Guide to Tipping at an All-Inclusive Resort
Updated: Feb 4
Ahh an all-inclusive resort means you get to leave your wallet at home because everything is included, right? Well yes, to some degree. But when it come to tips and gratuities, that's plain wrong.
So many people book an amazing all-inclusive vacation and unfortunately are either under the assumption, or given incorrect advice that tips are included. While yes, there are a select few resort brands that do include all tip and gratuities, many do not.
Why should I tip at an all-inclusive resort?
You may be wondering WHY. Why, if I'm spending all of this money for this vacation package, should I tip at an all-inclusive resort? Well there are several reasons.
1. Tipping shows the staff how much you appreciate their hard work and service. Trust me, it doesn't go unnoticed. Don't be surprised if your drinks are refilled faster and food is delivered quicker.
You may be thinking the staff's job is to do those types of things, which is true, but think back to a moment when you've tipped the staff at a restaurant or coffee shop or bartender really well. What happened? Perhaps they start to remember who you are and are extra polite and prompt with service. Maybe the barista starts to remember your order and has it ready to go before you even arrive at the counter. Same thing with the bartender. Simply put, the extra tip doesn't go unnoticed.
2. Many workers are underpaid and supplement their income with tips. Some workers at resorts in Mexico reportedly live off of less than $100 USD per week.
Some people may say that's not their fault or it's not their job to supplement staff income and the resort should pay them better (which isn't necessarily wrong). But think of it similarly to a restaurant employee. In the state of Maryland, where I'm from, wait staff are not paid federal minimum wage. Instead they are paid a minimum wage for tipped employees of just over $3.00 per hour. That minimum wage pay check is usually enough to cover taxes and maybe a tank of gas. Everything that employee needs to survive may be received in tips.
How much to tip?
The amount to tip is 100% at your discretion and should be paid according to the quality of service you receive. However, there are some guidelines and standards when it comes to understanding how much and who to tip.
When sitting down to a buffet meal, there may be servers and bus staff to consider, even though you are usually serving yourself when it comes to the food. In general, a tip of around $1-3 per meal is customary.
For an a la carte (or sit down) meal with full waitstaff service, consider a tip of about $5-10 per table.
For bartenders, you can typically choose one of two options: a $1-2 tip per round of drinks; or a daily tip of anywhere between $10-20 depending on how many rounds you think you may drink.
A bellman who helps with your luggage and takes you to your room should be tipped about $1-3 per bag
Housekeeping should be tipped daily at $1-5 per day
For any specific minibar requests, leave a note with a tip of $2-5 per day and your fridge will never be empty
Depending on your usage of concierge services, a tip of $5-10 is customary
Tip your shuttle driver about $2-5 per person; when using a taxi it is important to negotiate rates before getting into the car and a tip is not necessary
Tip your tour guide anywhere from 10-20% of the cost of the tour
When on a group tour, tip the tour bus driver $2-5 per person
At the conclusion of the wedding give the wedding coordinator a $20-50 tip
You should tip each wedding server $10-30
Additional Tipping Situations (at your discretion)
There may be additional tipping situations to consider such as spa services, where you should tip 10-20% of the cost of the service. Some additional staff to consider are the resort landscaping staff, towel hut employees, kid's camp attendants, golf cart driver, etc.
How much should I budget for tipping?
I know you budget for your vacation, but don't forget to budget for tips and gratuities as well. For a typical vacation, I like to budget around $30-50 per day. This brings a 7 night vacation gratuity budget to $210-350 for the week.
Should I tip in USD or local currency?
Pretty much everywhere will accept USD in Mexico and the Caribbean; however I do recommend when traveling to Mexico that you tip in pesos, the local currency. They will absolutely accept USD tips, however it is much easier for a Mexican resident to accept and use pesos.
USD to Pesos Exchange Guide
$1 = 20 pesos
$5 = 100 pesos
$10 = 200 pesos
$20 = 400 pesos
Now that you know why, when, and how much to tip at an all-inclusive, you can start planning your next vacation. For your personalized vacation quote, visit our website and take a few minutes to fill out our Plan a Trip form. We will contact you to go over our service packages and get to work!