How much should I tip at a resort on vacation?
It is proper etiquette to tip at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean (**unless you are staying at Sandals, or Couples branded resort in which tipping is prohibited).
Keep in mind that tipping is personal. You may choose not to tip as much as someone else, or you may feel it in your heart to be more generous. Anything is very appreciated.
There are two ways you can prepare for tipping during your trip. Regardless of your method, please take small bills with you. Do not plan to get change at the hotel desk, as you may not be able to. US Dollars is accepted and appreciated. There is no reason to exchange money for the local currency for tipping. I personally love taking $2 bills. They love them and find them to be good luck. I recommend taking a little more than you expect to spend (knowing you can bring the extra home). I prefer to have too much than to run out!
Option 1: Decide how much money you wish to devote to tips during your trip and create a plan to divide the money among those who have earned your tip (using the guide below). Having a plan will ensure you don’t tip too heavy in the beginning and run out of tip money before your trip is over.
Option 2: Using the list below as a guideline, you can determine how much of a tip you feel is warranted for the position, per day. You can then do the math based on the number of days and amounts listed to know how much tip money you should pull from the bank.
This list is a suggestion only:
Porters at the airport (if you use them): $1-$3 per bag
VIP Greeters at the airport (if you use them): $10-$20 (regardless of the # in your party)
Transfer Greeters (those holding the sign with your name): $5-$10 per couple
Transfer Driver: $5-$20 (based on the time/distance driven) per couple – each way
Resort Bellman: $1-$3 per bag (storage, delivery and pick up)
Butler: $15-$25 per day based on services received (per couple)
Housekeeping: $5 per day, per room. Leave on pillow. Leave more if you left them a mess
Turn Down Service: (if offered): $3–$5 per room. Leave on pillow
Mini Bar Service: (if you used items that need restocking): $2-$5 per refill request. Leave tip inside fridge
Breakfast: $2-$5 per person depending on level of service (buffet vs. sit down)
Lunch: $2-$5 per person depending on level of service (buffet vs. sit down vs. take away)
Dinner: $5-$10 per person
Drink service: $1-$2 per round, per couple
Spa Service: $10-$20 per service
Room Service: $3-$5 per person
Other people you may wish to consider tipping who may not have traditional tip-facing roles but work hard for you. There are no set amounts, but they appreciate being thought of:
Entertainment Staff (particularly those who get to know you, talk to you, make your trip memorable)
Anyone cooking something special for you (omelet maker, pasta station, grill station, etc.)
Hostess at a restaurant who remembers you each time
Absolutely anyone you feel deserves a little extra
The bottom line is tipping should be done at your discretion - but it should be done.
Service is different from that in the USA, so please do not compare it to what you are used to. Understand that "island time" is a real thing.
Language struggles may exist if you don't speak the local language. They try, and so should you. Learn a few words in the local language.
Be gracious. Be kind. And most of all, have a wonderful time!