Summer is here, which means “Vacation Time!” Many of us traveling for pleasure have high hopes to receive excellent service along the way. Our tipping habits can make the difference between good service and great service, but many times, we are confused about whom to tip, when to tip, and the appropriate amounts to tip.
The word “tip” is an acronym for “T
romptness.” Remember, the amount of the tip is always based upon the level of customer service.
Here are some tipping guidelines
: Porter or Skycap. Tip a minimum of two dollars per bag. Tip more if the bags are heavy. One to two dollars extra for curbside check-in is optional. You are not expected to tip flight attendants during the flight. Tip three to five dollars for wheelchair assistance, and if the person goes out of their way, tip more.
. Taxi, limo, or van driver—tip 15 percent of the total fare. Driver of courtesy shuttle—tip two dollars per traveler and more if the driver helps with bags. Valet or parking attendant—tip two to five dollars when the car is returned to you. Do not tip for dropping off the car, but always tip when picking it up for departure. Some car services include gratuity in the fee, so make sure the tip is not included beforehand.
Emergency Roadside Service
. Consider the level of danger and the difficulty of the repair. Tip an additional amount if it is roadside service versus in the safety of a parking lot. Towing service—tip five to twenty dollars depending upon circumstances and your desperation. Jump start—tip five to ten dollars. Tire change—tip five to ten dollars. Locked out of car—tip five to ten dollars.
: Doorman. Tip two dollars for hailing a cab, two to three dollars for help with your bags in or out of the car, and three to five dollars per bag for bringing bags to your room.
. If the bellman just carries the bags to the front desk and then disappears, save the tip for the person who carries the bags to your room. When the bellman delivers your bags to your room or from your room when you check out, tip three dollars per bag. Tip more for additional services.
. Tip five to ten dollars for help with hard-to-get dinner reservations or theater tickets. Tipping is optional for recommendations. Tipping the concierge should be done at the time of service.
. If gratuity is included on your check, no additional tip is required. If it is not included, add 15–20 percent to the total charge, depending on level of service. If you request extra pillows or an iron, tip a minimum of two dollars.
. Tip one to three dollars per day. Tip daily because there might be a different maid each day. Leave the tip on your pillow or in an envelope labeled “housekeeping.”
IT Support Staff
. Tip minimum of five dollars for computer setup and help.
. Maitre d’. Tip ten dollars for a special table, complicated reservations, or a large party. Coat check—tip two dollars per coat. Wine sommelier—tip 8 to 10 percent of wine bill. Bartender—tip one dollar per drink. Wait person—tip 15 to 20 percent of total bill (the busing staff receives a portion). Restroom attendant—tip one dollar.
Spas, Salons, Barbers, Manicures, or Facials
. Normally, tip 15 percent. Massage therapist—tip 15 percent. Salon or spa package—determine in advance whether a service charge is included. If none is included, then tip 10 to 20 percent, split among the service providers. You can ask for it to be divided, pay (and thank) each person at the time of service, or leave it in envelopes available at the front desk. Barber—tip 15 to 20 percent. Hair stylist—tip 15 to 20 percent. Shampoo—tip two to five dollars. Shoeshine—tip two to five dollars.
A salon question asked over and over is: “Should I tip the owner of a salon, or is it considered an insult?” Melissa Renee, owner of MK Salon in Dallas, erases this old adage—“It is simple: tipping is up to the client’s discretion. Tipping the stylist should always be based upon service, not tenure or ownership.”
. Find out in advance what the tipping policy is for the ship. If you are supposed to tip, ask if it is done at the end of the trip or at the time of service. Oftentimes, at the end of the cruise, passengers are provided envelopes with suggested tip amounts. If you are supposed to tip, budget at least twenty dollars per day for all of the service employees: waiter—five dollars per day per person; cabin steward—five dollars per day per person; bus boy—two dollars per day per person; maitre d’—not necessary unless special services provided; bar steward—usually, 15 percent is automatically added to bill; baggage handlers/porters—two dollars per bag.
. Check ahead to determine if the tip is included. If not, give 10 to 15 percent of the tour price.
Remember when traveling keep plenty of small bills available for tipping. Also remember tipping is an option and should be based on excellent service.
Joy Weaver is a nationally renowned speaker, etiquette expert, and author of “Just Ask Joy… How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations”—a book highly endorsed by Jean and Zig Ziglar. Joy represents designer Joseph Ribkoff and is a regular guest on ABC’s Good Morning Texas. She is nationally published and has been featured on ABC’s The View, in the Associated Press, New York Times, USA Today, Southern Living Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and The Dallas Business Journal. Protocol Enterprises/Just Ask Joy is based in Dallas and has served clients across the country since 2000. You can follow Joy at www.twitter.com/SociallySavvy or www.allthingsrefined.blogspot.com or learn more at www.justaskjoy.com.