Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tips on Tipping - Add these items to your Travel expense list!

When you take a family vacation what's usually a major factor in where you stay, what you do and how long you're there?  For most of us, that's COST!  "Where can I get the best deals and save the most money?" is what many people consider when booking.  One extra cost that can add up quickly that many of us don't think about is TIPS!

Earlier this year we stayed in a nice hotel with a fancy (aka Expensive) restaurant inside and we found it was our most convenient place for meals in the morning before rushing out and at the end of the day after touring the City of Washington D.C.  The hotel had given us a half off coupon during our stay for the restaurant.  We kept our receipts so we could be sure our room was charged correctly, and it was.  But one thing I noticed as I double checked the charges was how much money we spent on Tips, just on food!

At the risk of sounding like a modern day Scrooge, I will tell you I'm not a fan of tipping and one must go above and beyond the call of duty to get a few extra bucks from this girl!  I have worked my share of serving jobs as a teen and appreciated receiving tips, but I believe tips are earned and I'm definitely not giving my Barista a $2 tip for my $4 cup of coffee, sorry!

Now that I have that cleared up, I wanted to remind you of a few TIPS you may be dishing out (if you chose to do so) during your vacation and if money is your priority for planning, be sure to include these items!

CRUISING:   Gone are the days on a cruise where you would hand your waiter, room steward and other attendants an envelope at the end of the cruise with your desired tips.  Now days tips are automatically applied to your shipboard account and charged at the end of the cruise.  Unless you request otherwise at the pursers desk to have it removed or changed.  A typical gratuity applied by the cruise lines is about $10 per day per person, including children in your cabin.  They divide accordingly to their staff.  With Free-style cruising this is a good way to tip, since you don't have the same waiter and staff each night.  Don't be afraid to lower the tip as you deem necessary, they don't ask questions just change as requested.  Or if you feel someone has done an outstanding job for you on the cruise, hand them a personal tip directly to assure it gets to the right person.
You'll also have your baggage handler at the cruise terminal try their hardest to get a tip from you, and as stated this is always optional.  They do not hand carry your bags all the way to your cabin, but take them to the luggage stations for handling onto the ship.

HOTEL:  At a hotel stay you may find your room maid to be outstanding or sadly disappointing.  This may not be someone you normally tip, but given the right situation you might want to.  Of course a valet parking attendant or baggage handler may also lend a hand while reaching out a hand for a couple dollars.

RESTAURANT:  Of course this is the typical place most tipping goes on.  Whether you sit at the bar for a quick drink or order a full course meal for the family, be ready to add this cost to your trip if you prefer to tip the waiters.  Also remember if your traveling with a party of 8 or more and eat out, you may subjected to an Automatic 15% or more tip on your bill.  If service is less than tip worthy, don't be afraid to speak with the manage to remove or change the amount of this automatic tip, it can be done.

TOURS: While traveling many of us enjoy booking a excursion to highlight our destination.  Don't be surprised when your tour guide reminds you of the wonderful day you've had and how your money helps him survive day to day.  If the tour was amazing and informative, I don't mind giving a couple dollars. I figure if there are at least 30 people on my tour, plus the several other tours they do in a day, my $2 is sufficient. I did already pay to be on the tour in the first place.

What are your thoughts on Tipping?
Do you believe it's necessary or something that is automatic? ShareThis

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