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One of the questions I had before taking our recent Amtrak trip was about tipping on Amtrak.  Who do you typically tip and how much.  I did a bit of Internet research as well as asking some people, and this is what I came up with.

(SEE ALSO: 4 reasons my Amtrak trip was a blast…)

(SEE ALSO: … but I’ll probably never take another Amtrak trip)

I can’t say that this is the “perfect” amount for tipping on Amtrak – your mileage may vary and you should do what you feel is right – I share these just as my experiences

Tipping on Amtrak dining car

For me, the easiest one was tipping on the Amtrak dining car.


Even though our meals were included as part of our having booked 2 sleeper cars, it is still appropriate to tip.  We have had experiences before where we’ve had free meals, and we typically tip the customary 15-20% on what our meal WOULD have cost otherwise.

The Cincinnati Reds run a promotion where if Reds pitchers strike out at least 11 people in a game, everyone in the stadium gets a free pizza from a local pizza chain.  As you can see from the video below, when we were there last year we did get our 11 strikeouts, so the next weekend we took the family out for pizza.

Though after tips and pizza for the people that weren’t at the game, my “free pizza” meal ended up costing me $20-30 😀

The food was good on our Amtrak trip, but it was super over-priced (which makes sense given that it’s free for some passengers and for coach passengers, they are a captive audience).  For example, lunch and dinner entrees were anywhere from $10-20.  As you can imagine, with our family of 8, we don’t go out to very many restaurants where we’re paying more than $20 a person!

(SEE ALSO: What does a budget for a family of 8 look like?)

(SEE ALSO: How I eat for less than $1 / meal)

On our train trip, for our family of 8, we tipped $10-15 for breakfast and lunch, and $20 for dinners.

Tipping on Amtrak – sleeping car attendants

The suggestions that I had read online said that typically you tip your sleeping car attendants.  Each sleeping car has about 10-15 roomettes and bedrooms, and each car has 1 sleeping car attendant.

(SEE ALSO: Amtrak Superliner vs. Viewliner – what’s the difference?)

Your sleeping car attendant will do things like help change your room from day mode to night mode (pulling the beds down), as well as answer questions about the trip.  I had also read that there were people who would give a big tip to the sleeping car attendants upfront in the hopes of excellent service.


(Part of) Our superliner family bedroom in night mode

Frankly, I didn’t find our sleeping car attendants very helpful.  We were more than capable of putting the beds up and down.  Here is what we tipped our Amtrak sleeping car attendants

  • Toledo to Chicago leg, during the day – we didn’t tip anything
  • Chicago to Denver leg, overnight – we planned to tip $5 for each one but my wife couldn’t find the attendant in her car at the end
  • Denver to Chicago leg, overnight – we tipped $5 to each attendant
  • Chicago to Toledo leg, during the night – again, we tipped $5 to each attendant

How much do you give for Amtrak tips? Sleeper car attendant, bellhop, dining car attendants - find out how much to tip each one on your train travel trips

Tipping on Amtrak – bellhops, redcaps, conductors and more

On Amtrak, the bellhops (people that help with your luggage) are called redcaps, and the consensus was that you tip these people similar to hotel or airport bellhops, on the order of $1 / bag.  We handled our own luggage, did not use any redcaps, and did not tip anything.

I also read that it is also customary that you do NOT tip Amtrak conductors.

Hopefully this guide to tipping on Amtrak will be helpful to you on your own upcoming Amtrak trip!

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