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Tipping Guide for the Frugal Traveler

tipping guide

To Tip or Not to Tip, That is the Question

By Gerrard Roberts


Traveling can expand your horizons and provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences. However, all this traveling can put you in the middle of some interesting situations in the service industry. Have you ever questioned how much you should tip when bar hopping? Do you feel obligated to tip when the service you received was poor? Some people call it frugal, but all these tips add up and knock the socks off the budget for your travel experience. Here are some tips that will keep your travel budget in check. 


Dining Out, Not Balling Out

Traveling with friends can be a good time. However, when it’s time for the bill, there can be an awkward moment of silence when the waiter asks, “will the check be together or separate?”. If someone at your table musters up the courage to say one check, do you still feel obligated to leave a tip? Well, you shouldn’t; you are entirely off the hook. If someone is bold enough to offer to pay the bill, they should also expect to pay the tip because it includes the fee for services rendered. If someone in your party has it like that, let them flaunt it

On the other end of the table, if everyone is going dutch, be prepared to dish out a tip of 15 percent to 20 percent of your total bill. It’s also important to be mindful of what you purchase on the menu regarding portion size. Shareables and appetizers are typically budget friendly and can fill you up just as much as entrees. Remember the budget you set for travel and let that guide you when and where you want to spend your money.


Don’t Let the Belvedere Play Tricks On You

Suppose you don’t have anyone around that wants to buy you a drink. Then, you’ll have to figure out the proper ratio to ensure your bartender doesn’t water down your libations. A good rule of thumb is to tip $1 for every beer you order and $2 for each cocktail or wine you order. This method will keep your mixologist happy and the party flowing if you double back to the same watering hole during your trip.


Driver Roll Up the Partition, Please

Whether in a taxi or splitting a ride-sharing service,  it’s essential to look out for the silent heroes who ensure we all get home safe after a lit brunch or a night out on the town. Typically your driver will have the technology to help you calculate your tip but on average, tipping them $4-$6 is fair. If traveling solo, you should plan your activities within proximity so you can walk to some destinations and save on ride-sharing service fees. 


Avoid The Heartbreak Hotel

How often have you left a tip for room service to find out automatic gratuity was already built in? Talk about being mad. Even though the IRS classifies automatic gratuity as a service charge and not a tip, it’s time to call a spade a spade. To save some frustration, before placing your room service request, ask the representative taking the order if automatic gratuity is included in your bill. 

When it comes to housekeeping, most establishments are offering optional replacement towels and cleaning services as a part of the pandemic protocol. If you notify staff and elect to opt into these services, you should tip $1-$5 daily

Have you ever noticed your valet driver staring at you too long as you pack up your car to go home? Well, that driver is more than likely waiting to receive a tip. In this digital age, most people don’t carry cash on them. Additionally, after counting up the racks you have spent on travel excursions, handing out more money is the last thing you may think of when heading home. To save yourself an intense stare-down, swing by the atm as you check into your hotel. Budget $10-$20, depending on the duration of your stay. 

Though we expect to get the best out of our experiences, lousy service can still be a part of the experience. Only some people will give a five-star performance; sometimes, you get stuck with a waiter in training or an unknowledgeable concierge. In these cases, you must take the Jaheim route and charge that to the game

What’s the least amount of money will tip for poor service?  What made the experience unpleasant, and did you feel guilty after tipping so low? Jump on Instagram or contact us and let us know!

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