Tipping etiquette can be confusing enough in one’s own country, let alone when you are traveling in places that have different customs. Here are some things to keep in mind about tipping when you are traveling.
When you are staying at a self service hotel there are less opportunities to tip. If for example you are wheeling your own baggage to your room then you do not need to tip someone to do it for you. Some hotels even discourage tipping because it can be awkward to figure out some hotels want their guests to be able to relax while they are on vacation. Do pay attention to what is being done for you and what isn’t to get a better feel for this.
Tipping at restaurants or bars is always customary in the United States but in certain countries it is not and is actually considered rude. Those are the types of things that you should research about your place of travel before you set off on your trip. At upscale hotels on the other hand, tipping is customary.
According to Gabe Eveland, the director of revenue management at the Park Hyatt Washington DC:
“There are guidelines in the industry where tipping has become an expectation. We tell our staff, tipping is a way of rewarding good service, and there’s no way to say what’s appropriate across the board. For our guests, we encourage tipping at their own discretion based on the service they receive, and how satisfied they are with that service.”
“Ultimately, the guideline is limited to the valet parker, shuttle driver, doorman, concierge and housekeeping. Those people are the ones providing a lot of services you take for granted, or you are doing on your own when you’re not in a hotel.”
He also suggests considering if you are “very messy” when you are thinking about how much to tip the staff who cleans your room. Also consider the size of the room, if you are staying in a suite for example there is simply more space to be cleaned when compared to a normal size room.
When it comes to the concierge, for general service tipping between $5 and $10 makes sense, but if they provide you with a lot of service throughout your stay you might want to double that. A lot of service would include giving you ideas, booking reservations for you within the hotel as well as outside of the hotel, etc.
Here are some general tipping guidelines.
Shuttle Driver: $1-2 per person, or $5 per party
Bellstaff: $1-5 per bag when escorted to your room
Concierge: $5-10 depending on how involved the service, or lump sum upon departure.
Housekeeping: $1-5 per night, left daily in the morning.
Delivery of Special Items: $2 for one item, $5 for more.
Room Service: A gratuity of 15-20% should be added if it is not already included in a room service charge on the bill.
Server in Restaurant: Tip 15% of total bill or 20% for exceptional service.