5 Rules Of Tipping While Traveling You May Be Messing Up

Photographed by Sunny Shokrae.
We’ve all been in that awkward situation of forgetting to tip the bellman at a hotel or simply not knowing how much to tip the concierge, or the guy who delivers your room service. Etiquette expert Tom Farley (aka @MisterManners) shares five tipping faux pas people make, and how to avoid them.

Forgetting The Housekeepers
Since they work behind the scenes, Farley says the housekeepers are often forgotten. "Yet," Farley points out, "they’re the ones who have to see things and clean things that you really wouldn’t want to see and clean. You may have a different housekeeper each day, so it’s best to leave a little something each day.”

Nixing A Tip For Bad Service
When you receive bad service and consider not leaving anything at all, Farley says to think again. Simply “not tipping isn’t the right reaction to bad service," says Farley, who believes it is your prerogative not to leave anything for poor service. But he reminds us, "Bad service will continue if it doesn’t get reported. Pull aside a manager and explain why you didn’t leave a tip so they can work with the staff member on better customer service.”

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Not Having Change
Farley thinks it's unacceptable to say you don't have change: “Saying you’ve only got a $20 is not an appropriate excuse for not tipping. Always bring lots of singles when you travel. Cash is king — do not tip by credit card. If you've forgotten your cash, returning the following day to present your tip is a nice save. No one is going to turn down your generosity because it’s 24 hours after the fact.”

Tipping On Room Service
Here's one you may be doing wrong. Since “room service bills are loaded with hidden fees, including gratuity, most staff members are told they shouldn’t accept a tip when delivering room service,” Farley explains. So if you've been tipping on that already exorbitant tab, stop now, and save your bills for housekeeping.

Not Playing It Cool
Farley explains how to tip: “Handing over a tip can be awkward. If you’ve been away for an extended period and want to reward a concierge, host, guide, or another staffer at the end of your stay, rather than foisting a fistful of singles, give a larger denomination bill that you’ve folded in half and then in half again. This allows for a no fuss, no muss exchange. Say thank you and make eye contact as you offer your tip, expressing how much you enjoyed your time.”

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