tips... what are the customs?

Old Dec 28th, 2003, 08:04 AM
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tips... what are the customs?

Just a little "tip" question: during our "3 weeks US vacation next summer, we'll stay in several hotels. We know that the "tip" isn't included, but what to do when we eat or drink something in our hotel during our stay and say "put it on the bill"? What is the custom? Do we leave a tip on the table, or is it included when we check out? Sometimes the bill mentions "gatuity"... very confusing for someone who isn't used at this system.
martinewezel is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2003, 08:09 AM
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Ask your waiter if the gratuity is included. If it isn't, custom would be 18%-20% depending on the restaurant and service.

Bellman: $1-$2 per bag.
Maid: $2 per day.

Taxi: Under $5 fare, $1. Under $10 fare $2, etc.

This is just what I use as an outline.
Old Dec 28th, 2003, 08:19 AM
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Usually it is not as simple as "put it on the bill" - most of the time you actually get a slip to sign that often includes a space to indicate the tip. It is uncommon (although sometimes done) for tip or gratuity to be included unless it is a large group or other special circumstances.

There have been all sorts of discussions on this board about how much/when, etc. to tip - you could spend all your time between now and your summer trip reading them all! GoTravel gives some useful basic rules. It is not necessary to tip anyone at a self-service, fast food, place where you are not seated (such as McDonalds, donut shop), although some of these places will place out tip jars to entice you to leave money. At a bar, you need to tip for your drink, even though you may not get a written bill.
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Old Dec 28th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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In the southern US, people generally tip 15%, even in the better restaurants. Big spenders will tip more. You should always tip more than you usually do if the service is exceptional. And if the service sucks and the wait staff is rude, a penny will do just fine. If you leave nothing, he/she will only think you forgot.

Have plenty of dollar bills for cabs, valets, skycabs, etc. Coins are not appreciated -- and their demeanor will tell you as much.

When in doubt as to whether or not to tip, look around and see what others are doing. Hopefully they're in the know.

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Old Dec 28th, 2003, 08:38 AM
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If you are eating or drinking at your hotel, you can often charge it to your room, and if you prefer, you can add the tip to the total bill. Another practice is to pay the bill (or charge it to your room) and leave the tip in cash on the table. Restaurant servers are taxed on their tips, so we usually try to leave a cash tip, even if we charge a meal.

It's true, there are all kinds of guidelines to tipping and no end in sight to the number of service people who will try to get tips from customers. This includes bus drivers, tour guides, coffee counter employees, you name it.

Our practice is 15% for servers in suburbia, 20% for servers in the city, tip the bartender when you receive the drinks. We never tip the hotel maids and we never use a bellman, and we try to take public transportation instead of taxis. Shelling out tip after tip can get old pretty quickly, IMO.
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Old Dec 28th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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By chance you use room service, check the bill as hotels have in many cases begun to include an 18% to 20% gratuity. In that case, you need not add another tip.

Ryan is offline  
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