You’ve booked your hotel on Priceline, saved a bundle by naming your own price and paying in advance, so you can check “hotel” off the list of things to budget for while you’re on vacation.
But wait! Did you remember to bring cash for tips?
I’m ashamed to admit that I have a horrible habit of using cash so infrequently that I am often without bills on hand needed for a tip. Unfortunately, my husband has the same bad habit, which leaves us to choose between scrambling for an ATM or stammering and blushing awkwardly throughout our trips.
Be ye not so rude!
Follow these helpful hints for tipping at a hotel.
3 Hotel Etiquette Tips For Tipping
1. Know who to tip.
Remember that tipping is always optional. It is, however, the courteous thing to do if someone has provided you with quality service. Many of the service staff at a hotel rely on tips from customers to supplement their wages, but that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to pay extra for a job that isn’t done right. Some of the hotel staff to consider tipping include:
- Shuttle driver – yes, it’s free. But if he was on time, courteous, and a safe driver, $1-2 per person is a sufficient thank you.
- Bellman – if someone is hauling your overstuffed luggage through the lobby and up to your room for you, $1-2 per bag can go towards their chiropractor fund.
- Housekeeping – are you a slob? Remember that someone is cleaning up after you every day. Depending on how well they clean up after you and how big of a mess you make, $1-5 per night may be appropriate. (Bed-making ninjas should be tipped well!)
- Delivery – did someone have to interrupt their morning routine to bring you a razor at 7:00am in the morning because you forgot to pack yours? Give them a couple bucks for their effort.
- Valet – remember when you opt for valet to consider the cost of a tip as well as the extra cost of being allowed to have your car stored in the valet lot. Most valet drivers expect $1-2 each time they take or retrieve your vehicle. If it takes them 20 minutes to get your car? Well, that’s not a service to me.
- Doorman – not all hotels have a doorman, but they’re fairly common in large cities. If you ask a doorman to hail you a cab in New York City, a tip is customary.
Be aware that attempting to tip the front desk clerk may be perceived as a bribe for special favors like a room upgrade rather than a polite thank you, which you may or may not be comfortable with.
2. Know How To Tip
Tip with cash and avoid having to ask for change. Only have ten and twenty dollar bills on hand? Get change ahead of time or skip the tip entirely and make it up later. Asking your valet to make change screams “you’re good, but you’re not that good”. Tipping is generally a discreet exchange that occurs after you’ve been helped. Leave your tip for the housekeeper on the nightstand each morning. Tip the valet after you’ve made the key swap and slip the bellman a few dollar bills as you’re saying goodbye and thank you. (Some people advocate tipping ahead of time to ensure good service, but that assumes that you and the staff member agree on what qualifies as a good tip and good service.)
3. Know how much to tip.
While this article includes a few general suggestions, tipping customs vary by region and country. These guidelines should suffice in most places in the U.S., but a little Internet research before you head overseas may save you some embarrassment (or money!)
That’s it! Tipping really shouldn’t be an extra stress on your vacation, but it does warrant a little thought to before you leave. When you’re making your list of things to have in your carry-on before you head to the airport, be sure to include $10-$20 in one dollar bills for tips.