A Guide to Tipping on Vacation: Who Expects Cash

Photo: Carnival Cruise Line
Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

Will that be cash or credit? Though it’s nice to have payment options, there are some people you’ll encounter on your vacation that won’t give you a payment option. Expect to pay cash, so plan ahead to avoid excessive ATM fees or worse, missing out on something.

Here are 5 People who expect to be paid in cash for their services:

Shuttle Drivers. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some great, super friendly shuttle drivers and some, well, not so great shuttle drivers in my experience. They have a tough job lugging luggage all day long for often tired and cranky passengers (yes, I’ll admit I can most definitely be both of those things!) and generally aren’t the highest paid employees in the travel industry. Tips here are generally $1-2 per bag, though depending on the type of shuttle (airport, rental car, cruise transfer, etc.), you may want to tip a little more, say 15-20% of your fare.

Porters. Just like you tip with cash for curbside check-in at the airport, you also tip with cash at curbside check-in at the cruise terminal. Luggage porters expect a minimum of $1-2 per bag from you. Even though tipping is slightly different in Europe, still expect to tip 1-2 Euros per bag.

Room Service. This one’s a little tricky. Some hotels will add a room service gratuity automatically. Some don’t. Some cruise lines might and some don’t. A good rule of thumb is to check the receipt and see if it’s been added automatically. Be sure it says ‘tip’ or ‘gratuity’ as a ‘service charge’ often doesn’t go to the delivery person.  On a cruise, I generally tip $1-3 depending on how much food I ordered and when I ordered it (the later it is, the more I’ll tip).

Tour guides. Tour Guides play such an important role in your vacation. A good tour guide can make a trip magically memorable. Our family and friends still talk about our tour guide in Naples from almost 3 years ago. We loved him and gave him a huge tip! Even if you don’t get the world’s best tour guide (we think he’s Alberto from Italy), it’s still a good idea to tip 15-20% of the cost of your tour. And most tour guides don’t have credit card machines – cash is king here.

Maître d. On a cruise ship, the maître d’ is one of the key persons responsible for your dining experience. Also, typically the maître d’ isn’t including in your auto-gratuities to the cruise line. Some cruisers don’t feel the need to tip the maître d’; others do make sure they’re rewarded for a fine dining experience.  Though you may have limited interaction with your maître d’, the interactions you do have with your wait staff come directly from the maître d’’s influence and direction. If you want to tip them, a suggested amount is between $5-15 per person for the week.

Here’s another tip: since you’ll notice several of the people above are receiving smaller tips, be smart and come prepared with about $20 in ones.

Also, keep in mind, tipping is very much a personal preference and it’s all pretty much up to your discretion. We just wanted to give you a general idea of what to expect on your next vacation!

What about you? What are your thoughts on tipping on vacation? What are your words of advice for tipping?

Sign up for the Cruise Radio Newsletter

Get the real facts delivered straight to your inbox, with trustworthy cruise related news.

Send this to a friend
Hi, this may be of interest to you: A Guide to Tipping on Vacation: Who Expects Cash. This is the link: https://cruiseradio.net/guide-tipping-vacation-expects-cash/