Today we have a great post about tipping while traveling by our guest writer James Ruhle. Tipping while traveling can be hard to figure out when you are off to a new place and James has written a lovely article to help us all have a better idea about how much and where to tip. Thanks James! – Crysta
Tips on Tipping – Tipping Etiquette While Traveling
Tipping can be a tricky subject to master. The rules vary widely from country to country and may not even be real rules at all, just guidelines. In most cases, workers in a service industry expect (or at least hope for) 15-20% of the total bill.
These days, knowing how much isn't even the real problem. Who carries cash anymore if they are in an area that widely accepts credit cards? If you do have cash, is it enough to cover a whole day's worth of eating out or going to a spa? What if your car breaks down?
Tipping while traveling can add a layer of complexity that many people choose to ignore by adopting a strict no-tip policy. While this might work for you- is it shorting the service people with whom you come into contact?
The Universal 15-20% Rule
In all tipping countries, a 15-20% tip is the standard. However, only in America is a “tip” expected (especially by wait staff, drivers, and spa professionals). American tips are more like service fees- without them, in many states, the wait staff would earn significantly below minimum wage.
In every other tipping country, tips are meant to signify that you received excellent service. Merely receiving adequate service may result in a lower tip or no tip if the service was poor. Tipping is not meant to get you better service– better service is supposed to get the staff a tip.
Service means real service, too. Being handed a drink over a counter? Not service. Lugging 50 pounds of luggage from your car to your room? Service.
No-Tip countries include China, Korea, and Japan.
You Don't Have to Tip
It's true. Not choosing to tip may be an offensive option but it is still an option. Tips automatically added must be paid, but if your service was bad enough, you could refuse. However, if you plan to eat out or hire a service, budget in an extra 15% for tips. It's the minimum safe number, and if you can't afford the tip, you may need to rethink your budget.
If you can't tip because the staff can only take cash but you don't carry any- there isn't much you can do about it other than start taking cash for tips if you intend to pay them. However, as the technology gets more and more accessible, expect to be able to tip in more places with your credit cards as time goes on. Even traditional service are starting to catch on: Lyft offers cashless tip service rather than Uber‘s policy of only accepting cash tips.
If you can't tip, most servers and other service personnel should understand. More and more businesses, especially restaurants, are choosing to refuse tips, too. A friendly and respectful attitude can go a long way.
You Don't Have to Tip in Cash – But You Should if You Can
Cash is the gold standard for tips. With credit cards, businesses and management are most likely to withhold, take out a processing fee, split the tips among the staff, or otherwise prevent your tip from going to whom it was intended. (Even though these practices may be bordering on illegal in some areas.)
Tipping Does Matter
Even if you are tipping at a place that already pays its staff well, even a small tip will be highly appreciated. To the staff (or any service provider), a tip of any size is a big way to say thank you. In a place where a tip isn't expected, the service staff tries hard to impress you and earn those tips. Leaving one proves that their efforts to make you happy have paid off.
BIO: James Ruhle is a savvy entrepreneur and online marketing wizard. He first found success at the age of 18 and is responsible for driving millions of dollars for his clients.