We just returned from an all-inclusive resort and I noticed that people rarely tipped the waiters and waitresses working in the restaurants. The thing that amazed me most was that these cheap guests were often Americans or Canadians.
I spoke to one such guest in the pool and he said that he thought that the tips were included in the package. After I told him what the average salaries were for the employees working there, he looked embarrassed and vowed to change his ways.
Why You Should Tip
If you’ve ever been to a quality all-inclusive resort, you know that the employees bend over backwards to ensure that you have a wonderful vacation experience. These men and women usually work six days a week for very little pay. How little? I’m glad you asked.
I checked a few job sites online and there were several listings for positions at all-inclusives. The average starting salary for both waiters and bartenders was only between $4,000 -$6,000 pesos a month. In U.S. dollars, that equates to $226 -$339 dollars a month. The salaries for other positions, such as concierge and housekeeper, weren’t much better.
My advice to you is to bring plenty of small bills and to tip frequently. There is no set formula for how much you should tip — that’s up to you.
For example, this is what we usually do:
Waiters / Waitresses – This one depends on the meal (buffet or table service), the time we spent there and the level of attention we received. We usually leave $3 USD for breakfast, between $5 -$10 for lunch, and between $10-$15 for dinner.
Porters – $1 USD per bag.
Bartenders – $1 if we are just passing through. If we stay there for any length of time, we usually leave between $5 -$10 USD.
Housekeeping – $2-$3 USD per day.
Special Employees – If someone really goes out of their way to make our trip a great experience, we will often give them an additional tip of up to $20 USD.
Many of my friends joke that I’m cheap — and in some ways, I suppose they’re right — however, my desire to save money whenever possible does not extend to tipping. I think that it’s of paramount importance to recognize the hard-working men and women who make my vacation and/or dining experience enjoyable.