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Tipping Etiquette in Vancouver

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Tipping Etiquette in Vancouver

When we think of tipping, the first thing that comes to mind is bars and restaurants. But this cultural practice applies to other types of industries as well. 

Tipping helps the workers, especially in the food industry, because they usually work minimum wage. The extra gratuity is considered as a “bonus” and helps them make ends meet. 

When Should I Tip in Vancouver?

Tipping is encouraged and highly appreciated in Vancouver but not mandatory. Essentially, if the person you’re receiving a service from has provided exceptional service, you should provide a tip.

You probably have questions about tipping because it can be confusing at times. Don’t worry, we’ll try to answer all the common questions you may have to help you out, so read on!

Restaurants and Bars

Restaurants and Bars
Image by iStock via https://www.istockphoto.com/

In Vancouver restaurants and bars, you should typically plan to tip around 10-15% of your total bill. However, it is entirely up to you how much you want to tip.

Tips can also vary depending on the establishment, the amount you order, the number of people you are with and the occasion you’re celebrating (if any). 

For example, if you’re at a restaurant and your bill amounts to $40, you may want to tip your server 15% if they’ve provided very good service. The tip would amount to $6 making your grand total owed $46. 

Don’t worry, there are various apps that you can install onto your smartphone that can help you out in a pinch! 

Do take note that some restaurants, hotels and bars have service charges on their bills, which are essentially tips already. You should double-check your bill or ask one of the staff before making a tip for some clarification.

Hotels

Hotels
Image by Toursim Whistler via https://www.whistler.com/

Tipping at hotels isn’t unheard of around the world, and is probably one of the most recognized globally.

Ideally, tipping service staff in a Vancouver hotel’s restaurant follows the same norms, which is around 10-20%. As usual, take a look at your bill first to check if service charge is included.

It’s also customary to tip bellboys for helping with your luggage.  Also, if you find that room attendants do an exceptional job of cleaning your room (especially if you’ve made a big mess), then we highly recommend you tip them as well.

Likewise, you can tip front desk staff and the concierge if they assist you with navigating the city or accommodate any other special requests. 

A general rule of thumb to follow is around $2-$5 per luggage the bellboy helps you with. You can give around $2 to the concierge or doorman if they help you get a taxi or give tips on where to go.

Ride-Sharing and Taxis

Ride-Sharing and Taxis
Image by iStock via https://www.istockphoto.com/

Ride-hailing and ride-sharing services such as taxis, Uber and Lyft, are another sector where tips are appreciated. While it’s not mandatory, gratuity is always welcome.

Some examples include if your driver brings you to your destination quicker than expected or helps with your luggage. If this is the case, then you might want to give a tip. 

If you’re on a long journey, tipping the driver is recommended to be at 10%. For example, if your cab bill is $50, 10% of this would make your bill $55.

If you are on a short journey, however, it’s simpler. You can just round up to the nearest significant Canadian dollar. For example, if the bill is $15.65, you can round up to $16 and have them keep the change.

Tour Guides

Tour Guides
Image by Unsplash via https://unsplash.com/

If you’re visiting Vancouver and have availed the services of a tour guide, it’s suggested that you offer a small tip, even on free tours.

Whether it is a private, multi-day, or walking tour, tips help the tour guides earn commission. We suggest tipping the equivalent of $1 for every hour of your tour.

Online Delivery Services and Couriers

Online Delivery Services and Couriers
Image by CBC via https://www.cbc.ca/

It’s also encouraged to tip the couriers for take-out services like Skip the Dishes. It isn’t as easy as you think spending the day driving around and delivering food.

The app or website for Skip The Dishes, UberEats and Doordash should give you tipping options before you place your order. The options are usually 5%, 10%, 15%, a custom tip or no tip at all.

Final Tip: Always Tip in Canadian Currency

Final Tip Always Tip in Canadian Currency
Image by World Atlas via https://www.worldatlas.com/

Needless to say, if you’re in Vancouver, you should tip in Canadian dollars. Not only does it immediately give the recipient with cash they can use, but the value of their service is easier to calculate. 

So make sure to have your small bills of Canadian currency on you at all times, whether you’re checking into your hotel or enjoying dinner at one of Vancouver’s many restaurants. 


If you’re a frequent traveller, you’ll no doubt want to make sure that you always behave appropriately in the country you’re visiting. Thus, we hope we’ve clarified tipping etiquette and how tipping works in Vancouver. 

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