Tipping, When, How and Whom?

Tipping, when should we tip, how much and to whom?

Tipping Culture

The first time I was aware there was such a thing as tipping was in the movies. American movies. In Australia tipping doesn’t exist as a culture or as a habit. Not saying no one tips here it’s just something that doesn’t come naturally. Australian workers get a reasonably good minimum wage so it’s not in our mindset to hand out more money than we should. If there are any tips they are voluntary and mostly for outstanding service.

I haven’t been to North America and haven’t experienced how they tip so I cannot comment, but I have tipped while on a cruise where it is based on the same system and kind of obligatory. Well, it’s actually called gratuities which are added to the cruise fare or your final bill at the end of your cruise. I have tipped staff separately on top of the imposed gratuities. Obviously being aware of their low wages I had a duty to supplement their income. Something that should be taken care of by the cruise companies instead of imposing gratuities, but then we would have to pay more for the same cruise. So we are in a bind. Most of these cruise ship workers are from economically disadvantaged countries, like the Philippines, Indonesia, and so on. Any extra money is a blessing. Their wages and tips are sent back home to their very much dependent families.

Is tipping accepted everywhere?

Don’t always assume you can tip. In some countries it’s considered condescending and offensive. Best to always check beforehand. Also know how much for each service, as they have a minimum expected. A good way to find out is by viewing a set of these infographics at Visual Capitalist. The original article with the same excellent graphics was published by Hawaiian Islands.

When is it a good idea to tip?

Obviously when one receives good service, but also when you want something done for you, perhaps a favour. That’s a good time to give in advance. I’ve done this a few times. On our honeymoon cruise I paid the maître d’hôtel in the restaurant for a good table. He gave us a table for two opposite his station where he could see we were getting the right service. Also we were assigned what I considered the best waiters. The service was superlative.

If you want good room service it’s always a good idea to tip the housemaids. They’ll make sure your beds have the crispiest linen and the bathrooms spotless. Bellboys (bellhops) and anyone else assisting with your luggage it’s customary to tip. Same in restaurants with waiters and perhaps even the cooks. Compliments with a tip go a long way. If you are a regular at the same hotel and restaurant this is a good idea. They’ll remember you (even by name) and give you the best attention. What about taxi and chauffeur services? With taxis sometimes I have rounded up a fare which I consider enough. So no real tip here. With chauffeured services I don’t usually do the same as their prices are already hefty and you only expect the best anyway. Of course no one is stopping you from tipping if you want.

Who should you tip?

Well…anyone giving you a service that makes your stay, dining and travels more enjoyable and pleasurable. Workers in hospitality, but of course you will need to draw the line somewhere so keep it simple and tip those that actually do the work and not anyone high up unless they actually make things better for you. As an example there’s no need to tip a hotel or duty manager if they give you a room upgrade. Giving compliments and good reviews should suffice especially when the establishment gives you the service and not a single person.

How much should you tip?

There’s no real limit or hard rules on how much you should tip. Probably a good starting point would be anywhere between 10% to 20% of the final bill. If there is no bill then it’s a discretionary choice, go by gut feeling or just be generous if you can of course. The infographics mentioned earlier are a good indicator on where to start or check out the table below on how much to tip restaurant staff, hotel staff and taxi drivers.

So when travelling always keep this in mind and carry some extra cash. Small bills will do. In countries where your currency goes a long way tip small and often. In others where the exchange rate is against you be more discretionary and selective but still tip. If you don’t carry any cash then you can only tap and go with your credit/debit cards and the money goes to the establishment and you won’t know where your money goes exactly. Remember this or else many will end up not receiving any tip that they deserve. Happy tipping.

1 Response

  1. Don Pousti says:

    Never have & never will.

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