The Ultimate Guide On Who To Tip While Traveling
Avoid the Awkward Silences And Guilt-Filled Exits
Tipping on vacation is awkward. There’s no way around it. Every country has its own norms, and every hotel has a hundred employees who all seem worthy of a few extra bucks. But who do we actually need to tip? When should we do it? And how often should we be doing it? And of course, how much?
Fear no more, for Travel Off Path has you covered. Here’s the ultimate guide on who to tip while traveling.
From the Airport To The Hotel
Obviously, this depends on how you get to your hotel. If you’re finding your own way, tip yourself with a drink at the bar later. If not, follow these rules.
If you’ve got a shuttle organized by your hotel, definitely tip your driver. A lot of them rely heavily on tips. Depending on the country, anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 a person should suffice.
Don’t tip your taxi driver unless you really want to. They’re making money off of your fare at a decent rate. The tourist area rates are often brutally inflated, so don’t go out of your way for them.
In The Hotel
These guys can make your arrival and departure a breeze. Reward them as such. It doesn’t require anything crazy. A few bucks per bag is perfect. A family of four could tip $10-$15, especially if they carry the luggage a pretty long way or in rough weather. Many porters often set the mood for the entire stay with their attitude, so make sure they know they’ve done a good job.
Often unseen, this team helps make your room spotless when your return each day (at least, they usually do). They’re also some of the worst-paid workers in the sector, so a tip for them can go a long way.
It’s important to leave a small amount each day rather than one large tip at the end, as you may have multiple housekeepers in your room. It’s also a great idea to leave a slightly larger tip on your first day to help get a little bit of extra attention to your room.
Don’t go crazy. $5 a day is at the upper end of what is necessary, especially in countries with a lower cost of living. Make sure to leave it somewhere obvious, so it’s clear for them.
The Lobby Crew
In today’s internet-dominated world, the concierge has become a little less useful for many of us. But they are still around in most good hotels. They’re still capable of booking things, sniffing out a good reservation, and even bagging you a better room, but you might not use them so much. If you’re a hotel regular, the concierge should still be a useful person.
Tip them based on use. If they just throw you a direction or two, you’re fine. But if they spend half an hour working out your day, give them $5 or so.
Front Desk Staff
As helpful as they can be, the front desk doesn’t need to be tipped. Many of them are on a managerial path and are paid a yearly salary as opposed to hourly. The best thing you can do for them is to go online and namedrop them in a good review of your hotel.
This is where things get complicated. In the US, we tip almost every waiter or barman who serves us. This is mainly due to the way these workers are paid. In Europe and other areas of the world, bar and restaurant staff are paid a fair hourly wage, and tipping is not expected – in some cases, it can be taken as an insult.
As a rule of thumb, always tip your servers in the Americas. North, Central, And South America all expect a tip of some sort. In the States, Canada, and Colombia, for 15-20%. In other countries, you can swing a little lower, in the 10-15% range. Brazil, Costa Rica, and Chile all include a service or sit-down charge, so you don’t need to tip there.
Europeans are far less likely to take tips than anywhere else in the world. Most of the countries there receive good wages, and often, the waiters won’t receive the whole thing anyway. Some countries now actively list their service charge (the price is the same) to give the hint that tipping isn’t required.
In most of these places, you can leave a little extra if the service was exceptional. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. If you’re unsure about an individual country, just ask someone when you arrive.
Africa and the Middle-east
Tipping is widely expected in the Middle East. Even countries like Qatar and the UAE, which often include service charges, want an extra 15-20% on top of the bill. Many African countries also look for about 10-15% of the bill in tips.
Some Asian countries like China adamantly refuse tips, while others, like Japan, view it as something that needs to be hard-earned, above and beyond the good service that’s already expected. Some heavily touristy countries like Thailand are becoming more receptive to tipping after realizing the amount of money that can be made.