Home Hotel service Do you know how to tip a bellboy or a housekeeper? Test your knowledge.

Do you know how to tip a bellboy or a housekeeper? Test your knowledge.


For a practice that dates back to roughly the 17th century, tipping remains a surprisingly confusing practice in modern America. The practice – whether it’s a physical or digital transaction – always causes stress for consumers who are unsure of who to give extra money to and how much. Then there’s the pandemic and its impact on hospitality, which made the process even more complicated. Restaurants added service charges, hotel housekeeping transformed, and there was less personal interaction.

You might be right at home knowing how to tip your local bartender or the neighborhood bartender, but what happens when you’re not in your element?

We interviewed etiquette and hospitality experts to clear up some confusion about custom in America – after all, we were not born with this information.

“We’re looking for rules, and we’re looking for guidelines, and those are important,” says David Coggins, author of the New York Times bestselling “Men and Manners”. “But if you already decide that you are going to be generous or err on the side of generosity, then you will always make a better decision than if you try to think, ‘How can I get away with this? “”

Do you know the rules? Test your knowledge of tips with our quiz below.

Question 1 of 11

Is it true that you are never fully dressed without cash?

Correct! In “Men and Manners,” Coggins writes exactly that: you aren’t fully dressed if you don’t have the money. As Americans seem to be heading for a cashless future, tipping becomes a calculated effort.

“I’m obsessed with not running out of small bills, and I try to think about it ahead of time,” Coggins says.

You need to be aware that you have money with you so that you don’t stiffen those who deserve a tip. If you can, stock up on small bills before your trip.

In a pinch, you can make up for your lack of cash by asking the person helping you for their digital wallet information, such as their Venmo ID or Cash App.

“Most people these days have Venmo, Paypal or Zelle,” says Ben Pundole, hotel consultant and founder of the travel website A Hotel Life. Such a demand may not be normal or expected for all generations, but “it’s not abnormal” either, he said.

Question 2 of 11

You take a free shuttle from the rental car park to your terminal, and the driver unloads your bag from the bus to the curb. Do you tip?

Correct! When someone touches your bag, you tip. Protocol School of Palm Beach founder and CEO Jacqueline Whitmore recommends $ 1 per bag, unless it’s very heavy (then give $ 2 per bag). If the driver drops you off and you handle your luggage, there is no need for a tip.

Question 3 of 11

You are on a plane and the flight attendant serves you a drink. Do you tip?

Correct! Keep your singles to yourself on a flight. Most airline staff are encouraged to decline tips.

“The best way for our customers to recognize our team members is to send a note to our customer relations team,” said Ross Feinstein, former director of operations communications at American Airlines.

Question 4 of 11

You opt for curbside baggage check-in with a third-party provider. Should you tip the attendant who checks your luggage?

Correct! Swann School of Protocol Founder Elaine Swann recommends tipping based on the number of bags handled when checking curbside.

“When they take your luggage out of your car and check it for you: $ 2 per bag,” she says.

Question 5 of 11

Should I tip only at the end of a hotel stay?

Correct! Tip time is flexible here. This can be at the beginning or at the end of a stay. There is no hard and fast rule about when you should tip hotel staff, so make sure you have small bills to hand over when the situation arises.

Question 6 of 11

You arrive at your hotel by car and leave it with the valet. Do you tip the valet?

Correct! You absolutely must tip your valet, preferably when you hand over your keys. This is a great example of a tip to ensure proper service – you want the valet to be by your side. Swann recommends tip valets of $ 3 or more.

“Tip them early and they’ll always take care of you,” Pundole says. “The more you take care of them, the more they take care of you.”

Question 7 of 11

The hotel manager transforms your hotel room into a suite. Do you tip him?

Correct! A hotel manager tends to be a salaried employee who does not need a tip. A clue as to who to tip and who to ignore is to look at how the hotel clerk is dressed.

“I don’t tip someone in a suit behind the counter,” Coggins said. “Usually if a person wears a suit or their own clothes, I don’t. He’s a manager of a higher position so you don’t need to tip them. But if it’s a person in uniform, you usually do.

Question 8 of 11

A bellboy greets you in the hotel lobby and takes your bag (s) upstairs to your room. Do you tip?

Correct! The amount will depend on the type of hotel you are in and the type of service you get. Did they drop your bags off and leave quickly? Did they help you unbox or share any useful details about the room and hotel? Pundole recommends up to $ 10 for a tip at a luxury hotel.

Not everyone wants help, and that’s okay too. “Before, I avoided the doormen and wanted to do everything myself,” Pundole says. But at the end of the day, remember that they’re here to help. “They pride themselves on being at the front of something big and being the first point of contact.”

Question 9 of 11

You stay in a hotel and housekeeping cleans your room every day. Do you leave a tip?

Correct! Not everyone knows how to tip cleaning staff, or they choose not to for various reasons. But according to all of our experts, you absolutely tip housekeeping. It is thankless hotel work that is often overlooked.

At the start of his travels, Coggins did not know how to tip housekeeping, a mistake he is still embarrassed about today. It is now natural for him to tip housekeeping in every hotel.

“Some people avoid it because they think they aren’t doing it right, or they don’t know if it’s going to be appreciated, or that they don’t even have the pleasure of giving it to someone. one, “Coggins says.

“They work really hard. They work long hours, ”adds Pundole. “They are expected to do exemplary work. They deserve it.”

Pundole recommends tipping $ 10 per day of your visit.

However, housekeeping and other hospitality items have changed during the pandemic, and customers may notice a decline in services in some cases. Pundole recognizes that while service should be rewarded, it is not a given. People should tip what they can.

Question 10 of 11

Do the same tip rules apply to all-inclusive hotels and cruises?

Correct! All-inclusive properties and cruises may have their own rules.

“Often the cruise line will give you directions on tips,” Swann explains. “They break it down day by day. Server by server. Follow the guidelines of the cruise line. As for the rest of the waiters, you would tip the same ashore, if the cruise line allows.

Question 11 of 11

You ordered food with your favorite delivery app on your Airbnb. Service charges are included. Do you always tip?

Correct! Stephanie Fisher, a certified travel associate for Huffman Travel, says she always adds a tip, noting that the fees you pay on the app might not go directly to the driver. We heard stories during the pandemic of delivery drivers receiving few tips even as demand and risks increased.

For travel consultant Thomas Chongruk of Escape 2, an independent subsidiary of Montecito Village Travel, the answer is yes. While he doesn’t think the gesture is mandatory, he feels it is a courtesy to the person who delivered your meal.

Pundole finds some service fees outrageous these days, but he gives a few dollars in person regardless of the digital transaction.


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