TIPS (To Insure Prompt Service)

Among the many questions we get from travelers regards tips to those persons who provide service to us while they are on their trip.  Of course, a lot of what we tip depends on the type of service we experience, whether it is in a restaurant, in a taxi, at a hotel, or with a tour guide.

If we have someone who handles our luggage on the shuttle or taxi from the airport to the hotel, provided that service is with a cheerful, friendly attitude, then we will typically give them a dollar a bag…..the same for the person taking the bag to the room.

At a restaurant, just as you do when you go out at home, typically 15% or more if the service was really good.  The same would be true on most international trips.  Some countries do not expect tips, but those are becoming few and far between.  You have to be real careful too, both here in the U. S. and internationally because some properties are adding the gratuities to the bill so be aware of that before you tip way too much.

Have you cruised lately?  If so, you’ll notice that the cruise lines are automatically adding to your room account the gratuities for the week…..and they continue to go up, seems like annually.  Currently they average around $11.50 a day per person, but most of them are going up to $12.95 a day per person.  Those passengers in a suite will be hit for $15.95 a day per person.  Those funds go to those folks who service your room, your table waiter and assistant waiter, and those who wait tables at the buffet.  Of course they still have envelopes at the Purser’s Desk for you to use if you want to bless someone who has provided extra special service.

Back in the old days, when we stayed in a hotel, a gratuity was not expected by the person who serviced the room when you left.  Nowadays, most folks expect some kind of gratuity, but the problem is that the person who serviced your room yesterday might not be the same person today.  In those cases, it is best to leave the tip in an envelope in the name of the person with the front desk as you leave. We have one client who when he goes to an All-inclusive property in Mexico, he gives the concierge a $50 bill the day they arrive and meet and he doesn’t have to worry at all about attention while he is there. Again, you have to carefully examine your checkout receipt because some hotels are getting in the “cruise habit” of adding the gratuity to the room account, so you don’t want to tip twice.

These are just a few guidelines to tipping while you’re traveling.  I don’t mind the action, and we plan on it, especially if we have been treated like they are interested in servicing our needs.  Travel agents don’t expect tips, but we hope our agents at The Travel Factory serve our clients travel needs as if we were working for tips.  You can enjoy our service-with-a-smile at 4150 Southwest Drive, Ste. 120 at the Plaza at Park Central…or call at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040.  Discover more information at our website: www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com.