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3 On Your Side: Tipping On Vacation

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are you planning a vacation this summer? Well, don’t forget to budget some money for tips. From housekeepers to bellhops, tipping while on vacation can raise a lot of tricky questions, so 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan offers this advice.

To tip or not to tip? When on vacation, it pretty much depends on where you are and who you’re dealing with. 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, Stacy Rapacon, of the personal finance web site Kiplinger.com 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 or pack in some envelopes so you have something to put the money in for the housekeeper,” she says.

According to Kiplinger.com, housekeeping staff typically get tipped $2 to $5 each day. Airport skycaps and hotel bellhops, $1 or $2 per bag. Valet parkers, $2 to $5 each time you pick up your car. And airport shuttle drivers, $1 to $2, and extra if they assist with handling your baggage.

At some hotels and resorts, tips may be included, so read the fine print. According to Rapacon, “At the bottom it will say ‘gratuity 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 accidently over-tipping.”

By the way, you may want to 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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