Don’t Be a Stiff:  Who, What, and How to Tip on a Vegas Vacation.

Greasing the wheels has been a Vegas tradition since Bugsy first opened The Flamingo in 1946. This is a service town, where almost everyone you are going to come across, from the guy who puts your suitcases in the cab to the babe who walks you to your VIP table, is in place to make your Las Vegas fantasy a reality.  Keep that in the back of your head when planning your budget, and set aside some cash designated for tips only. Since most tipping is done in percentages, a good rule of thumb is to have an extra 15% to 20% of what you have budgeted to spend for tip money. Keep that cash on the side in all denominations.  A $50 dollar bill makes a better impression than a crumpled wad of 50 ones.

Dropping tokes, or tipping, in Las Vegas starts at the airport.  Did someone come out of nowhere and help you get your bags into the cab or onto the shuttle.  He should get at least a dollar a bag, two if you packed like Coco and have more than 5 suitcases. The same rule applies to the bellhop that brings your bags to your room.  The shuttle driver that got you to your hotel in one piece deserves $2 to $5, depending on the size of your entourage.  If you took a cab, how much you tip depends on the fare. 15% to 20% is about right.

You tell Coco she packed too much.

You tell Coco she packed too much.

Actually, with few exceptions, people in the service industry should be tipped based on percentage.  Think about it.  It’s not really saying much to your server if you have $300 to spare on a lobster and steak dinner, but can only cough up a five as a tip.  Waiters and waitress should get at least 18% of your total bill.  VEGASTER TIP:  If you are hanging with a large group, some restaurants will automatically tack on the gratuity.  Check your bill first to make sure that the tip hasn’t already been included.  If it has, and the service was stellar put an extra $20 cash down to let them know.

VIP bottle service is the most attentive service you will probably ever receive in your lifetime.  The service team deserves at minimum 20% of your tab and the hostess who sat you down at that great table should be handed a hundred dollar bill. VEGASTER TIP: Before your group even leaves the hotel, make sure that this money is collected and put on the side.  People have a way of getting lost once it comes time to tally up the charges.  

Hey, where's Joe, Rick, Tony, Kurt, Kevin & Rich with the money?

Hey, where's Joe, Rick, Tony, Kurt, Kevin & Rich with the money?

Tipping is expected inside the casino too.  Like they say, the drinks may be free, but the service isn’t.  The cocktail waitress should be tipped like you are paying for the drink.  $2 for each drink will keep you with a full glass at all times, but give her more if you have special requests or want top shelf liquor.  It is also good form to give her extra if you are on a winning streak.

Create good gambling karma by tipping the dealer when you first sit down.  A five dollar toke is the right way to start.  If you are having a good run, make sure you show your appreciation by tipping 20% of your winnings.  Gambling tip on tips:  The dealer is not allowed to take money from your hand, so when you want to show the love put the cash down on the table and let them know it’s for them.

Vegaster Tip: Tipping big keeps your drink full.

Vegaster Tip: Tipping big keeps your drink full.

Often overlooked are the staff members responsible for keeping your hotel room pristine.  Think $5 to $10 a day.  $20 if you leave a big mess or have lots of requests for extras.  Tip for maid service:  They aren’t going to touch a bill that has been left sitting on top of the T.V. or anywhere else.  If you don’t see them personally to hand it to them, put the money in a clearly marked envelope and leave it on the table where they can’t miss it.  Don’t wait until the end of your stay either, leave their tip every morning or you may find that you are suddenly short on towels.

"What happened last night?"

"What happened last night?"

Your vacation in Vegas is not the time to turn into Scrooge McDuck.  Tip like a gangster and you are going to find that everyone is suddenly tripping over themselves to help make your stay exactly the way you want it to be.

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