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Wednesday, April 5, 2017


This edition of Travel Tips is well named because it deals with that minefield known as tipping!

All you really need in Punta keys, towel tickets, and tip money.

First, know that just about anywhere you go, you will be expected to tip at some point. Some places more that others. While there are places that tipping is inappropriate...Japan comes to mind...most destinations will have someone that expects one.

For me, when in doubt, I leave something to let the person know I appreciate their service. I've yet to see someone return the money I've given them.

So who do you tip? The list can be daunting...waiters, housekeepers, pool boys, concierges, drivers, bartenders, and just about anybody that goes out of their way to make sure your vacation is special.

Some bills include the tip, or gratuity, automatically. Check your bill before you leave a double tip.

The way you tip can also make a difference. You should tip the maid who cleans up your room. I recommend daily so the tip can make a difference during your stay. If you leave the tip somewhere money might be left by mistake, like the top of the dresser, the maid will probably figure it is not a tip and leave it. The common place for a daily tip is to be left on top of the pillow on your bed. Money left there is known to be a tip. (Note: some travelers have let me know that they also leave maid tip money on the bathroom sink)

What about all-inclusive resorts where tipping is included in the price? This is a sticking point to some people, but I do leave or give a token tip for services. You will still get service if you don't but you will get better service if you do. Leave a dollar or two to the bartender, the person who gets your towels, the person checking out your sports equipment, etc.  

Not only will you get better service, but a lot of times you'll be making a noticeable difference to someone who does not make a lot of money.

Some will say tipping adds to an already expensive vacation. I say, if you can't afford to give a dollar or two here and there, you can't afford the vacation in the first place.

To get ready for tipping, I'll go to my bank just before leaving on a trip and take out $100-150 dollars in one dollar bills and another $50 or so in five dollar bills, just to have something to tip.

I'll also study up on my destination before going to see what the local tipping etiquette is. One good site is .

No matter how hard you prepare, you will come across someone who you don't know if you should tip or not. In this quandary, if they did something a little extra for us, I'll tip them a couple of dollars.

If someone does something completely exceptional for you, like our pool boy in the Dominican Republic who reserved a special spot by the pool for us everyday, I'll make sure to find them when we leave to give them a special, larger than normal tip.

What if you don't know what the proper amount to tip is locally? In the absence of information, tip as you would at home. 15 - 20% of the bill in a restaurant is normal here in the U.S., so that's what I'll do abroad. A dollar a bag, with a minumum of $5 for the person who takes our bags to the room is what I pay here, so that's what I'll pay there, and so on.

Tipping is a personal decision, don't let me tell you exactly how it should be done...this is just my personal policy but, as Steve Martin said in My Blue Heaven, "tip everybody!" Maybe not quite everybody but don't be stingy either.

Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved


  1. Counting my mom's tips as a child has planted a mandatory tipping clause in my brain. I always tip. This post has mentioned a few positions that I wouldn't have thought to tip, but I'll add them to my tipping lists!

  2. great tip on tipping! i, for one, is not too accustomed towards tipping, but when i went to India, everybody expected to be given a tip! well, i do give tips, especially to the deserving ones. thanks for posting the site on tipping so i can read up about a place before going there :)

  3. The daily tip for your housekeeper is smart. I do that too. TIPS = To Insure Proper Service.

  4. Some good advice Darryl. Thank you!

    One things I learned on our recent trip to Egypt is keep small bills on you at all time, especially if you want to use the toilet.


  5. These are great tips (pun intended!) I completely agree with you when you said, "If you can't afford to give a dollar or two here and there, you can't afford the vacation in the first place."

  6. Yes I also agree with you that your tips are very good..... Thanks

    Hotel Reservations

  7. One thing to remember though is that tipping is neither expected or required in many countries. Particularly many businesses in European countries frequently have a no-tipping policy.

  8. I check my bills in Europe to see if a tip is included. Some places, like sitting at the bar in an English pub, don't expect tips. I've yet to see anyone refuse a tip when I've traveled over there yet. I also recommend researching tipping customs in the country you're going to to see what the tipping etiquette is.