Tip Like a Native in New York City

When you’re living in the US to learn English in New York, be sure to tip properly! Tipping is part of the culture in the United States, and service industry wages are set with the expectation that an individual will make additional income through tips. It is considered rude to tip poorly or not tip at all. Thankfully, proper tip amounts are easy to remember and easy to calculate.

The baseline standard in tipping for most everything is 15-20% of the bill. So, whether you’re ordering drinks, out for a meal, relaxing in the spa, or taking a cab ride around the city, consider this percentage when calculating the tip. As this is the standard, be sure to thoroughly read your receipt, as many professionals in the service industry will add a gratuity charge. For example, some restaurants will add an 18% gratuity charge, especially if you have a large group dining. You can usually find that the very bottom of the menu will display their gratuity policy. You can also practice as you learn English in New York by asking questions about tipping with your waiter, bartender, or host.

Tips are also given to a variety of people who help make your stay more comfortable. In hotels, it is standard to tip bellhops, housekeepers, and doormen who hail you a cab. For bellhops, the minimum is $2 for helping you with your bags. If you have more than 2 bags, it is customary to tip $1 per bag upon arrival and when checking out. Housekeepers are tipped $2-5 per night, and it is customary to include a thank you note at the end of your stay. If a doorman helps you with a bag or a cab, it is customary to tip $1, but you don’t need to tip when they open the door for you.

It can be exciting to learn English in New York City, but as the American saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which means it’s important to follow the customs of your host city.