Your Essential Tipping Guide for an All-Inclusive Trip
When planning your honeymoon, budget is usually top of mind. What will airfare cost? Are there any hidden fees you need to factor in? And, of course, the cost of your resort, where you get to be pampered and spoiled for a few days. But there's another factor that many need to remember to plan for gratuities. You are not alone if you've heard horror stories about couples tipping on their honeymoon. It's one of the top questions repeatedly asked when planning a honeymoon or any other trip to an all-inclusive resort. Here are some best practices regarding tipping and how much you should give.
Do I Have to Tip?
Before we dive into the specifics, allow me to answer one of the most frequently asked questions: Do I have to tip at an all-inclusive resort, or are the gratuities included at an all-inclusive resort? The rate at an all-inclusive resort includes tips. So, the resort will divvy a portion of your per-night rate amongst the team members. While resorts don't tell you how much, many team members are there for 12 hours or more daily. It is a grueling schedule where they could work nine days in a row and then have two days off. What the resort gives them is different from how much work they put in.
With that said, I highly encourage tipping where you feel led. The resort you travel to and the level of service you have paid for (concierge or butler, for example) will affect what you should prepare for regarding gratuities. Determining gratuity expectations is something I assist my clients with as they prepare to travel.
Let's discuss some specifics regarding tipping for your all inclusive honeymoon vacation.
An airport porter will assist you with your luggage at your destination. While this could be annoying, a porter at the airport may swoop in and sometimes aggressively start helping you with your luggage. You can undoubtedly decline their assistance, but if you decide to let them help, please give them a tip. $3-$5 is reasonable, depending on how much luggage you have. Porters aren't employees of the airport, so they work for tips.
My theory is to support those who are willing to show up and do something to make a living for their families.
The resort does not employ drivers. Please be prepared to tip this person for the ride each way. Something that most people need to factor in is the time involved. Please consider the distance the driver has to go to get you to your resort and then return to the airport for their next assignment. For short distances, $5 is sufficient; for longer drives (1.5 hours or more), consider giving at least $20. If it takes them 1.5 hours to get you to your resort, that is a 3-hour roundtrip investment of their time.
Hooray! Welcome to the resort. As you leave the vehicle, the bellhop is the first resort team member to assist you. They will check your luggage and give you luggage tags while you head to the lobby. After checking in, your bellhop will escort you to your room and will likely share some details about the resort and a few features regarding your room.
Plan on a $5-$10 tip, depending on the time invested.
Concierge and Butler
If you've opted in for a higher level of service, come prepared to tip. If your concierge sets up your dinner reservations or helps you with an issue your room has, don't feel compelled to dish out cash. However, if the concierge sets up a special dinner with some surprise touches or goes out of their way to get you something to make your stay memorable, tip according to their time invested.
Butler service is generally more hands-on, but some resorts will have butlers that are more like concierges. In the case that you have a hands-on butler that is available to you via a cellphone and they are in charge of everything your suite needs (managing and communicating with other staff members), setting up your dinner/spa/golf/ reservations, serving you any meal in-suite, saving you chairs at the pool or beach, then this personal level of service should be a per day tip. I suggest a minimum of $20 per day, depending on how much you utilize your butler. Again, remember any situations where the butler has gone above and beyond to make your stay and experience memorable.
So overall, anticipate having $10 for small one-off experiences from a concierge and a minimum of $150 for a week of butler service.
Typically most of us head to the beach or pool with only the essentials, especially since we often leave our beach bags unattended occasionally. Imagine sitting at the beach enjoying a book or conversation, and a beach waiter asks what you'd like to drink. You order your beverage, receive it in a few minutes, and quickly realize you have $0 on you. A bartender, pool, or beach waiter will keep the drinks coming for $10 but happily accept $1 or $2 per drink. If possible, always have a few dollars on you for tips like this. If you are at an a la carte restaurant, consider tipping. Again, base this on the service level and the dining experience's quality. Michelin-level restaurants with several-course meals and white-glove service dish tip between $10-20. If it is a burger joint, leave $2-5.
As we wrap this up, we must remember housekeeping. It's lovely to come back to a freshly cleaned room. Leave $5-$10 daily for your housekeeper at an all-inclusive resort. These resort team members work diligently daily and make the least.
There are resorts with strict no-gratuity rules. As mentioned, you can still tip the porter and shuttle drivers, but housekeepers and waitstaff may not accept tips. It would be best if you still tipped butlers and spa employees in a no-tipping resort because they do not share in the gratuities other employees receive.
Ultimately, the best practice is to budget for tipping in your honeymoon budget. And the best way to determine how much to leave is based on the level of service you have received. The staff work hard and depend on tips for most of their income. It would help if you got good service no matter what, but it's always the best policy to be fair in your tipping.