Let’s Talk Tips!

There’s a tip of a mountain, a tip of a hat, the tip of a spear—these are all acceptable discussion topics.  The one that makes grown men crease their foreheads and grown women cry is the tip aka—the “gratuity.”

And, it’s important—vital perhaps—to the livelihood of a person who has accompanied you on a sightseeing trip or cleaned your room or helped you in some other way to enjoy your trip.  That’s when tips become a problem: too much, not enough, not worth it?  But the biggest question is: how much?

Tips may be a primary source of income for that helpful individual, but it’s hard for travelers, who may seldom come into contact with such a situation, to gauge the right amount for a tip.  One source of advice is to ask the tour guide, who also will expect a tip, but he/she may have a stake in that helper’s amount, via his getting a bit of that person’s “take.” (My suggestion: carry a lot of $1 bills.)

Tips are not important to most people, but very important to the people with whom you come into contact. And you surely don’t want to be called a “cheapskate”—nor a “tenderfoot’” too new at the game to give too much in a tip.

Enough about basic tip drill!  Relax.  Think about 10%-15% on the negative side; 20% is really nice if you can afford that; ten is too little; twenty-five is too much, unless the effort by the individual you want to tip was extraordinary. It happens.

Have a great trip.  Get plenty of one dollar bills, and relax.  No one will hurt you if you forget to tip—once!  Don’t think that negative word about your cheating pattern doesn’t get around the tour group—the others with whom you are traveling, and the others who are making your travel experience a memorable one.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has been tossed over a cliff at the end of a tour for being a cheapskate. And, as real cheapskates say, “You’ll never see any of them again.”

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