on delivery, salons, travel and more from Ramsey Solutions.
    • Tipping guidelines on babysitting from Kidsit.
    • Tipping guidelines on moving from