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Tipping Can be a very puzzling issue for families on a

While we have all heard that if you’re satisfied with the service you receive in a restaurant, you should be leaving a 15% tip, on the pre-tax portion of your bill, for your waiter or waitress.

What about all of the other service industry personnel that you encounter while travelling with your family?

I know that I’ve heard everything from "Leave nothing because that’s their job" to "Give everyone along the way between 15 and 20%, depending on how happy you are with their service". You’ve probably also been told to give 10% if you’re unsatisfied, 15% if everything was OK, and 20% if the service was exemplary.

If you’re not satisfied, remember that you are not obligated to leave a tip; and, in the event that you’re really unhappy, perhaps where someone has been downright rude, then perhaps you should let the manager know. Management will probably appreciate your candor, providing that you were reasonable under the circumstances. It gives them a heads-up on any potential situation. If someone has gone out of their way to make your trip easier and happier, their efforts should be rewarded over and above their basic salary. Don’t forget, everyone likes to be appreciated, and a smile and a small gratuity can makes a person’s day; and, again perhaps a word to management telling of the individual’s exemplary service might be in order.

While there are no hard and fast rules with regard to the exact amounts to be tipped and to whom, the following can give you an idea of what might be considered appropriate. Again, go with your heart and instincts when deciding if a person deserves something more. In other words, how would you feel if you were in their shoes? Remember to carry extra change and small bills specifically for tipping while away on vacation. Here’s how to start:

  • To the taxi driver who takes you to the airport -- consider 15%, that is if he went out of his way to get you there quickly, safely and comfortably;

  • To the train, airport and hotel porters, and hotel bellman -- $1 per bag, $2 if the bag is especially heavy or awkward. If you don’t want to pay for this service by way of gratuity, then perhaps consider buying and using  luggage with wheels and/or pulling it yourself.

  • To the hotel concierge, who may or may not be the one who makes your stay in a specific city a memorable experience -- You may not have much to do with the hotel concierge at your place of accommodation, or you may owe much to his expertise. He may have gotten you a table at a much sought after restaurant for that special occasion, when you couldn’t. The amount you wish to tip that individual will naturally depend on what special services he may have delivered to you. You may also wish to tip for each individual service or at the end of your stay. A special tip given upon your arrival may also ensure that the concierge treats you exceptionally well.

  • To the doorman who hails your cab or shelters you from the rain by holding an umbrella over your head as you run for that cab -- $1 may be typical; but, if it’s rained a lot you may wish to show your appreciation by giving just a little bit more.

  • To the parking attendant, who retrieves your car whenever you want it -- $1 to $2;

  • To the cloakroom attendant -- again $1 to $2 is appropriate, where there is no set charge for checking your coat or baggage;
  • To the bartender, especially if this person has gone out of his/her way to mix you that perfect drink -- 5% is not unreasonable.

  • To the waiters/waitresses -- 15% is the norm, and 20% where the individual has given you extraordinary service;

  • To the waitstaff at a buffet -- 10%, but make sure that a service or gratuity charge hasn’t already been included in the bill;

  • To the tour guides and charter bus drivers -- you might consider $2 for a full day tour, and anywhere from $5 to $10 for a week long trip;

  • To the hairdresser -- 15%;

  • To the hotel maid -- This is a job many don’t envy and one that is often overlooked. A good maid works hard, remaining unseen, while providing a clean room for you and your family. Anywhere from $1 - $5 per night, depending on the size of the room, the number of people and realistically, how messy the room is left;

  • To the delivery person -- Anywhere from $1 to $5 would be construed as appropriate, depending of course on the size of the delivery, the distance and their timing.  Here again, go with what you feel:  If it's a loaded party sized pizza delivered 5 miles hot and fresh during rush hour you may consider giving a bit more than for a small pepperoni pizza delivered from the shop two doors down.  The same should be considered in tipping the guy who spent all day lugging your new furniture from room to room, assembling it and setting it up, always with a smile.  Of course, if you're unhappy with the service provided, don't feel obligated to give that person a tip.

  • To those that saw to your needs while on a cruise -- While there may or may not be a note left in your room outlining tipping suggestions, a rule of thumb is $3 per day for your cabin and dining room stewards and $1.50 for the bus boy. Generally, placing tips in an envelope to be given at the end of the cruise, rather than on a daily basis, is more convenient.

Depending on where in the world you are travelling, what is considered appropriate my differ. For example, in Singapore, as in many other southeast Asian destinations, tipping is a no-no. Many places now also add an automatic gratuity amount on to the bill. It is, therefore, important to check before leaving a tip; and, remember, tips are calculated on the pre-tax portion of the bill only.

These are guidelines only and are in general keeping with your first class accommodations only. While some families do encounter many of these personnel on a regular basis, many others do not. It is therefore important to at least have some ideas on hand as to what to give and what is appropriate. As you can see, travelling can become expensive and not just the actual costs and expenses: Tips and gratuities can add up. It is something to keep in mind. Have a great vacation!

By Stefanie Van Veghel

 

All Tips are offered as suggestions only

While we have tried to provide you with a list of suggestions to help parents when travelling with children to keep them safe, unfortunately, we can’t think of everything and it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children’s safety.

 

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