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Tuesday October 17 2017
Tips for Tipping
Author:
Investment Properties Mexico


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Tipping is part of the everyday culture when living in Mexico. This guide will explain when to tip and how much, and why tips – or la propina – are such an important part of Mexican life.

In Mexico, the minimum wage is very low and many jobs do not have a salary at all. Workers, especially in the hospitality industries, rely heavily on tips to make their salary up to a fair wage. Although there are exceptions, guidelines for tipping in Mexico are roughly the same as the US or Canada, but more probably more generous than Europe.
Tips in tourist areas are welcome in Mexican pesos or US dollars. It’s even worth bringing some $1 bills with you especially to use for tipping. The US dollar is worth about 13 pesos at the moment; that means tipping a dollar is a little more than tipping 10 pesos, but they can be considered almost the same.


Grocery Stores

The bag packers, usually children from the ages of 14, can work after school hours and are not on a salary at all; they take the small job to give them work experience and out of necessity to make extra cash. When living in Mexico, it is acceptable to give them a few pesos or a dollar depending on how many bags you have and how big your shopping was. There are also people who will help you put groceries in your vehicle and then take your cart away; of you choose to use these services, 5 to 10 pesos is adequate tip.


Restaurants and Bars

When you receive your bill, always check to see if service has already been included. If you see a charge labeled propina or servicio, it means that the gratuity has already been included in the bill. You may wish to leave more for exceptional service but this is not required.

You will nearly always have to ask for la cuenta por favor to get the check as Mexican waiting staff will very rarely be in a hurry to move you from your table, giving you time to sit back and relax. If you receive good service from your waiter/waitress it is standard to leave a 15 percent tip. If your food was good, your drinks were always full, and you did not have an overly long wait, then a 20 percent tip would be satisfactory. You can always ask the waiter or waitress if he/she will receive the tip, that way you can be sure it’s going to the staff you want to show appreciation to.

If you are out for a drink in a bar a good rule of thumb to follow is to tip 10 to 20 pesos per round of drinks or 15 percent of your bill, if you have an exceptionally good bartender then a 20 percent tip would be appreciated. Many top end luxury hotels and even restaurants have bathroom attendants, some will simply hand you a crisp paper towel when you wash your hands. There will very often be a dish or a tip jar; it is courteous to leave a 2 – 5 peso tip here, you may find this is the case in some gas stations also. Other bathroom attendants may have gum, hairspray, perfume, band aids etc, and if you take advantage of the services, $1 or $2 should be adequate.


Transport and Driving

Taxi drivers do not normally expect a tip for a short journey as the prices are quite high and a tip is normally built into the cost. However, if the journey is longer or the driver helps you with bags, groceries etc., you should leave a 10 percent tip. If you have a taxi driver on a day trip, maybe arranged through your hotel, a $5-10 dollar tip per day is acceptable.
If you are living in Mexico and driving a car, always check in the gas station to make sure the gas register is turned back to zero before any gas is pumped. A small tip of 10 pesos to the attendant who pumps your fuel and cleans your windshield would be appreciated, and increase your tip if he/she spends time checking tire pressure, oil and screen wash levels.

Some major supermarkets and busy car parking lots in the bigger cities have attendants that will patrol the lot, help you find a free space, keep an eye on your vehicle and signal you out when you leave. Even though a tip is optional, a 10 peso tip is a good gesture. If you park your vehicle in a valet car lot a $1 or $2 tip on your exit is a standard tip on top of your valet parking charge.


Hotel Services

Hotel maids should be tipped around 30 pesos per day for a couple staying in a room, and the money should be left where it is most obvious that it is indeed a tip. It is always best to leave a tip daily as you will not have the same maid every day. If you are in a condo and have the same maid for the duration of your stay, you may wish to leave a tip when you leave.

Bellboys in hotels should be tipped 10 pesos per bag. If your hotel had a concierge and you ask for directions, recommendations for dinner, a film, a show etc, a small tip would be appreciated. If they go the extra mile, like getting you into a fully booked show or a must-see tour that is sold out, you may want to tip them in the range of $5-$10.

Even if your hotel is an all-inclusive resort, and your package includes gratuities, it is doubtful how much of this the staff sees in their pay check. It is always recommended to tip your bartender, waiter, and maid as it is never expected. They are all there to ensure your vacation is a safe, happy and unforgettable experience, so if the service is good a little tip goes a long way.


Tour Guides and Activities

Even though a 10% tip of the tour price should be left as a tip, one should increase this amount when taking a fishing trip and more crew members are involved in the service process. There is debate as to how much to tip in fishing trips, but most people believe $50 for the captain and $25 per crew member is reasonable. The common feeling amongst fishing folk is the tip should not be tied to the cost of the charter but on the level of service provided by the crew, the amount of fish caught and if the beer was cold and continuous!

While visiting or living in Mexico, bear in mind that Mexican workers rely on tips to make a living. But tipping should be used to encourage proper service, so do not feel that you have to tip the top end amount all the time; at the end of the day, it’s your choice.

 

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