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August 29, 2012

To Tip Or Not To Tip – That is the Question

by AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing

It seems these days that everywhere you look more and more vendors are asking for tips or tipping is expected even for poor service. In a recent survey conducted by USA Today asking “has travel tipping gotten out of hand,” 80% of travelers said “yes, too many people expect something extra;” 17% said “no, hard-working people deserve tips;” and 4% said “I never or rarely tip.” Since tipping has become an over the top travel trend these days, it is hard to determine when it really is appropriate to tip or not. This quick reference guide to the most recent tipping trends should help you decide whether or not to tip while traveling abroad for business or leisure:

  • More and more restaurants have begun including a service charge on all checks, even for small parties most likely due to international travelers. Most times this is listed in the fine print so most parties are still paying an additional 10%-20% gratuity. Read the fine print to determine whether or not the restaurant you are eating at has this charge included in the cost or not.
  • Most hotel room service bills also include gratuity and delivery charge but the receipt still has an extra tip line included.
  • Tipping for food services is customarily done without the tax included but many people tip off of the total so this is up to you.
  • More and more cruise ships are automatically charging for gratuity on all bills instead of having the passenger hand in their tip envelopes at the end.
  • All-inclusive resorts should have the gratuity included as well – again look in the fine print to see if this is the case with a particular resort or not.
  • A tip of $1-$2 per day should be left for the housekeeping staff whenever you stay in a hotel.
  • A tip of $1 per bag should be given to the bellhop whenever you opt to have your bags delivered to the room.
  • Shuttle drivers should only be tipped if they help you load and unload your bags – generally $1-$2 should suffice.
  • Valet drivers should receive a $2-$5 tip depending on how quickly your car was returned.

Tipping is a practice that started off being for exceptional service and this day; more and more vendors in the service industry have had a taste and want more. Many believe that this increase in tips can only be stopped if travelers change their tipping behavior and if companies start paying their employees more. Could this be a potential solution? Only time will tell.

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