1. Include gratuities in your vacation budget.
As you estimate how much to save for your next trip, be sure you
figure in all of the tips you'll be expected to leave along the
way. "Preparing takes away those awkward moments of not being sure
who, when and how much to tip, so you can just enjoy your trip from
beginning to end," says
, national etiquette expert and owner of the Protocol School of
Our Travel Tipping Quiz
2. Tip the right people.
Certain service providers in the U.S. rely on tips for the majority
of their income. "Going against the grain and leaving less than
what is normally an accepted tip can really hurt that person," says
Peter Post, author of
Essential Manners for Men
(and great-grandson of Emily Post herself).
One service provider you'll certainly want to thank with a tip
is the hotel housekeeper. And because different people may be
cleaning up after you each day, you'll have to express your
monetary appreciation daily. Each morning before you go out for the
day, leave $2 to $5 with a thank-you note or in an envelope labeled
"housekeeping," so it's clear that the cash is meant for them.
Other people you might tip as you travel: the skycap, shuttle
driver, concierge and hotel valet. For more information on how much
and when to tip these folks and others (as well as who
to tip), see our
Travel Tipping Quiz
3. Stock up on small bills.
If you carry only tens and twenties, you run the risk of forking
over too much cash when it comes time to tip. "We end up
over-tipping sometimes because we don't have the right amount or
we're in a hurry," says Gottsman. "But if you're prepared, you
won't have to over-tip out of pressure, and you'll save money." So
be sure to fatten your wallet with a bunch of ones and fives before
you take off.
4. Avoid unnecessary services and accompanying
If your budget is tight and you need to skimp, you can skip some
services and "avoid tipping without being disrespectful," says
Gottsman. For example, you can handle your own luggage by packing
light with a no-fuss bag, such as a small roller-bag or backpack.
Doing so will help you politely dodge bag assistance from skycaps,
drivers and bellhops and free yourself from any obligation to tip
them. If you want a break from housekeeping gratuities, put the "do
not disturb" sign to work and only leave a couple of dollars on
5. Read the fine print.
Some hotels, especially high-end places, automatically include
gratuities for certain amenities, such as room service. Cruise
lines might also tack tips onto your bill. Standard procedure
aboard Carnival and Celebrity cruise lines, for example, is to
automatically add $11.50 per passenger per day to your onboard
account. (You can adjust that amount at the guest services desk.
The charge will be clearly labeled as a gratuity or service charge
on your bill.) At the onboard bars, your bills will include a 15%
tip. So before you're too unintentionally generous, check your
hotel's or cruise line's policies.
You might even find some places where tipping is forbidden. Many
all-inclusive resorts, such as Beaches and Sandals, already factor
gratuities into the package prices and discourage guests from
giving any additional cash to staff members. You might even get
employees in trouble if you insist on slipping them a tip. In such
cases, you can still do something special for a person who has
provided you with exceptional service. "Write a note to the
management on behalf of that employee extolling how well you were
treated," says Post. "You will do that employee a tremendous amount
of good by doing that." And it's free for you.
6. Tips can get lost in translation.
If you're traveling outside the U.S., avoid an international
incident by studying up on the host culture's tipping tendencies.
In Italy and much of Europe, for example, you should tip taxi
drivers the same way you would stateside -- about 15% of the fare.
But at restaurants across the Atlantic, our standard 15% to 20%
tips would seem extravagant. "People sometimes just leave the
change from their bill or up to 5%," says Post. In Japan, tipping
in any situation is not part of the culture and would be considered
awkward or even insulting. Instead, you can express appreciation
with your words or by bowing.
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