Traveling While On Spring Break? Know Who To Tip And How Much

Are you planning on traveling for spring break? If so, you'll probably be put into a lot of situations where a tip is expected–everyone from the servers at the restaurants that you dine at to the concierge at your hotel will expect a tip. If it's been a while since you've paid attention to the way that tips are handled, you could be shortchanging the people in the service industries that you use. This could make for some uncomfortable moments as try to figure out why your concierge, taxi driver, or other service person seems less-than-pleased with what you thought was a decent tip. Here's a quick and easy rundown on what to tip.

Before your trip

If you're planning a trip to the salon to get your hair done and have a mani-pedi, the amount that you tip is partially dependent on the number of services that you have done, not the number of people doing it. While a standard tip is 15% of the bill for a manicure or hair cut, 20% is more customary for a pedicure, simply because pedicures are a little harder to do. If you have an ongoing relationship with the folks at the salon and this isn't an occasional thing, consider going a little higher. It isn't unusual to tip a manicurist or pedicurist that you like and use regularly $20 (even if the tab is less than $40).

At the hotel

If you're staying at an upscale establishment with a concierge, you can have him or her arrange everything from strawberries and wine for a romantic night in, to tickets and transportation for a night on the town. How much you tip depends on the ease of the task, but make sure that you keep plenty of $5 bills on hand. Tip with each request, not at the end of your stay and make $5 the absolute minimum gratuity.

Keep in mind that hotel maids work hard and keep the place nice so that you don't have to worry about it while you're on vacation, and they don't earn a lot of money. Leave $5 per night (with a note, so that there's no question that it's intended for the housekeeping staff) in upscale hotels (or more if there are more than 3 of you in the room).

While about town

To enjoy the sites and not worry about parking, take a taxi. It's worth the cost in fares not to have to waste time trying to find your way somewhere specific and for the convenience of door-to-door service. While the standard tip does tend to vary by location, assume that 15% of the fare is acceptable and round up to the nearest whole dollar. For more information, contact Orlando Cab Transportation or a similar company.

If you're going out to eat at a full-service restaurant, the rules have changed somewhat in recent years. Average service is usually given 15% of the total bill, including alcohol. Above average service gets 20%. Keep in mind that many restaurants pool the tips, so you're tipping everyone from the cook to the table clearer, not just your server.

Are you thinking of getting a little ink to commemorate your trip? A lot of people indulge in tattoos while they're on vacation as a way to permanently record a special visit someplace. If you decide to go for it, keep in mind that your tattoo artist doesn't get an hourly wage. Tipping is expected, and 15-20% is considered customary.

One final piece of advice–before you head out on your vacation, stop at the bank and stock up on $1s, $5s, and $10s. That can prevent a lot of awkwardness when you give someone a tip. You don't want to have to hand a taxi driver a $20 and ask for $17 in change. Separate the bills in your pockets or purse so that you can reach for the right denomination without dragging out a lot of cash at once.