On Tipping Room Service

We all that we need to tip many people in the service industries. We tip our waiters after dinner, we tip the valet, the bellhop, the taxi (or “rideshare” such as Uber or Lift) drivers. Often forgotten (or neglected) is tipping room service.

tipping room service

Location, location, location

Different places have different expectations on tipping. In Europe, tipping is less important (but still greatly appreciated). In the United States and Canada, tipping is more ingrained into the culture. Latin America and the Caribbean is somewhere in between. Even then, the tier level of the hotel should also be considered.

Europe

There are naysayers who are very loud about not tipping in Europe. They claim it is culturally insensitive. They are making a large exaggeration though. Agreed, the American norm of 15-20% at a restaurant is too high, but a little tip is still appreciated. Something small, like 5%. Or a Euro or two per person on top of the bill. For room service, a good practice is to leave a Euro or two per day at the end of your trip. Rick Steves breaks down European tipping well.

United States and Canada

Here, tipping is much more ingrained. To the point where most places (in the US) have minimum wages for servers below minimum wage. In restaurants, 15-20% of the bill is expected. But what about tipping room service? That depends on hotel type.

Resort or 5-star hotels

Hotels that offer the epitome of luxury, such as resorts or 5-star hotels, you should most definitely tip. Often, tips for room service is already a part of the bill. Double check with the front desk. If it is already a part of the bill, then $1-2 per person for in-hotel meals and a $1-2 per day for housekeeping is best practice. If tipping is not a part of your bill, then 15-20% of your meal should go to the server who brought it to your room, and $5-10 per night should go to housekeeping.

When should you tip housekeeping? Either daily, when they clean your room so that day’s keeper gets the tip, or on the last day as you check out. Here at Rasmussen Travels, we encourage social responsibility, so decrease the times your room needs to be clean. This decreases water waste especially. For us, that means we tip at the end of our trips.

$1-2 per bag is a decent tip for the bellhop. $1-2 for the door man when he hails your cab, or helps unload your bag. ~$5 to the valet, especially on pick up, but maybe also $1-2 on drop off as well. More on drop off if they help you unload your bags. $5 for the concierge, or more if your request is more difficult and demanding.

Other hotels

More often than not, the hotels here do not have all the full services found like the luxury hotels do. And they do often do not include tips for these services. Again, it is best to ask the front desk. While this will save on who to tip, the amount of your tip should not decrease. Tipping room service in the specific field should follow the same guidelines as resorts.

hotel bed

Conclusion

Tipping room service is simply the best practice you should do whenever you travel and need a hotel, regardless of destination and level of luxury. Tipping keeps everyone happy, and (hopefully) well waged. It follows our advice of being socially responsible. From only $1 up to $5 or more, and you can make a memorable vacation a great memory for all involved, and makes you more welcome if you ever come back and stay at the same hotel.

How to Travel with Social Responsibility

How to Travel with Social Responsibility

As the tourism and travel industry grows, so to is our responsibility towards our fellow humans whom we meet while we are far from home. Even if we simply go to a luxurious beach side resort with no need to leave it to visit the surrounding community, our visiting a destination makes an impact. Here at Rasmussen Travels, we take great care in achieving towards a better place when we leave than when we arrive, if only in a small way. Through Rasmussen Cares, Social Responsibly is one of our core values. Therefore, it is our responsibility to make that impact a positive one and to leave a sustainable footprint behind us.

Research

You really should research into where you are going. Get to know it. Know the local customs, brush up on basic phrases in the local language, understand the culture, etc.

Best practices for this? Find a travel guide for the destination, such as at a library, your local travel agent, or Random Wanders. Be sure to be familiar with acceptable attire, greetings, and other cultural variances. This can be done alongside meal planning, tourist locations, etc, or getting ready for your Bon Voyage with Rasmussen Travels, who does that planning for you.

Balinese street on the West of island. Bali. Indonesia.

Practice Sustainability

These are things we try to do when planning a tour, and something you can do when you travel as well:

  • Stay in locally owned and operated hotels. – This is also a benefit to having a small tour like Rasmussen Travels, but they are still hard to find. This helps maintain jobs in the locality, and the capital, being locally owned, stays in the locality as opposed to going off to Denham, UK (if owned by the InterContinental Hotel Group), Bethesda, MD (if owned by Marriott), etc. This helps to keep their local economy going, and helps to grow their standard of living.
  • Use reusable items and reduce water and energy consumption. – This is something you can also practice at home. Drink water out of a reusable bottle, do not throw out your towel after one use, ask if you can have your drinks served in your reusable cups (if they primarily serve disposable cups, like in coffee shops), and bring a reusable shopping bad.
  • Contribute to the local economy. – When travelling, you are going to want to get souvenirs. Try to get them from shops that are locally owned. Buy art made by local artists. Eat at local restaurants. Drink at local cafés and bars.
  • Donate wisely. – Avoid giving money directly to children or others. Instead, reach out to local non-profits such as local food pantries, churches, outreach programs, etc.
  • Respect the wildlife. – If you are in nature reserves, national parks, or the like, stay on the designated tours. Also, do not buy souvenirs made with parts from endangered plants and/or animals.

Rasmussen Travels tries to uphold its social responsibility by using its profits to give to invest in its trip destinations and in the local community we call home, and we encourage you to do the same.

Road trip! and tips

When travelling as a group within the United States and Canada, it is substantially cheaper to drive to your destination instead of fly. Actually, I rather enjoy the drive. Since you lose a day or two of vacation after spending most of those hours in security check points, waiting at the terminal, etc. You might as well spend the time seeing the landscape, meeting the small town locals, and enjoying local cuisine along the way. As the Emerson stated, it is not the destination, it is the journey.

However, driving long periods of time increases your chances of driver fatigue, especially when driving at night. Driving fatigued is no funny business. Approximately 72,000 crashes, including approximately 800 deaths are to driving fatigued. The DOT tries to combat this by imposing regulations on commercial driving. Passenger drivers must have an 8 consecutive hour rest after driving no more than 10 hours.

Of course, being a group of friends or a family means the regulations do not apply to you, but it is a good regulation to live by. After all, nothing will derail the vacation completely than an accident due to driver fatigue. Here I have a few tips:

Having a “co-pilot” on any drive more than 2 hours is essential. This co-pilot should also stay awake with the driver, and help ensure the driver does not fall asleep.

  • For any trip more than 6 hours, split the driving time with the co-pilot. Also, stay awake when you are in the role as co-pilot
  • For any trip more than 12 hours, get a room about half way. Grab dinner there, and go to sleep, and continue your journey the next morning.
  • Coffee is your friend. Good coffee is even better. Save yourself the crap the gas stations try to pass as coffee and brew your own iced coffee to bring with you. Fan of energy drinks? Try those as well, but be sure to watch out for the “crash” after it wears off.

Driving is a great way to not waste time at the airport, and to enjoy more of the journey to your vacation. It is generally cheaper, yet provides so much more in value. Drivers fatigue will ultimately ruin any good vacation, so do yourself a favour and rest.