Tipping While Traveling: The Ultimate Etiquette Guide
By Paul McCoy, CIMA®, AIF®
Traveling to different cities and countries is an exciting opportunity to enjoy a vacation while also exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. However, when it comes to tipping, there are so many different norms across the world that it can be hard to know whether or not you are making a faux paus. We have got the ultimate tipping guide to help with this.
1. Tipping at Airports
Many times your rental car or shuttle drivers do more than just drive you, but they also help you with your bags and may even give you local recommendations. If this is the case, then you should tip the drivers at least $1 to $2 per bag. If there are airport skycaps that help you check your bags, you should double that tip. If you need assistance with a wheelchair, then you should tip that attendant up to $5 depending on how long they push you for.
2. Tipping on Cruises
Cruises generally require research from you or your travel agents, as they can differ many times. Find out what the tipping policy is before you go, and in general, cruise lines will charge you about $12 a day per person in gratuities. That money is split among the crew members whom you come in contact with almost every day, mainly your housekeeping and dining staff. This can vary depending on what time of cabin or suite you stay in.
If you’re spending time at the bar your tab will likely already include a 15 percent tip, but it’s never a bad idea to tip your tender a few extra dollars. Additionally, if you decide to treat yourself to a spa treatment while onboard, then it’s a good idea to tip them $15 to $20.
Shore excursions are another fun treat to indulge in while on cruises. These can be arranged by companies separate from the cruise line, but you should generally tip your guide $2 to $4 for half-a-day and double that for an entire day.
3. Tipping on Safaris
Safaris are an amazing opportunity to check out wildlife and scenery in a new place. Your guides are doing the best to make your experience fun and memorable. In general, you should tip your guide $10 a day and your tracker $5 per day once your safari trip comes to an end.
4. Tipping at Hotels
If you are arriving by taxi, then your driver should receive 15 to 20 percent for providing good service. If you decide to drive yourself and use a valet instead, tip your valet $2 to $5 when your car is retrieved. Bellhops typically receive $3 to $5 a bag, $3 for smaller bags like a gym or shopping bag and $5 for carry-ons and larger suitcases.
When you are tipping a concierge, a simple dinner reservation is worth $5 to $10. Your hotel maid should be tipped, and most experts suggest $2 to $5 a day or more for a larger room or a suite.1 And don’t forget about other service workers who may bring you an umbrella or towels at the pool, gift them $1 to $2 per item.
If you are staying at a high-end hotel or resort and have a butler service, the general rule of thumb is to tip 5 percent of your entire hotel bill. Just as you would tip your restaurant waiter or bartender while going out at home, be sure to tip a few dollars to those who deliver your room service order.
5. Tipping Adventure Guides
Did you go on an exceptional ATV tour or raft trip? How about having a ski instructor take you on a tour of the mountain especially if this is your first time to a large resort like Vail or Beaver Creek. Ski instructors can show you the ins and outs of the resort and at the same time give you a few pointers along the way to make your ski experience that much better. If this is the case, then think about tipping your guide $25 per day per person in your party.
6. Tour Bus Drivers
Tipping a tour bus driver isn’t always customary, however, tipping the driver a dollar or two when you get dropped off at your hotel or to the port is a nice gesture.
Tipping is often an essential part of traveling in order to fully enjoy your experience, as it creates a better environment for both you and the person helping you out. Keep these six tipping etiquettes in mind before you jet off to your next destination for a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.
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