Tipping can get a little tricky, but it’s a topic many people contend with on vacation. While not a mandatory practice, it’s often customary, especially in service-focused professions. To keep you basking in the sun instead of grappling with numbers, here’s a look at some suggested guidelines for gratitude from the Emily Post Institute. Use these recommendations when it comes to tipping etiquette in the Myrtle Beach area:
Restaurants with table service
Tip 15% or more of the bill, based on the quality of service. If you receive exceptional service, 20-25% is common. In many restaurants, servers pay back a portion of their tips to the bartender, busser, hostess, and food runners. If you're with a large party (typically six people or more), be sure to check your bill. A 15-20% tip is often automatically included as “gratuity” or “service charge.” Always remember, if you feel you did not receive comparable service, inform management before paying your bill to have it adjusted.
Tipping servers who clear multiple dishes and provide drink refills is recommended. Some people might tip $1 per diner, while others might tip as much as 5-10% of the total pre-tax bill, depending on the level of service. Buffet servers work hard to keep your table clear, stock and clean the buffet line, make drinks, and more. As always, if you feel you have not been well-served, adjust the gratuity down. If a tip has been added to your bill beforehand because your party was large, but the server was inadequate or rude, inform the manager before you pay so the tip can be adjusted accordingly.
Tip $1 per drink, or 15-20% of the total bill. If you tip well and consistently at bars and pubs, there’s always the chance you might receive a drink on the house, known sometimes as a “buyback” or “comp.” Some bartenders will use the “old school” signal of leaving an upside-down shot glass near your spot at the bar, but it’s not common anymore. If you do see it, turn the shot glass over when you want the free drink. Even though the drink is free, the labor isn't. Don't forget to tip on the “buyback.” Note that some bars do not allow this, so be sure to follow any guidelines the establishment has in place.
Tip $2-3 per night up to $5 during your stay, adding more for high-end properties. It’s also common to add more if there are more than 3 people in a room or suite. Leave the tip on your pillow or in a similar obvious place with a thank you note. Leave the tip each day when you leave the room rather than at the end of your stay, since your room might get cleaned by different people. If you have additional items delivered to your room, such as extra pillows, hangers, luggage racks, tip the person who brings them $2-3.
Additional Times to Tip
- Bellman/Porter: $1-2 per bag, adding more if the bags are very heavy.
- Taxi or Uber/Lyft Driver: 10-15% of fare, based on service.
- Valet Parking Attendants: $2-5 when picking up your car.
- Spa: For a massage or other treatment, 10-20%. Ask first though, as some spas will include a gratuity on your final bill. Most spas will provide you with an envelope to leave at the reception desk for the person who gave you your treatment. If you wish to leave a small gratuity for the spa attendant who got you situated, $2-5 is a common amount.
- Concierge: Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. Tip $5.00 and up per request, adding more if the request was difficult.
- Room service wait person: Always read the bill, as the tip may be included. Though, the policy of having the gratuity included in the bill is not the norm anymore. A service charge or convenience fee goes to the property, not the server. If there is no gratuity added, tip the server 15-20%.
- Airport limo/shuttle driver: For a free ride from the airport, tip $10-20.
- Drink server in a bar or casino: Tip $1-2 per drink. Some people tip $5 for the first drink to make sure the waiter or waitress “remembers” them and returns often.
- Tour Guides: Tip 15-20% and up, depending on quality (knowledge, friendliness, etc.).
Tips should only go to people who are helpful. If you receive bad service, you should always speak to management instead of just ignoring the tip. The server might think you overlooked the tip or another person pocketed it, losing the chance to address or fix any concerns. Use this tipping guide on your next Myrtle Beach vacation.
*These recommendations are based on ones provided by the Emily Post Institute.