We all know how much to tip at a restaurant. But do you know who and how much to tip on family vacation? Mountain TravelingMom didn’t realize, until a few years ago when she went to work for a resort hotel, that she should be tipping housekeeping. Oooh, faux pas! Since then she’s consulted a few sources to come up with a comprehensive vacation tipping guide for vacation within the United States. Other countries have different tipping etiquette than the United States, so be sure to research your specific international destination.
A well-deserved tip can make all the difference for someone working minimum wage to support their family. And, a kind note to go along with it can make their day. From valet service and bellhop to housekeeping and shuttle drivers, here’s a handy tip chart to alleviate any confusion. This guide will help you decide how many bills to bring.
Family Vacation Tipping Guide
These workers lift heavy bags and help us get to our flights on time with less hassle. Don’t forget to tip them. $1-3 per bag is appropriate.
Plan to tip $1 to $5 depending on how many bags and how much trouble it saves you.
You know to tip the valet service. But do you know when to tip? American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) suggests tipping $1-5 when your car is delivered. They say that giving a tip when your car is parked is optional. We’d suggest that $1 is a bit low and that you should start at $2 or $3.
There is no need to tip the front desk unless they take on extra tasks for you. There are times that a front desk agent may double as a concierge. Or, they may retrieve packages for you. There is any number of additional tasks they may help you with and then you would want to tip.
This may be the one area of services most overlooked, yet most deserved. Housekeepers work extraordinarily hard. And, isn’t cleanliness the most important part of any vacation? So, how much should you tip housekeeping? The AHLA suggests $1-5 per night. However, if you aren’t tidy or are a large group you certainly want to err on the higher side. Or, if you are staying in a condo and they are helping to wash dishes or other services outside of their scope of work, you certainly will want to leave a larger tip. And, really, these are the people who will most appreciate it.
What else should you know about tipping maid service? Your housekeeper may change daily. So it is actually a good idea to tip daily, rather than at the end of your vacation.
Should you request items delivered to your room such as an extra blanket or toiletries, make sure to give that person $1-3 for their trouble.
On a cruise, this person is a room attendant. And, the cruise line will likely recommend an amount that they may add to your final bill. Mountain TravelingMom was grateful for their room attendant on their Disney Cruise. Keeping a small space tidy is a difficult task. And, the kids’ stuffed animals tucked into bed was an appreciated extra touch.
How much to tip the concierge really depends on the service provided. Start at $5 for a fairly basic service and go up from there for help landing hard-to-score reservations.
Generally, room service delivery should be tipped similarly as a restaurant at 15-20%. But many hotels and resorts will add a tip onto the bill. So, look at the bill before tipping. If it is included, consider adding a little extra.
Consider tipping $1-2 per person for a hotel courtesy shuttle driver. If the driver does something extra, consider giving more. They may make an extra stop for you.
Courtesy Car Driver
Some luxury hotels include free rides in their private house car as a part of your stay. This is a private ride and you should tip more. We suggest $5 to $10 per ride.
Taxi, Uber, Lyft or Private Shuttle
The recommendations differ greatly here from 10 – 20%. You may need to factor in the cost. If you’ve taken a $5 Uber ride, 20% may still be on the low side. Surge pricing has become more reasonable. But there is still a valid reason for surge pricing. A driver may have to spend a lot of time getting to a destination, and then getting out of there. When what should be a five-minute drive takes forty-five minutes, I certainly wouldn’t scrimp on a tip.
Have questions on how to use Lyft or Uber when traveling with kids? Check out advice from Frequent Flyer TravelingMom, Leslie Harvey.
Tour & Activity Providers
Recommendations for tour guides and activity providers vary. 10 to 20% is a safe guideline. If it is a group tour, or shorter in length you can probably tip on the lower end. But for private tours and day-long activities, you will want to tip on the higher end. The more personal the service the more you should tip.
More Tipping Guide Tips
Remember that. for someone working an hourly wage, a tip can make all the difference to them and their family. Include tips in your vacation budget. Bring cash with some in smaller bills so that you are prepared.
Increasing a tip is an excellent way to reward good service. Yet if someone goes above and beyond, a note to the manager or mention in a review could mean a lot to them too.
If you are receiving a discount, make sure to tip on the full price.
And finally, when traveling outside of America make sure to check guidelines for that specific country. It is possible to offend in a different culture with tips.