Everything is included at an all-inclusive resort, right?
Well, not exactly everything.
While this is generally true, there are some exceptions. For example, add-on services like spa treatments, private candlelight dinners, etc. are an additional cost, and even though gratuities are technically noted as being included at most all-inclusive resorts, tipping resort staff is still common practice.
Tipping is not required, but it’s a great way to show appreciation for the people who are working so hard to make sure you have a lovely vacation. And, if you tip staff regularly, you may often find that they are willing to go over and above for you and you'll generally receive better/faster service.
Quick personal story to highlight that last part.
On my first trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico years ago, my friend and I saw another guest drinking a specific type of beer in a can. We asked the bartender for this type of beer and he said they didn’t have any. Not, he didn’t have any left – just, he didn’t have ANY.
We were initially quite confused, but after chatting with the other guest, we learned that they had been tipping consistently throughout their stay and they explained that this was probably why they had been receiving special treatment.
Sure enough, once we starting tipping the bartender, suddenly he had some cans of the specific type of beer available for us too.
Hmm, coincidence? I think not – lesson learned!
So, you might be thinking “Ok, I think I’d like to tip on my vacation, but how do I know who to tip or how much to tip them?" Of course, the answer to this is ultimately up to you, but I’ve created a quick guide below for you to use as a starting place based on my experience.
One thing to keep in mind before we get started.
There are some resorts, like Sandals Resorts, that have a strict no-tipping policy where staff are not allowed to accept tips (except for butler and spa staff).
They have this rule in place so guests all receive the same level of service and don’t have to deal with the hassle of carrying cash around with them. So, just be sure to check if your resort allows tipping.
And now, on to the guide....
Tipping Guide for All-Inclusive Resorts
TRANSPORTATION & LUGGAGE
Driver between the airport and the resort – $2-$5 per person if it’s a shared transfer with other passengers; $10-$20 total if it’s a private transfer
Bellhop who brings your bag(s) to your room(s) – $2 per bag
Wait staff at buffet restaurants – $2-$5 per couple per meal
Full-service wait staff at a la carte restaurants – $5-$10 per couple per meal
Room service delivery person – $2-$5 per delivery
Bartenders – $1-$2 per round of one or two drinks
Wait staff at Beach/Pool – $1-$2 per round of one or two drinks
Housekeeping – $2-$5 per night (leave on pillow with note so they know it’s for them)
Minibar – $1-$2 per day (leave inside the fridge with a note of any special requests you have)
Concierge – $5-$10 per special request
Butler – $20-$30 per butler per day
Keep in mind that these guidelines are just suggestions. Tipping is a personal choice and you’ll need to use your own discretion to decide whether and how much to tip.
Nowadays, I always bring a bunch of $1’s and $5’s with me when I stay at an all-inclusive resort (that allows tipping) so I can show my appreciation to staff – and, the enhanced level of service I typically receive as a result is a nice bonus!
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