A Traveler’s Guide to Tipping in a Changed World

In the early days of the pandemic, Americans were eager to tip frontline baristas and servers. But now tipping fatigue has set in, and with the proliferation of payment tablets that offer to tip on everything from sandwiches at grab-and-go counters to ultrasounds, consumers are often left wondering when and how to tip. I’m just confused as to what I should pay.

“This is the hottest topic in etiquette right now,” said Daniel Post Senning, co-author of “Emily Post Etiquette, Centennial Edition” and great-great-grandson of the etiquette icon. . Emily PostHe cites the pressure of inflation, the turmoil of the pandemic and the influx to travel out of anxiety. “Anxiety and public debate about chips is on the rise.”

Etiquette experts, academics, and travelers have found the following advice on when and how much to tip when traveling.

Tipping standards in restaurants vary widely around the world. In the United States, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, in its “Gratuity Guide,” suggests spending 15% or up to 20% of the total bill for special services.

“The minimum is 15%,” says the etiquette expert, Swann School of Protocol Located in Carlsbad, California. “Based on the level of service received, you can increase from there.”

Prior to the pandemic, the average tip in restaurants across the country had risen to 18%, but recently, as inflation has risen, the norm has shifted. dropped to 15%. “I don’t think consumers want to be stingy, but they’re on a tight budget, so they’re trying to make trade-off decisions,” she said.

Despite expert advice, consumers sometimes have no choice. In many American cities, tips are becoming more and more included in the bill, often well over 15% of him.Recent article Making rounds in New York claims a standard of 20-25%.

Recently, at a trendy cocktail bar in Los Angeles, an $18 drink turned out to be $24 when you add an 18 percent tip and an employee’s medical bills. The bartender said the tally includes a tip at this establishment as they serve many guests from foreign countries where tipping is not the norm.

according to Independent Restaurant Coalition, service charges benefit all employees, including cooks, dishwashers and waiters. “The service fee model ensures that employee compensation is fair, credible, and not dependent on diners’ experiences or biases,” said Erica Polmer, Executive Her Director of the Coalition.

Outside the US, tip amounts vary as shown. This tipping map. Tipping is often cheaper than in the US and is sometimes included in the service charge (see section below on tipping internationally).

Some tip requests should be declined, experts say.

For example, if you’re ordering a coffee or sandwich at a kiosk or counter and see a payment screen with a suggested tip amount, “Push that awkwardness away and don’t tip,” Swan said. rice field. “Employers are offering perks to their employees and trying to impose them on consumers to absorb.”

Succumbing to social pressure or scowl from an employee is, in Swan’s opinion, “succumbing to a level of entitlement that shouldn’t exist.”

With more people paying with credit cards than cash, it’s getting harder to show your appreciation via the tip jar, especially if you don’t carry cash. If you’ve paid in cash and left coins in the past, Senning recommended rounding up with a credit card and doing the same virtually.

Beyond restaurants, travel offers many opportunities to tip service providers such as taxi drivers, bellboys and attendants. Before leaving for the trip, Mr. Swann goes to the bank to get some cash. Especially $1 and $5 bills, which are nearly impossible to withdraw from an ATM.

Most experts agree that taxi and rideshare drivers are worth 15-20% of the fare, depending on the service and the cleanliness of the vehicle. (Ms. Swan once rode in a carpool full of dog hair and made the decision to seldom fall over.)

Airport skycaps and hotel bell clerks should take a few dollars per bag for their service, but for a chore like handling a golf or ski bag, it’s probably worth more. . Valet parking should get him $2 to $5 at drop off and pick up.

And if you only have denomination bills, it’s perfectly fine to ask for change, Swann added.

Etiquette experts say hotel guests should leave $2 to $5 a night with a housekeeper every morning. The American Hotel & Lodging Association recommends leaving between $1 and $5 per night each day, preferably in an envelope clearly marked for housekeeping.among them tipping guideUNITE HERE, a union that includes hotel employees, suggests a minimum of $5 a day or more for a suite.

Many travelers do not comply.

According to UNLV’s Dr. Belarmino, “Hotel housekeepers are among the lowest-tipped employees in the service industry.” The minimum wage is supplemented by tips, but a hotel housekeeper’s salary is not dependent on tips. However, it is polite to tip them. ”

But in an age of rare or optional room cleaning, which has become more common since the pandemic, the guidelines become more vague. If so, we recommend tipping about $5 at checkout,” said Dr. Bellarmino.

If housekeeping is available on demand, most experts recommend tipping each time the room is serviced. And you may want to consider increasing the quantity.

“If your hotel doesn’t have daily housekeeping, make sure to pay an extra tip on the day you receive service and at checkout. If a room hasn’t been serviced in days, it will be cleaned by housekeepers.” is dirtier and more difficult,” writes D. Taylor. , International President of UNITE HERE, by email.

Tipping customs vary from country to country.Some international trips are accompanied by a guide from a luxury tour company Abercrombie & Kent Use an orientation session to advise guests when to tip in unexpected places (such as an Egyptian bathroom) and offer travelers a small tip in local currency.

If you don’t have a guide to teach you, use guidebooks, the tourist office website, and trip advisor.

“We have to ask two things: Is it expected and mandated, as is done here in a lot of the service industry? What does a safety net look like?” said Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’spublishes travel guidebooks covering 48 countries, including advice on how to tip.

In countries like Mexico where wages are low, she advised tipping in restaurants as you would at home. Tipping is not so important in Europe, where waiters are well paid. Last summer, on her trip to London and Paris, she found a bill with a service charge included. It was often stated as “SC” for “service charge”.

“If you didn’t know, you might tip over it,” she said, recommending travelers scan their bills and ask if there’s anything unfamiliar.

In Italy, travelers sometimes find a nominal charge called “coperto” that includes bread and water on their bill.

“We’re from the days when you went to an inn and if you wanted a tablecloth and a plate, you were charged,” said Pam Mercer, owner of the California-based hotel. tuscany tourspecializes in small group trips in Italy and France.

“There are no hard and fast rules,” says Mercer when it comes to dining in restaurants in these countries. Her company encourages guests to tip her 5-10 percent directly to waiters at restaurants.

In cafés and taxis, round up and leave coins.

“France pays its employees a living wage, unlike the United States,” wrote Janice Wang, an American living in France and running a Facebook group for expatriates, in an email. “So service providers, hairdressers and taxi drivers don’t need tips to live. They appreciate them but don’t need them. And they never expect tips.” yeah.”

Guide services range from walking tour leaders to climbers navigating rock faces. Travelers may take half-day trips, two-week tours, and all services in between and beyond.

global tour company brave trip states on its website that “tipping is not obligatory, but is always appreciated,” but also points out that tipping is a big part of a guide’s income, especially in the US and Southeast Asia. For small group trips in the US for a few days, the company suggests tipping $7 to $10 a day.

tour company Finish glacier guide If you have a business in Seward, Alaska, be aware that 10-20% of travel costs for wilderness excursions are tips walk Led by a naturalist by the exit glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, this tour costs $59 per person, so about $6 to $12 per person.

CIE ToursWe offer group trips in Iceland, Ireland, Italy and the UK, which cost tour leaders and bus drivers approximately $7 to $10 per day, converted to local currency, depending on location. I recommend tipping.

but the platform ToursByLocalsis where locals set their own tour prices, discouraging tipping.

“Guides are entrepreneurs at heart, not employees, and the best tip a traveler can leave is to return to the site and leave a thoughtful review, helping guides grow their business.” recommended,” wrote Paul Melhus. By email Co-Founder and CEO of ToursByLocals.

Free tours make tip calculation difficult. Free tour on footoffers walking tours around the world, but avoids any guidance on tipping. website“You name the price.”

A rep from the company’s New York office wrote in an email that it ranges from “just a thank you to $100,” with an average of $10 to $20 per person.

On its website and e-mail communications, Free Chicago Walking Tour We are more transparent and recommend $10-$20 per person for a guided walk that generally lasts two hours. Jeff Mikos, who owns the company, estimates guides average about $10 per guest for groups of 30 or so, but usually closer to half that.

About a quarter of the group are “loyal, grateful and don’t tip. The average for the middle class is just under $10 per person,” Mikos said. “But he’s always the only one with $50.”

Elaine Glusac writes the Frugal Traveler column. Follow her on her Instagram: @eglusac.

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