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Hotel tipping & other ways to be kind while traveling

This article from the New York Times sums up the practices of hotel tipping, primarily in the USA, but there additional practices internationally that can summed up here.

Pushing a heavy cart of cleaning and room supplies, lifting mattresses and bending over tubs and toilets is probably the most physically demanding job in the hotel.

Ms. Cleveland suggests leaving a tip of $5 a day, “the price of a fancy coffee.” Tips should be left in an obvious place — on the bed or nightstand, with a note saying it is for the housekeeper.

Recognizing the housekeeping staff is especially important because “they don’t have the ceremony” of bringing your dinner or mixing your drink with a flourish behind the bar, said Ms. Cleveland, which can make them invisible.

If you host a party in your room or are traveling with children (always a party!) consider leaving a bit more.

“You should add a dollar per person per day if there’s more than two people in your hotel room,” Ms. Richter advises.

On a multiday stay, leave a daily tip, rather than one at the end to make sure the person cleaning your room each day receives the money.

My rule of thumb is to tip housekeepers a minimum of $1 USD per day per person and to leave the tip daily.

Here are more ways to get enjoyment from your travels by employing kindness, also from the NYTimes:

  • Address employees by name:

“Remember that kind words cost you, the traveler, absolutely nothing, but the benefits can be so rewarding,” said Deserene Miller, who has driven a taxi on Grand Cayman for 31 years.

  • Offer compliments, verbally or otherwise:

“I really love when guests thank us following their stay and send a thank you note to the hotel,” said Raffaele Ruffolo, the front office manager at the Sina Bernini Bristol hotel in Rome. “It feels really authentic and genuine and means a lot to us, and we will remember it for a long time.”

Hotel tipping & other ways to be kind while traveling, Ohana Retreat Bali
Balinese ceremony at Pererenan Beach
  • Be curious about culture:

“A kind traveler is always respectful and curious about the cultural significance of the places and people they visit,” said Heather Arnold, the owner of Routes Bicycle Tours of New Mexico. “Sometimes achieving this requires stepping back from the stresses of travel and any personal preconceptions — which can be difficult — but establishing these roots ultimately allows you to better embrace the ‘spirit’ of a place.”

  • Make conservation efforts:

“We were taught at a very young age that our waters came from heaven,” said Luana Maitland, the director of cultural programs at the Outrigger resorts in Waikiki, Hawaii. “Don’t leave the faucet running, don’t throw trash into our stream and if you see trash, pick it up.”

  • Remember the art of small talk:

After 18 years as the executive chef of Spotted Salamander Cafe in Columbia, S.C., Jessica Shillato may have a piece of advice that ties it all together: “Behave as if your grandma is at the next table. People should be as nice on the road as they are at home.”

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