Tipping Tips for Travelers
It’s always one of the more interesting conundrums of traveling, either domestically or abroad — whom do you tip, when, and how much? Here are some guidelines that you can pass along to your clients.
Arriving by taxi or limo? Taxi drivers should receive 15 to 20% for good service. You can adjust upward or downward for a particularly good, or bad, ride. Same thing with limo drivers.
If you drive in with your own car and use the hotel’s valet service, there’s always the question of when to tip. Coming, or going? Answer: Definitely going. Tipping $2 to $5 when the valet retrieves your car when you are leaving the hotel is fairly common.
Bellhops should receive $3 to $5 a bag, obviously on the lower end for a gym bag or shopping bag and on the higher end for carry-on’s and larger suitcases.
Tipping the concierge can be tricky, so think of it in terms of hierarchy. A simple dinner reservation is worth a tip of $5 to $10. But if he or she is scoring you tickets to Hamilton or pulling strings to get you front of the line at a trendy club, it clearly demands much, much more — even upward of $50. The concierge doesn’t necessarily expect it, but it is always appreciated.
Your hotel maid deserves a tip, and most experts suggest $2 to $5 a day, a little more for a larger room or a suite. Clearly mark the envelope and place it on the nightstand or another prominent place.
If you are staying at a high-end hotel/resort and have butler service — especially when the butler is unpacking and packing bags, getting your ironing or dry-cleaning done, drawing a bath, providing turn-down service — the general rule of thumb is 5% of the hotel bill.
Just as you would tip your restaurant waiter or bartender while going out at home, certainly tip them at a hotel, and be sure to tip a few dollars to those who deliver your room service order.
It doesn’t hurt to tip service workers who bring you an umbrella or towels at the hotel pool, $1 to $2 per item.
You should know the tipping policy of your cruise line before you go. In general, the mainstream cruise lines will charge you about $12 a day per person (or $24 for a two-person cabin) in gratuities. That money is split among the crew members whom you come in contact with most every day, notably your housekeeping staff and your dining staff.
And some cruise lines, such as Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas, have strict no tipping policies because such charges are often built into the cost of the ticket.
Your bar bill will likely already include a 15 percent tip on it, but just like a night out at any establishment a few dollars up front will certainly serve you well with your bartender.
Spa treatments also generally include a 15 to 20 percent tip on the bill.
It is still customary to give a couple of dollars to porters who help with your bags and for a room service order.
Shore excursions are sometimes set up by companies separate from the cruise line, but you should generally tip your guide $2 to $4 for half-a-day, double that for full-day excursions.
Tour bus drivers
Excerpts from this week’s Travel Market Report guide