Tipping in the US can be overwhelming for Aussies. We know it’s customary to give a little something to hotel staff, but how much is enough? Should you tip the bellhop as much as the housekeeper, and what about the concierge? Does staying at an all-inclusive resort mean you’re off the hook?
These are good questions, but luckily it’s not as complicated as we can make it out to be. As long as you’re giving something, you’re probably good. But here are a few guidelines.
In the US, $US1-$US5 per bag to the porter is standard, depending on your bag, as is $US1-$US5 ($7) per day for the housekeeper (others recommend $US3 to $US5 per day) and $US5 to $US10 for the concierge, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
One tip on tipping: It’s better to leave a small tip every day for housekeepers because a different person may be assigned your room each day, “so leaving one large sum in the room or with the desk at the end of your stay will create more confusion than good,” notes Elle Decor. “If you miss a day, ask the front desk the next day to pass it along to the housekeeping director or staff manager to give to the correct housekeeper.”
Outside the US
Condé Nast Traveller has a good guide that breaks down standard tipping amounts by country as well as advice on tipping etiquette. For example, if you’re travelling to Morocco, try to be discrete when handing over a tip.
There’s one other tipping scenario that can get a bit complicated, and that’s when you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort.
In many cases, the tip will also be included — it’s in the name, after all. But you can check on the resort’s website to see if they include gratuity in the price. “The rate you see online should clearly state if there’s a daily service charge,” writes The Points Guy. “If not, confirm with the resort directly before booking.”
If it doesn’t, then you can use the standard $US1 ($1) or so per bag, and $US5 ($7) per day for the housekeeper.
If you’re taking a guided tour, chances are tips are not included in the price. Check out the tipping policies in the country you are visiting, and be sure to tip your guide, somewhere around $5 day, advises TPG (usually you can find the preferred tipping amount in your tour guide’s paperwork).
TPG reports that gratuity for major cruise lines is now typically included in your bill. You can change it, but most people leave them alone. “It can be something of a hassle to visit the purser’s desk — especially if there’s a long line — to make the changes,” writes TPG. “And you are welcome to give a little extra cash to your favourite waiter or bartender at the end of the cruise, but it’s not necessary.”
As always, if you want better service pretty much anywhere—save some all-inclusives, where workers can get in trouble for accepting tips, and some countries—then tipping a bit more is always a good idea. Do so at the beginning of your stay for good service throughout.