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I’m clueless as to tipping. Who do you tip in Hawaii?

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


I am clueless when it comes to tipping. I will be vacationing in Honolulu for about a week and have made reservations for many activities. For some of those activities, transportation from my hotel to the designated area is included. Am I supposed to tip the drivers too? If so, how much?




Aloha Jess,

Mahalo for bringing up this often overlooked topic. Tipping can be frustrating or embarrassing if you don’t have a sense of what’s expected or customary.

Here’s some advice the Big Kahuna has gathered.

Most hotels, shopping malls, and activities run shuttle busses that you can call on to come pick you up and deliver you to their location. A shuttle bus full of people – generally no tip.

If the driver is nice and friendly, or if you’re the only passenger or one of few, you might tip a dollar or two, even if s/he is only “picking up and dropping you off.”

If a van or car is sent specifically for you, it’s probably a good idea to tip – $3 to $5 may be in order, particularly if it’s a long ride.

Activities can be more complicated, especially if you are working through a hotel or a travel service that has booked or arranged the activity. For further advice about tipping for activities, ask the travel service, your hotel concierge, or check with the front desk.

Of course, you could send the money directly to the Big Kahuna, who will be sure to … Nah, better not.

Have a great visit!

Big Kahuna