Tipping while traveling domestically in the USA

Nov 20, 2009
While I am originally from southern New England I have been living in the south (FL then GA) for about a little more than half my life. I am aware of the cost of living differences compared to where I now live and places I find myself in that has a higher cost of living. So, I was talking to a friend of mine this weekend about tipping. He travels a lot within the USA for his job and often finds himself in places where the cost of living is cheaper than Atlanta and often times much higher than Atlanta. As the talk focuses on NYC, where I am getting on a plane to tomorrow morning, I asked how he tips. He says for menial things like housekeeping, doorman, etc., he tips them "a couple of bucks." I found this a bit disturbing. While I know my lack of understanding of Empathy (Aspergers), I know how to place an objective lens on the moment and sometimes be overly analytical about it. I have worked very low paying jobs in my youth and can only imagine what it would be like if fate hit me back to one of those poor living jobs.

So, I ask him if he tipped that way ten years ago and he, without so much as a thought, said YES. I then asked about the cost of living differential and the differential for inflation over the past decade and he froze. He was stunned he hadn't given them a thought. I said two bucks in Atlanta won't get you lunch unless its Ramen noodles from the grocer, even if you have a dozen people handing you two bucks a day. Now imagine that in a place like NYC. So, I have to wonder for those that have been in positions in which they traveled a lot domestically for business for the past 10-20 years are you still tipping today what you were tipping 10, or 20, years ago? All this is coming about as I go to the bank this morning to get out some cash, which is an extreme rarity for me because I ahve not carried cash on my person as a regular thing since 2007.

I'll be staying at the Barclay in midtown and because my vacationing is so rare I tend to try to be generous. But I am open to advice, especially since I'll be there through Saturday.


Feb 14, 2002
If you want to tip more, you're more than welcomed. Honestly, I find the whole tipping culture tiring. It's just another stress and something additional to think about. You can google for articles on what the new covid tipping guideline is. There are plenty of differing opinions on what the "proper amount" to tip. Here's one from Reader's Digest.

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Diamond Member
Feb 26, 2005
I certainly don't tip the amazon guy. I would consider ups or FedEx for the holidays, but the amazon person is different every time. we usually give some cookies to the mail carrier.


Senior member
Sep 11, 2007
Agree with herm. I find my Amazon delivery guy/gal are different person every single time.

However, I would consider a tip/gift card for my USPS guy. He never made mistakes, always on time (rain or shine).


Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
I generally tip on the high side and I generally round up to keep things simple. My barber tends to get this highest nowadays averaging 30% plus.
I don't agree with tipping on take out. The only time I tipped on take out was during the pandemic when restaurants were had dinging shut down and were on the brink.
And maybe one place where I get burritos...


Jun 2, 2000
Considering 99% of the time Amazon leaves my packages on our uncovered porch-even in the pouring rain (when they even take pictures of it there to prove they delivered) h*ll will freeze over before I ever tip them. I don't recall ever tipping anyone in the Home Deliveries section (which I note now excludes newspaper delivery-where my tips received during my junior & high school job pretty much PIF for my college).


No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
most delivery guys fling the boxes from a distance then sprint to their van.
No, I do not tip them. Even if I wanted to, I couldnt. BUT, if the guy rang my door bell I'd probably thank him and maybe even offer a bottle of water or something.


Sep 2, 2006
i never tip UPS guys/mailmen. i'll tip for delivered food, but i haven't ordered delivered food in at least a decade.

i'll tip at a hotel if i've got a few bucks before i leave (normally i only have them clean the day i check out)

restaurants is usually about %15


Jan 14, 2013
Be generous to your waitstaff in NYC restaurants, they are dealing with a lot. I don't stay in hotels in NYC as I live a mile away but you can post in the AskNYC subreddit as a lot of tourists post there and get answers about tipping housekeepers and doormen.


No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
I tip my pizza / food delivery people, usually around $5, maybe I'll round up to the next even dollar if I feel generous.

I haven't been to my barber in months, who knows if he's still operating, I generally pay him like 2x, because I only come in 1/2 as often as a usual customer.

DoorDash, if expected, I tip $5 or so, or maybe more through the web site. If unexpected, depends if I have any $1s or a $5.

I haven't gotten "personal shopper" groceries. When I do, I guess that I'll figure it out when it comes to that.

I've given my trash guy, my UPS, and my USPS guy small (get a coffee, etc.) amounts. Nothing that would get them in trouble, I hope.
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Feb 14, 2002
The Hospitality section on that Reader's Digest chart is similar to how I tip hotel housekeeping, valet, bellhop, and doorman. And at restaurants, I tip 18% for acceptable service, 20% for good service, and 23% for superior service. But I pretty much tip 23% at Korean BBQ because the servers have to do lot of work. They have the added job of cooking the food at the table for me while constantly refilling the side dishes. It's not easy job so as long as they don't burn all my food and try really hard, I tip extra.

I stopped tipping pickup and takeouts even though I did at the beginning of the pandemic. I wanted to support my favorite restaurants, but I no longer feel they need the extra help. If they haven't adapted by now, that's on them.