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Offering gifts to the housekeeping staff while on vacation is typical, but what is the proper etiquette for tipping and gifting?
The housekeeping staff is critical to ensuring your all-inclusive vacation stay at a hotel or resort meets or exceeds your needs.
Although all-inclusive resorts seem frosted with gold, the employees are often paid little and live different lives than most imagine.
Today I want to talk about what should be given to housekeeping staff while you are on holiday.
Budgeting Vacation Tips To Consider
That pretty swan made from bath towels and delicious mints is always welcomed after returning from the beach or touring your destination hot spot.
Personally, the only thing I can craft from a towel is a ball before I throw it in the laundry bin.
I find towel art soothing to the eyes, as does a cold drink dressed with umbrellas or little snacks.
Not having to lift a finger doing everyday things such as cleaning during the holidays is what the doctor ordered.
Related: How to make towel art – Check this out!
What about the person who helps you with your luggage or the bartender who makes your special drink requests?
All staff members are a team, keep a resort running, and should be included in tipping when appropriate.
Without high-traffic tourism, many of these resorts would fall apart, so keeping the customers happy is, without a doubt, the highest priority.
Budget Your Holiday
You almost always have a tipping category if you use a budget spreadsheet as we do and like to go on vacation, by airplane, on land transportation, or weekend road trips.
Even if you don’t and tip, the money has to come from somewhere, so ensuring that you include this expense in your holiday budget is essential.
Have you ever noticed how awkward it can be to tip anyone on vacation, especially when it’s frowned upon or you don’t know how much or what to give?
I have experienced this but have since understood that the only way to ease into the comfort zone of tipping on holiday is to learn about your destination and its economy.
Who Are The Housekeeping Staff?
Going away on your dream vacation means packing all the luxuries of home in a suitcase, along with ways to tip housekeeping staff while you are away.
It may seem odd to pack gifts for the staff who look after you, but this is not uncommon, especially for International travel.
You may consider leaving a tip for exceptional service from housekeeping, concierge, gardeners, daycare, gym staff, food staff, and parking services while on holiday.
The challenge often becomes what type of tip to leave the staff.
What many travelers may not realize is that resort staff are all equal.
If you tip housekeeping, perhaps consider the bartender and other employees who make your stay 100% outstanding.
Leaving trinkets and little gifts for housekeeping is nice, but everyone has family and needs to eat.
Vacation Budget Inclusions
As a vacation nerd in my younger years and even today, I like to go on holidays when I can get time away from work.
Back in my 20s, budgeting money for my vacation included a line for tipping housekeeping staff and anyone who went above and beyond.
The person who takes your luggage to the room is an excellent example of someone you can tip a few dollars for the extra help, especially after a long flight and time change.
To ease my budget expenses, I would always try to stay at self-serving hotels or facilities where I cared for myself instead of someone taking care of me.
Sure, it does defeat the purpose of going on vacation where it should be relaxation and being waited on, but not everyone likes that variation of inclusion on their holiday.
For example, staff waiting to jump in and help for a tip can be invasive, so many resorts say no to tipping housekeeping staff.
Their job is to make you feel comfortable, including friendly service that is thorough and meets the standards of the resort or facility you pay for.
This makes sense to me, but everyone I know leaves a tip, even if they have to sneak it to the staff without their boss or other employees knowing.
Don’t kid yourself; if you hand housekeeping $10, they won’t turn it down, and if they do, you smile and thank them again.
No Cash? Offer A Gift
If you’re worried about being rejected for a monetary tip by your housekeeping staff, you can go the gift route by bringing items of need.
You do not have to tip anyone, but it is a nice gesture to say thank you and to add a smile to someone’s face.
Digging deep into your wallet when you are on vacation at all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, among other destination holidays, is not uncommon.
Although homeland currency would benefit, most tipping is done in U.S. or Canadian dollars.
Even if you don’t have U.S. or Canadian dollars, money will get sorted and spent to some degree.
Keep in mind that some countries may not accept your currency, so again, do your research.
For friends who visit the Dominican Republic once a year to their vacation village, a 15% tip is customary to form along with items from their home country.
If you go on holiday and want to spread Canadian cheer, bring a few bottles of maple syrup to the housekeeping staff at a resort where cash tipping is prohibited.
Who Is Your Housekeeping Team?
In all honesty, I include everyone who works at the facility or resorts as part of the team that ensures day-to-day activities and jobs are carried out.
Not everyone will share my view.
The housekeeping definition varies from country to country, where it could mean a maid or room cleaning services who freshen up your vacation living quarters.
The idea is to make your stay better than at home, which includes not having to do anything on your part.
The luxuries of cleanliness, fresh bedsheets, and towels add to the allure of vacation.
Housekeeping also includes the cleaning staff at a school, hospital, or even the mall.
If you are cleaning, you are most likely called a housekeeper, even if the venue is not a house.
However, keeping the house under control takes a team that includes everyone.
Tipping Housekeeping Staff
Should you leave a tip for housekeeping?
This is entirely up to you because tipping housekeeping doesn’t necessarily mean you will get better service than you would without a tip.
Some resorts may not allow tipping of their housekeeping staff which also extends to the rest of the resort employees because it’s included in gratuities.
This is why you must do your homework before you leave for vacation, so you understand how your resort operates.
If you want to avoid tipping, keep that little sign on your door telling housekeeping that you don’t care for their services that day.
Not all vacationers want their beds refreshed or made daily or need their floors swept and mopped, so avoiding it means you avoid leaving that tip.
Too frugal? Not really if you don’t want the services or don’t feel the need to tip for them.
Alternatively, you don’t need to leave anything but still should get the same service as if you were leaving a tip because this is the job they are there to do.
A tip is just an extra perk that may be added but should never be expected by staff at any resort, hotel, or spa.
Housekeeping Tipping Frequency
When should you leave a tip?
Some people who go on vacation and want to tip housekeeping might think to do so at the end of the week or during their stay.
The problem with this is that housekeeping at almost every resort, hotel, or facility you stay at while travelling will have additional housekeeping staff daily.
If you want to tip housekeeping, ideally, you would like to do it daily.
I also find that if you tip one housekeeping staff, they spread the word of your kindness towards their hard work.
Tipping is not mandatory, but when you are on vacation, it’s nice to say thank you to the staff who take care of you, as would the employees at Starbucks.
Remember that if you are tipping the bartenders, concierge, and other helpers cash, you should do so with the maids.
How would you feel if your fellow employee was offered tip money, and just because you’re housekeeping, all you get is a bottle of perfume and boxes of crayons?
One says, thanks for your outstanding service, and the other says here’s a gift from the heart of my home country.
If you think about it, they are two entirely different concepts and gestures.
Common Gifts Left For The Housekeeping Children
It is customary to consider cash and a gift by leaving something for the staff’s kids or housekeeping staff if you go a monetary tip.
I wasn’t sure what items we would bring along that may be needed or accepted, so I did some fishing by asking my friends what they did.
Below are the top ways to tip housekeeping with or without cash or both!
Cash Is King When Tipping
I can assure you that money will always dominate this list of housekeeping tips, so remember how far that dollar you spend at the Dollar store to buy toys might go instead of the products.
Adding $5 to an envelope and a small gift seems the norm from my research before leaving the room in the morning.
7 Gifts To Bring Housekeeping Staff
- Cash Envelopes and personalized hand-written notes (use an online translator like Babelfish)
- Gift Bags filled with surprises!
- Canadian souvenirs
- Health and Beauty supplies, including laundry
My wife has been to the Dominican Republic on vacation, and although the resort life may look luxurious, you get a glimpse of their life once you step outside.
A trip tour led her outside the resort, where she had some heart-stopping moments of sadness and happiness.
If you know what I mean, you will agree that leaving a monetary tip would far outweigh going lotions and hair accessories for tipping purposes.
Sometimes the easiest way to understand the locals is to talk to them.
While getting her hair braided by the lady on the beach, Mrs. CBB started chatting about life in the Dominican and found out how desperately needy many of the families were.
They were poor; she wanted her to mail new or used clothing and shoes.
Her family was desperate for clothing since she was the only person with a job.
Leaving cash seemed more accessible, which she was accepting and gracious about receiving.
You don’t have to believe anyone. You need to care; however, if someone chooses to spend gratuity or tips left by you while on vacation, know that it was done from the heart and not because you had to do it.
P.S.- Remember that male and female employees fill each role, so keep that in mind if you plan to buy little gifts.
Discussion: What do you tip housekeeping when you are on vacation?
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