Consumer

Travel tipping 101

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We've got you covered with how much or how little you should tip so that you know before you go.

From housekeepers to bellhops, tipping while on vacation can raise a lot of tricky questions for travelers this year. Just like airfare, meals, and taxis -- tips for good service should be part of your vacation budget. To avoid over-tipping or not tipping at all, personal finance web site Kiplinger.com advises having small bills on hand.

"Keep a nice, fat wallet with all those singles and fives. And, in fact you might want to keep -- pack in some envelopes so you have something to put the money in for the housekeeper," said Kiplinger.com channel editor Stacy Rapacon.

Housekeeping staff typically get two to five dollars each day. Airport skycaps and hotel bellhops, one or two dollars per bag. Valet parkers, two to five dollars each time you pick up your car. And airport shuttle drivers, one or two dollars -- extra for baggage handling. At some hotels and resorts, tips may be included, so read the fine print.

"At the bottom it will say, gratuity included, service is included and it will usually be around 18 percent. So if it has been extraordinary service and you would like to tip on top of that, do so, but do keep in mind that it is already included so you don't end up accidentally over-tipping," said Rapacon.

Brush up on tipping protocol before you go overseas. In some cultures, it's an insult. In others, it's already factored in to your bill.

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