Tom Bastek | July 23, 2015 3:17 PM ET
A Few Tips on Tipping
When I was working as a restaurant manager on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, I once overheard this statement made by a guest, “If I don’t tip at all and I save my 20 percent five times, I can afford another meal.”
There are a myriad of things wrong with that school of thought, but I think there are so many misperceptions about who, how and when to tip that it is no wonder some people are upset about having to do it. So here are a few tips on how to leave a few tips the next time you are on vacation.
Who You Should Tip
The short answer is: everyone. I am sick of reading these articles about how, “this person makes a salary, so you don’t have to tip them,” or “they aren’t expecting it, so don’t waste your money,” or I love this one, “If there is no tip jar, you are in the clear.” Really?
There is a simple rule here: If you are being serviced by someone, that person should be tipped. And you should plan it into your expenses. No one ever does, but you should consider 20 percent on top of everything you spend should be for gratuities. I am not saying you need to spend that much, but plan for it.
This way you are never scrimping by saying, “I am never going to see the housekeeping staff ever again, so I am not going to worry about a dirty look on the way out the door for not tipping.” And it doesn’t matter if there isn’t a tip jar — give them the tip anyway.
Why You Should Tip
When you tip, you are saying “Please,” “May I” and “Thank you” with your money. You are showing that you are appreciative of a person doing their job, going out of their way, or even going one more step than that to make magic for you.
Whether you believe in Karma or not, if you tip, and you find yourself in a jam, the people who you have taken care of are going to feel a lot more motivated or even obligated to get you out of it. Think of it like this: Tipping makes fast friends.
When You Should Tip
Whoever tells you that “’tip’ means ‘To Insure Promptness’” may be wrong, but their heart is in the right place. If you are looking for something from someone who has yet to serve you, by all means, give them a little something to say, “I hope you will give this your utmost attention.”
An old flight attendant friend once told me that if you wanted to make sure you have a good flight, find a little box of chocolates to give to the crew as you board the plane. Let them know that you appreciate what they do and all of the nonsense they have to deal with. They will go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable for the rest of the flight.
Also, every time you go to the front desk of any hotel to check in, whether the room is prepaid or not, put a bill on the counter; at least $5 for the lower end hotels and up to $20 for the luxury side, especially if you have some sort of request. Even if you don’t require anything out of the ordinary, just leave the money with them and tell them that you understand all of the mayhem they have to deal with so let this help buy their first drink that night.
What You Should Tip
As in the example above, you don’t always have to tip cash, although cash will always be accepted. There are certain places you do not want to give a gift, such as at the bar. But if you have beers left in your cooler after the round of golf, you can give the guys at the cart barn $5 instead of $10 and throw the rest of the beer to them. Trust me – they will take it.
How Much You Should Tip
This is always the question that comes up, and there are tons of charts around the world telling us all what to give for this or that. Here are a few rules of thumb:
• Food and Beverage should be at least 20 percent. Don’t ever go below the auto gratuity printed on the menu for tables larger than six. This is normally 18 percent nowadays.
• If you are just drinking, whether you are running a tab or not, give them $1 a drink or 20 percent, whichever is higher.
• For anyone that deals with your car, luggage, reservations or room go $2-$5 per item/day/person/etc.
For everyone else, everyone appreciates a couple of bucks. You should never fold up just $1 and give it to someone.
When You Shouldn’t Tip (or The Rule of Threes)
The only time that it is acceptable not to tip is when the employee really can’t accept it. You should still offer it to them two more times after they originally say no. If they still say no at that point, you are good. If they waver even the slightest bit, it means you can shove it in their hand and they will take it. Just do it.
The title of this article is not, “How to get away with tipping as little as possible” for a reason. You should never go on vacation with that thought in your mind. There are plenty of ways to save money on a trip; withholding a tip is not one of them.
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Latest Travel News
Hotel & Resort
Destination & Tourism
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship
Features & Advice
Airlines & Airports
Destination & Tourism