Tipping While Traveling

   I don’t know about you but I really only use plastic and sometimes apps to pay for things.  I rarely use paper money which also means I rarely have that handy.   When it comes time to travel I realize shoot I need tip money!   I think this is a very important step to add to your packing list since if you are like me you might need to go to a bank or something to get some small bills.  I try to stash a few in my travel bags so even those times when it gets a little hectic before traveling and I forget to plan for tips I at least have something.  On my recent trip to Jamaica it wasn’t until we were at the hotel that I realized my stash was out of small bills.  Luckily I did have a larger bill and was able to pop down to the front desk and they were able to change it out for some smaller bills still in American dollars.  Planning for tips in other countries can be even trickier since you might need to make sure when you exchange money that you get smaller denominations.   Of course traveling to other countries brings up a whole other set of questions when it comes to tipping too so below are some of my tips for tipping.

#1 – Pre plan for as many tips as you can think of and have those small bills already set aside and have some extra for the times you might not have thought of.

#2 Exchange at least a little money before traveling.   If you are going somewhere that uses other currency it is best to exchange some at home so you have at least a small amount handy for the first few people you might need to tip when you arrive.

#3 If traveling to another country it is best to look up what the policy tends to be on tipping,   In some countries tipping is looked at as an insult.

#4 Check all of your bills.  While on vacation there might be times when an automatic tip has been added to your bill so be sure to double check your before leaving a tip.

Here is a quick list of people you should be thinking about tipping while traveling.  Of course this isn’t all of them and in some cases some of these people may not be allowed to accept tips.

1. Transportation related people. 
– Taxi/Uber/Lyft/ or car service drivers – suggested amount is 15 – 20%
– Shuttle driver that might either take you from an off airport parking lot to the airport or from the airport to your hotel – suggested a couple dollars maybe more if you have a lot of heavy bags they lifted for you.
– Skycaps – if you use them it is suggested that you give a couple dollars per bag.

2. Hotel 
– Bellhops – suggested a few dollars per bag
– Housekeeping – suggested a few dollars per day and you really should do tip each day in case different people work each day.
– Hotel Concierge – this one can be tricky and really depends on what they do for you. If they set up some simple dining reservations that would be a smaller tip than if they scored you tickets for a really hot event.
– Dining – as usual you would tip your server like any other restaurant you would eat at while home.  If you order room service a few dollars tips should be given to the person that delivers your food.

3. Cruises
Tipping on a cruise can vary based on the cruise line.  Most will now add a pre-paid gratuity that gets added to your bill automatically at the start of the cruise.  This will cover the main people taking care of you during the cruise such as your room attendant and servers at meals.
– Bartenders – many times your bar bill will have an added gratuity already on there or if you have a drink package a pre-paid gratuity was added to that package price so it is up to you if you want to add more.   If you have a really great bartender you might want to reward that.  Some people like to start out the cruise with an extra tip to the bartender in hopes that will get them better service throughout the cruise.
– Spa treatments – most times a gratuity will be auto added to your bill so check first but if you had a really wonderful experience you can always add more.
– Porters – at the end of the cruise you will have to collect your luggage and go through the terminal.  There will be porters available if you would prefer to have someone else transport you bags out of the terminal for you and just like bellhops should be tipped accordingly.
– Room service – most cruises offer 24 hour room service and while the food is usually included in your cruise price you should tip the delivery person a couple dollars.

4. Tours/Excursions
– Guide – if you take an tour or excursion with a guide you should tip them and you can base how much you give on how good of a guide they were and how long they were with you.
– Driver – if your excursion or tour involves a bus or some type of vehicle that got you safely to your tour and back you should leave a little tip.

Tipping should be looked at as a way of saying thank you to someone for doing something that made your travel a little better so don’t worry too much over who and how much and just do what feels right to you at that time.