Lose the Linens
Some may think this tip is a little over the top, but once you know, you can’t go back. There are countless investigative reports that span decades, hotel star ratings and cities on the subject of hotels changing (or rather not changing) their linens between guests. The gruesome statistics (and my personal experiences) are enough for me to take things into my own hands. I’ll spare you the details, but just trust me on this.
The first thing I do when I’m in my hotel room is call housekeeping and ask for a new set of linens, and hotels have always obliged without issue. We’re also very generous with our housekeeping tip, often leaving a $10 or $20 or whatever is available on the bed so they take good care of us going forward.
Bring Your Own Cloths
I never leave home without my Clean Skin Club cloths. For years I’ve been a huge proponent of using a clean, fresh towel every time you wash your face, and traveling is no exception. They’re lightweight, easy to travel with and biodegradable, so you don’t have to scramble for fresh bath towels morning and night. I’ve written about it more over here.
Here’s a tip – Tip!
Growing up, my parents used to always tip housekeeping before we left the room each day, and bellmen and doormen upon our arrival. This habit has stayed with me into adulthood and it’s served me well. They remember your face and your generosity and it goes a long way…from hailing you a cab to giving you insider tips to getting you a better room. Plus, these folks make a living on the tourism and travel industry, and tipping is greatly appreciated.
I’m sure you’re wondering about Europe, where in many countries tipping wait staff is not expected. Do your research beforehand and understand the general culture around tipping. If you’re overseas and you “think they don’t tip” there, but the bill is super cheap, tip for Christ’s sake. Oftentimes these people make very little and only for the tourist season. We were in Greece in June, where we read that tipping isn’t expected, but could be between 5-10 percent. Traveling in the midst of a pandemic where the country’s tourism had been all but shut down for a year+, we felt compelled to tip more than the status quo, so we left 20 percent each time. On more than one occasion, the wait staff came over to express their gratitude, often bringing extra beers or shots along with them. But we don’t do it for the free perks. We do it because we’re traveling, we’re already prepared to spend money, and we’ve budgeted accordingly. Nothing looks cheaper than a tourist being stingy. It’s not a good look, darling.
Tip handsomely right off the bat, and memorize the staff names ASAP. This gesture goes a long way for favors, the inside scoop, priority attention and free drinks. (Always make friends with the bartender for the best tips and the inside track on where the locals play.)
To this point, another important money matter: Make change as often as you can so you can easily tip. If that means converting cash at the airport or breaking bills with the concierge, do it and don’t be caught off guard.