Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group
A question that often comes up before we set off to distant lands is, "How much do I tip?" How to navigate the tricky waters of tipping and what defines good service:
Etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau, founder of etiquettejulie.com, tells us tipping basically comes down to culture. Every country has its own rules. In Italy, service may be included in the bill, but you are still expected to leave a little extra, say 10%. Meanwhile tipping isn't customary in Australia. It can even be seen as insulting in some other cultures. So it's best to get informed before you leave home.
Here are some of our expert's pointers for holidays in North America and down south.
How much and who?
- Reception staff and owners of a bed and breakfast: no tip but a memento before you leave will show you appreciated the stay.
- Cab drivers: 10-15% of the fare - in some cases baggage fees are added to the fare.
- Server and barman: 15-20% before taxes and coupons.
- Concierge: no set rule - $10 to find hard-to-get event tickets and a minimum of $5 at the end of your stay if you benefitted from his help.
- Porters and bellhops: $1 to $2 per bag, depending on the weight and ease of handling. At the hotel, $1 to $2 if one hails you a cab or offers you umbrella, and $5 if he suggests restaurants or activities.
- Parking valet: $2 and a little extra for quick service.
- Housekeeping: $2 to $5 per day or more, depending on the situation.
Introduce yourself to the people who will be taking care of you: maid, servers, etc. If you show respect for them, they will do the same for you. Don't wait until the end of your stay to tip them because you could miss their shift.
As an added touch, thank them in their language.
US$10 to $15 per person per day is automatically added to your booking and then redistributed among staff for basic services. If you use other services, such as room service, it's customary to tip your server directly. For more information, check with your travel agent.
When it comes to tipping, we immediately think 'how much'. But keep in mind tipping denotes our level of satisfaction and appreciation during a human interaction.
"If you take the first step, make eye contact, smile and learn a few basic words to communicate with service staff, they may appreciate the tip even more, knowing it's heartfelt. The way you interact with them will no doubt influence the quality of service you receive," says Mrs. Blais Comeau.
"Remember, people who provide these services help us create memories. When you get home, you will talk about people you met and the service you received," she concludes.
And how about you, do you have other tips on tipping?
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