Tips for Tipping on a Family Vacation

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BellmanForget the American Express, don’t leave home without a stack of small bills for tipping. Everyone knows how much to tip when the bill comes for dinner, but somehow tipping the chamber maid at a nice hotel during the family vacation leaves even the savviest of travelers confused.

Bell hop: $1-3 per bag. Tip on the higher side if you have heavy bags or you get extra help getting you and your brood out of the car or taxi.

Housekeeping: $5 per night for a standard room, $10-$20 for a suite. Tip nightly as the staff can change. It’s always surprising that no one thinks twice about tipping a man who carries your bag upstairs but forgets to take care of the person who cleans the toilet. Hotel housekeeping is a thankless job, not having to make your own bed is a treat, say thanks with a few dollars.  

Concierge: A concierge can really make things happen on your vacation. They can get you in to a sold out show or a seat in the hottest restaurant in town. Their services are free, but a tip is de riguer for great service. $5-$20 is appropriate depending on the size of favor they did for you. No tip is necessary for directions.

Delivery to your room: Room service generally has a delivery fee added, no need to tip extra. If you request additional hangers, a toothbrush or a few more pillows, slip the delivery person $2-3.

House car: If you take advantage of the hotel’s house car (and you should) the ride is free, a tip is expected. $5 is on the cheap side, $10 is just fine, $20 will get you a ride home and access to the car whenever you want it.

Doorman: If the doorman hails you a taxi, always show your gratitude with a few dollars. No more than $5 no less than $2.

Don’t tip: The front desk person for a nicer room. It’s tacky and it won’t work. For bad service, room still dirty after housekeeping has been there? Call the front desk and don’t tip until you’re satisfied. Also, try not to ask for change, that’s just awkward. Always have small bills with you. If you don’t, just tip a little more and think of it as good karma.