This topic created quite a stir on one of My Vacation Lady‘s travel agent Facebook boards— should you tip while at an all inclusive resort.
Per the general manager of a boutique resort in St Lucia, tips for the staff are included in your all inclusive charge. At Sandals resorts, the staff (other than butlers) can be fired for accepting tips but this still was not necessarily what my colleagues thought.
So do you need to tip at all inclusive resorts? Other than at Sandals resorts, the staff will usually accept tips. Is it necessary to tip at an all inclusive resort? That is 100% up to you. We do tip some of the staff but not necessarily others when at all inclusive resorts. At our last stay at an all inclusive resort, we had dinner with another couple and they did leave a couple of dollars for the waiter (even though he screwed up the order pretty badly). We did not tip since we felt that the service was just average.
Now if you are going to a hotel or resort that is NOT all inclusive, and tipping is NOT already included in your vacation package, this is a good guideline to follow.
According to a US News article from May of 2013:
Tipping when traveling. April Masini, a columnist who writes “Ask April” at AskApril.com, says despite her focus on relationship advice, she gets a lot of etiquette questions and, over time, has compiled a lengthy list of what’s appropriate to tip.
So if you’re on a vacation this summer, according to Masini, you could do worse than follow her cheat sheet:
• Airport or train porter: $1-2 per bag
• Airport wheelchair assistance: $3-5 upon arrival at the gate
• Cab drivers: 10-18 percent of the fare, depending on the speed of the cab, your comfort level and how safe you feel during the drive, Masini says.
• Courtesy shuttle drivers: $1-2 per bag
• Hotel bell staff: $1-2 per bag
• Hotel concierge: $10-20 depending on request, at departure
• Hotel doorman: no tip, Masini says, unless they handle luggage or call a cab
• Hotel maid: $2-3 per night
• Parking valet: $3-5 at pickup
• Restaurant host/hostess: Tipping isn’t necessary, according to Masini, unless you’re grateful because the host or hostess was able to secure a table for you that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get.