Do you tip in Hawaii? It may seem like a silly question, since giving money for good service is common in the United States. However it is not the custom in some places relatively near Hawaii, such as Australia. To clear up any confusion, Hawaii Aloha Travel agent Jessie has written this basic guide to tipping while on vacation in Hawaii.

“Tipping while traveling is such a chore. Most people are unsure when to tip and for how much. Below is a basic guide to help prepare you for your travels in Hawaii.

Restaurants (for foreign visitors): 15% of the total bill is typically expected. More or less depending on the service. It is not recommended to tip less than 10%.

Baggage: Whether it be the skycap at the airport, shuttle transportation, or even a bellboy. I usually tip about $1-2 dollars a bag. More for the bellboy since he has to carry everything. (Especially if it is heavy)

Valet: Many hotels in Waikiki or the resorts on the outer islands have valet parking. The hotel will most likely charge you a daily fee for use of the valet, but you should tip anyways. Typically $2-3 dollars is sufficient.

Concierge: If you are lucky enough to have a concierge at your hotel USE THEM. They are full of useful information and will try and cater to your every need. Once again, $3-5 shows your appreciation, plus they will remember you when you come back for more assistance.

Tours: Many tours included in All inclusive Hawaii vacations will either provide you with a tour guide or someone to entertain you on the drive. I usually recommend people be more generous and tip about $5 for each person in your group.

You should always only tip what you feel comfortable with. The service will not always be good, sometimes it will be great; feel free to tip extra. Or, in cases where the service is terrible, don’t bother tipping at all.” — Jessie

I especially want to emphasize that tipping is always appreciated, even if you are part of a pre-paid package or other tour. I always leave a tip for the housekeeping staff of Hawaii hotels, in part because that was one of my first jobs and I remember how happy it made me.

Keep some cash in your pocket to reward people who make your Hawaii vacation extra-special.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for your great insights about tipping.  Very practical and common sense rules about when and how much to tip.  Agree with your advice 100% that tipping is always appreciated and almost never refused.   Sometimes, in addition to the financial tip, it is a good idea and very meaningful to the recipient to leave a written thank you note for great service rendered.  Takes a few minutes but can help that person with a promotion or a raise. 
    TheGourmetCoffeeGuy
    http://www.ourgourmetcoffee.com

  2. Yes tipping is very appreciated here.  My mom used to do the contracts for multiple vacation condo and she'd be their housekeeper as well.  I have to say it would urk me as a kid when I'd go with her (spring / summer / winter time) and find that a family of 6 is in a 2-bed condo, lots of dishes, lots of laundry, 3 beds, 2 bathrooms, 1 sleeper sofa, no tip.  Wow, just amazed me she did it for $25 a day per condo not worth it in my opinion but hey gotta do what you gotta do.  Thankfully she doesn't do it anymore though. 

    @TheGourmetCoffeeGuy – Thanks for the tip about the note, I never saw it in that way, just always left money, but you're right written proof of great performance always is the best way to a promotion.

  3. Hawaii has tourists here from all over the world and they tip according to the customs of the country they are from. It's a very challenging place to be a waiter, having waited tables here for the past 20 years. 
    Thank you Jessie for setting up some guidelines for the toursits who dont know any better. 

  4. Thank you for the tipping guidelines. When I travel for leisure, my companions usually say I over tip. I couldn't agree less… We travel for business to the mainland and Canada and, coming from the service industry, always want to be a good example of acknowledging good service. when we travel with boxes, $5.00 is never too much for a delivery.  I especially like that you reminded us about housekeeping. In my opinion, the most overworked and under appreciated staff member! Coming back to a fresh room after a long day of work or play, is always a joy. Wish I had one of those folks at my house! Definitely worth my $2.00 a day!

  5. Resorts like Kapalua have shuttle service we always tip the driver a dollar or so per trip. They appreciate it since most people don't. And for baggage service (when staying in villas) the tip is at least $10.00 since they often have to climb stairs. If you stay on a "club level" it is appropriate to leave a larger amount in an envelope which they will share amongst each other.

  6. Giving tips for the services that you have received can be a great motivation to those who are working hard in providing all your needs. Doing this will allow them to perform well – may it be for cleaning, doing repairs or maintaining the place that we are currently staying.

  7. We have been travelling the world and more lately US States over last several years. Still haven’t got our heads around tipping. As a bussiness owner in Australia ( We pay our employers more than a livable wage) We get paid back with loyality. It annoys me that business owners especially in hospitality in the US and now more often now in other parts of the world pay poorly and expect the customer to bridge the gap.
    A recent experience in a large Waikiki resturant. four of us in four dinner. Food was good , service was mechanical and robotic. Our bill came only after having to ask for it. Stamped on the bill was TIPS ALREADY INCLUDED. I fronted the manager as our choice of tipping had been decided for us. Response was it must have been a mistake, (what it’s a mistake they even have a stamp) I noted on menus in other places that parties of 6 or more will be automatically charged gratuity . There is a better way to do business and that’s pay more. As US citizens travel the world and taking there tipping practice around the world other places are picking up on this tipping concept. After a while all expect that this is the normal.
    What happens is poor service with the expectation of a tip at the end. Remember most people are to embarrassed to complain about poor service , just pay they will most likely never frequent the establishment again.
    Daniel

  8. I am a believer in tipping, very much, unless it is inappropriate to do so because of staff position or culture.

    Most timea, however, I ask bellmen or valets for recommendations as the concierge usually receives kick backs and benefits from the places they recommend. I lean on them for hard to get show tickets or dinner reservations if I know I am going somewhere. Otherwise I ask people who don’t have a biased opinion.

  9. Interesting information as we are going to Hawaii next week and coming from New Zealand, where we don’t tip, it is a bit of a minefield as to who and how much we should tip. I hate the idea of tipping to be honest, but that is because our workers are paid a fair wage, whereas I believe in the US tips are necessary to bump up low wages. I just hope we don’t offend anyone by forgetting to tip!
    The housekeeping one surprises me as we are charged over $100 for the cleaning of our condo at the end of our stay and I don’t think we will be having anyone doing daily cleaning, so I don’t think there will be anyone to tip? I guess we will find out!

  10. I understand the tipping concept but what I don’t like is the expectations to give tips everytime you need you car. What if I ended up using the car three times per day? Paying tips everytime is inconvenient. Most people who are going on vacation had spent good time saving for it. I have read another post in some other blog and the writer was very surprised that people don’t tip generously
    What the hack isn’t it enough that everything from food to drinking water to every thing is already expensive?

  11. Hi everyone.
    I’ll be heading to Hawaii later this year on a research attachment. I will be staying in in university accommodation, and will presumably be eating on campus most of the time. I may also plan to spend some recreation time on the other islands … so, some questions:
    1) is tipping also customary on university campuses?
    2) I’m aware of the recommended tip of 10% of the bill, but I’m a little unclear: is it necessary for the tip to be EXACTLY 10%? During my last trip to the US, I basically rounded the bill to the nearest five and let the server keep the change (eg, whether the bill was 11.50 or 14.50, I would round it up to 15.00 and leave the change.)
    3) is tipping customary in small bed-and-breakfast establishments? If so, how much is expected?

    Hope for some advice,
    ET

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