The answer isn’t quite so straightforward.

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When it comes to vacation, the less you have to do, the better. It’s why so many people opt to visit all-inclusive resorts. At an all-inclusive, everything—from daily meals to housekeeping to special activities—is taken care of. And in many ways, you’re paying for that peace of mind. While an all-inclusive resort is a great way to sit back, relax, and escape the endless to-do lists of everyday life, there is one thing you’ll want to get straight before you go, and it’s proper tipping etiquette. The last thing you want to feel while sipping your freshly blended pina colada is guilty about not properly thanking your bartender. So, what’s the consensus? Is it necessary to tip at an all-inclusive resort? Keep reading for the answer, plus more information on how much to tip and who to tip.

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Should You Tip At All-Inclusive Resorts?

The short answer is yes, but not in the same manner that you normally would. At most all-inclusive resorts, the cost of gratuity is usually included into your overall rate. So while you’re not necessarily expected to tip on-property attendants like servers, housekeepers, and bartenders, it’s still a good rule of thumb to bring a little extra cash to thank the folks who make your stay stress-free. Think of tipping less like a requirement and more like an extra thank you for exceptional service.

Though most resort workers appreciate receiving tips from guests, some resorts forbid staff members from accepting tips, so slipping your bartender an extra $5 may not be such a welcome gesture. For example, Beaches resorts prohibits their employees from accepting tips, but makes an exception for butlers, tour guides, and massage therapists. To be safe, it’s best to ask the resort about their tipping policies before checking in. That way you can arrive prepared with all the information you need to enjoy your stay to its fullest.   

Who Should You Tip At All-Inclusive Resorts?

The service at an all-inclusive resort is top-rate because there are so many people who work together to make your experience seamless. When you’re tipping, keep in mind all the people you interact with each day. People to consider tipping include servers, bartenders, housekeeping staff, pool attendants, shuttle drivers, bellhops, cart drivers, spa employees, and activity staff or guides. If there’s a kids’ club that your child is especially fond of, you might even consider leaving something for the staff there.

How Much Should You Tip At All-Inclusive Resorts?

Tipping at all-inclusive resorts does not follow the same rules as tipping in the real world. For example, you won’t need to shell out 20% of your total meal cost. And good thing because you may be tempted to order a couple different entrees and four or five appetizers for the table since it’s an all-inclusive after all. Instead, consider leaving anywhere from $3 to $5 per person at nicer sit-down dinners for excellent service. At buffets and other grab-and-go stations, it’s fine to leave just $1 or maybe $5 after a few days, if you have the same server each morning. For bartenders, $1 or $2 every round is appropriate. You can consider leaving more if you have complicated drink orders. For shuttle drivers who drive you to and from the airport, leave $5 per passenger, and for cart drivers who take you on quick trips around the resort, $1 per ride is fair.

For bellhops, spa employees like massage therapists, and activity/tour guides, you should tip as you normally would if you weren’t staying at an all-inclusive. That means around $1 per bag to bellhops, and 15% to 20% of your activity or service cost for tour guides and spa employees. Plan on leaving around $2 to $5 a day, or maybe a larger sum at the end of your stay, for housekeeping.

Tipping Etiquette at All-Inclusive Resorts

Local currency is certainly appreciated at all-inclusive resorts, but since most are catered to tourists, it’s perfectly fine to bring U.S. dollars. Just be sure to tip in bills not coins, as coins can be harder to exchange in foreign countries. There aren’t a lot of hard-and-fast rules about when to tip at all-inclusive resorts, but many people recommend tipping early and often to encourage staff members to continue giving excellent service. For example, slipping a pool attendant $20 at the beginning of the week may ensure that you always snag a prime spot by the pool or the ocean. The same goes for your favorite bartender, who may have a strawberry daiquiri waiting upon your arrival once they know they’ll be well taken care of.

The most important thing to remember when tipping at an all-inclusive resort is that in most cases your gratuity is already incorporated into your resort fee, so while it’s always nice to show your appreciation to service workers who go above and beyond, you don’t have to stress or go overboard by doling out cash to everyone you see.

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