Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of chatting with Nancy Giles on CBS Sunday Morning, on the topic of tipping. Nancy had some great questions for me and it was a lot of fun.Tipping is one of those topics that never gets old when making conversation with others at a party or event. I don’t personally bring the topic up, preferring to discuss the delicious roast beef, or my fellow guests’ summer travel plans, but try as I might, the subject never seems to be too far away.
With the promise of flip flops and sandy beaches in your future, don’t forget to factor tipping into your travel budget. Here are a few reminders:
Airport curbside check in: The convenience of checking in at the curb is worth a tip! Tip $5 for one bag, and $3 to $5 for each additional bag.
Taxi driver: A minimum of 10% (on the low side) to 15% is average. 20% and above for a driver that assists you with your heavy luggage and doesn’t scare the daylights out of you taking tight corners and weaving in and out of traffic en route to the hotel.
Limo/town car driver: Some car companies include gratuity into their bill, however, if you receive good service and want to leave a favorable impression for the return flight home, feel free to leave an additional tip. If gratuity is not included, tip 15% – 20% of fare.
Restaurant servers: A minimum of 15% to 18% is standard, and 20% upwards for exceptional service.
Buffet servers: Attendants who walk around and fill your water glass, retrieve an additional roll, utensil or clear your dishes should be accommodated with a tip, $1 to $2 dollars per diner.
Hotel doorman: No tip required for a smile and assistance with the door. If he hails a cab, a minimum of $2 to $5 for help with umbrella, bags, etc.
Hotel bellman: Generally, $1 to $2 per bag, but if you only have one or two bags, make it worth the bellman’s trip and give the him $5.
Hotel room service: Check the bill first to see if gratuity has already been added. If it has not been included, tip 15% to 20% of the bill. It is not necessary to leave an additional tip for tray pick-up.
Hotel concierge: For quick directions to the nearest coffee shop, no tip is required. For general theatre tickets, or dinner reservations, tip $5 to $10, and $20 upwards for difficult to get tickets, reservations or special services.
Bartender: If running a tab, tip 15% to 20% of the bill, or $1 to $2 dollars per drink. Dropping loose change in a jar when it amounts to a few cents is not acceptable patron manners.
Restroom attendant: Some people may have never seen a person assisting in the restroom until they travel to larger cities and may be confused as to what to do or say. Greet the attendant with a smile and a cheerful “hello” and leave $1 to $2, depending on the service provided. (fresh towel, clean sink, hair spray, mouthwash, etc.)
Spa manicurist, esthetician, massage therapist: Check the tipping policy, as some spas do not allow gratuity, or it may already be included in the bill. If not, tip 15% to 20% of service.
Pet groomer/pet boarder: To clean and shine your favorite pooch before dropping off at your mother in law’s home, tip anywhere from 10% to 20% of the service, depending on the relationship you have with your groomer. Generally, a kennel employee does not expect a tip at the end of your pet’s stay. However, if they have kept your pooch happy, safe and well cared for, a souvenir or nice bottle of wine may be in order.
5 Tipping Don’ts:
- Don’t ask the bellman for change. Arrive to the hotel prepared with sufficient bills, or ask the front desk for change when you check in.
- Don’t say, “I’ll get you later.” Be ready to tip when the service is provided.
- Don’t forget the valet . Taking your car, and bringing it back are not “free”. Tip the valet $2 to $5 for special services.
- Don’t tip the housekeeper at the end of the stay. Tip daily as employees change from one day to another, $3 to $5 per day. A good rule of thumb is $1 per person staying in the room.
- Don’t leave a tip on the pillow. Think ahead and bring along a several small white envelopes or ask the front desk if they have tip envelopes, print “For Housekeeping – Thank You”. Enclose a daily tip, and leave it on the desk or counter. Yes, this requires some prior thought and planning, but you can do it.
By now you may be thinking you can’t afford to leave your house this season, but a little budget planning will afford you to look and feel like a travel pro. Have fun and don’t forget to bring plenty of bills!