An Important Travel Tip

There is nothing more overwhelming to most people than tipping.  When you are traveling, you encounter more opportunities for this intimidating social construct than during your average day.  When you are outside of your comfort zone the questions grow exponentially- Who do you tip?  How much do you tip?  When is tipping appropriate? Is tipping even appropriate?  Every encounter with a service personnel becomes a potential landmine of uncertainty.

We want to set the record straight on gratuities.  First, I don’t care who you are, where you are or what is being done for you- tipping should be reserved for people who deliver a service that you not only find valuable but also for people who have done their job well.  Prepare for your travels, no matter where you are going, by carrying small bills reserved for gratuities.

Secondly, cultural norms and industry expectations vary widely depending upon where you are and what type of vacation you are taking.  It would be impossible to appropriately sum up every scenario here so, ask your travel advisor what the tipping expectations are before you go.  We work closely with our partners on the ground around the world.  As advisors, we know the expectations for tipping on a 5-star European custom tour are going to be very different from a Caribbean All Inclusive resort stay.  Discussing tipping guidelines and expectations can be done at any time during the planning process, but most clients find it appropriate to discuss when reviewing travel documents.  Many of our partners will proactively include helpful suggestions in your travel documents. If not, an advisor can make additional recommendations for you.

Finally, I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a situation where I really wanted to offer a cash tip but I wasn’t able to, whether it was lack of cash or opportunity.  It just wasn’t meant to be.  Instead of walking away with regret, there are other ways to recognize a job well done.  Get the name of the person who helped you.  There is a reason so many people in the service industry wear name tags.  A heartfelt thank you and a genuine smile go a long way in every culture, but beyond that, you can send a thank you to their employer.  Whether it is an email submitted on the hotel website, a post on the company’s social media site or a call to a supervisor, you can let the individual and their employer know that you appreciate the amazing job they are doing.  In many hotels, the recognition and compensation they will get for your compliments are going to far exceed the couple of dollars you might have otherwise given them.

Knowledge is power, so empower yourself with as much information on tipping expectations before your next adventure.  Prepare before you go.  Once you get there, do your best to acknowledge exceptional service when appropriate.  If you can’t, then think about other ways of saying thank you-  like Gracias and Merci!

June 2018 Compass

About Emily Dunn

I joined Aladdin in 2004 and my favorite destinations are Africa, Italy, anywhere in the Caribbean and Costa Rica. I love to travel with my family, have extensive international travel experience and am passionate about helping others explore the world. I have managed events all over the globe. Whether it is a high touch board meeting abroad or a large medical convention in the Caribbean, I bring passion for travel and industry knowledge to work for every single client.

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