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Tipping Guidelines – Are you informed?

By sheena on February 24, 2015
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Thank you

Thank you for your service

Taxi drivers, porters, housekeeping, room service, bar tenders, wait staff, tour guides…what would your vacation be like without them?  Most of us go away to avoid doing many of the services they provide.  Isn’t it nice to return to a cleaned up room with fresh towels, a drink ready before you ask or a meal brought to your table and cleaned up after?  The service industry is made up of hard working people who help make your vacation happen.  Giving thanks with a verbal ‘Thank You’ and a tip is a great way to show your appreciation.

Here is a list of suggested tipping etiquette:

Tipping in Airports

  • Taxi drivers: 10% to 15% of the bill.
  • Car service: 20% of the bill. In some cases, the tip is included. If you’re not sure, ask.
  • Shuttle drivers: $1 per bag.
  • Skycaps/Curbside check-in: $1 to $2 per bag.

Tipping in Hotels

  • Doorman: $1 to $2 per bag for moving your bags from the car to the bell cart. Tip $1 to $2 dollars for hailing a taxi for you.
  • Bellman: $1 to $2 per bag and $1 to $2 for every delivery to your room.
  • Concierge: no need to tip for answering quick questions.  But $2 for printed directions, $10 or more for special services such as securing you a hard-to-get reservation to a popular restaurant.
  • Housekeeper: Tip $2 to $3 per night; add an additional $1 to $2 for special requests.
  • Room service: 15% to 18% of the bill before taxes. Tipping is optional if a service charge is included in the bill.
  • Valet: $2 to $5 each time an attendant retrieves your car.
  • Spa service: 15% to 20% of the bill.

Tipping in Restaurants

  • Coatroom attendant: $1 to $2 per item.
  • Maitre d’: $10 to $100 depending on the restaurant, occasion and level of service you expect. Present the tip before you sit down at your table.
  • Wine sommelier: Gratuity is optional but recommended for extremely attentive or helpful sommeliers. A tip of 5% to 10% of the wine charge is appropriate.
  • Restroom attendant: .50 cents to $1 for handing you a towel or if you use any products displayed on the sink countertop.

Tipping Tour Guides

  • Taking a quick city tour to learn more about your destination? A great idea! Make sure to thank your guide. About $3.00 to $5.00 per person (no need to include babies and toddlers) is a good average.
  • If you are taking a longer or more specialized tour then tip what you feel is fair for your guides time and knowledge shared.

Tipping on a Cruise

When on a cruise, tip according to your comfort level and only on the last evening of your cruise. As a general rule:

  • Dining room waiters receive $3.50 per person/per day
  • Dining room assistant waiter should receive $2.00 per person/per day
  • The dining room maitre’d $3.50 per person/per day
  • Dining room manager $1.50 per person/per day.
  • The room steward, for all his or her efforts, receives $3.50 per person/per day
  • Other personnel, such as bar waiters, bellboys and deck stewards may be tipped as service is rendered

Cruise lines have made it easy to tip by automatically adding it to your booking so you can prepay it or by adding it to your shipboard account to be paid amongst any other ship purchases.  They can be removed, reduced or increased all you have to do is ask at the pursers desk.

Tipping at a Resort

This can be a touchy subject.  When you go to an All Inclusive resort tips are not required.  If you are travelling to a Sandals or Beaches resort, tips are included in the cost of your stay and people working at the resort will not accept them (I know, I’ve tried and they graciously declined).  Most other resorts don’t ‘include’ tips and in many places tips are expected.  Here is a list of suggested tips:

  • $1-2 – Baggage handler at airport (should you choose to make use of their services to get your luggage and take you to your transfer – same on departure)
  • $5 – transport driver (drop off and return)
  • $2 – porter at resort
  • $2-$3 – buffet dining
  • $5 – a la carte dining
  • $3-$5 – daily for housekeeper
  • $2-$5 – daily for fridge restocking (not always same person as housekeeper)
  • $1-$2 – every second round of drinks (some people choose to tip a larger lump sum after being at bar/beach/pool for any given period of time in a day/evening)
  • $5-$10 – spa treatments

Tips are a personal decision.  I simply put myself in the service providers shoes and offer what I feel is fair.  Include a budget for tips in your planning and you’ll be ready to offer both verbal and non verbal ‘thanks’ to your hard working service providers.

If you are travelling outside North America, tipping etiquette will be different.  Call me to help with your travel plans and I will advise you on what to budget.  519-541-9431 or sheena@jetsetfamilies.com

With love,


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