This week's reader question was posted recently on Real Simple's Facebook page. It comes from Denise LaPlant Carbone, who asked:
My husband and I disagree about how much we should tip the hotel staff who clean the rooms/make the beds, etc. With vacation season on the horizon, what does everyone else recommend?
Tipping is not an exact science. Consider this. How much do you tip a bellhop who lugs your bags to your hotel room, $2 or $3…or $5? The amount probably varies, depending on some combination of factors that include the number of bags he has to haul, how speedily he delivers them and how many singles you happen to have in your wallet.
Personally, I think the hotel housekeepers, who clean toilets and attack stains on the carpet, have a harder job than bellhops. But they often get overlooked because they're not standing in front of you, with their hands out, waiting for a tip.
I may in fact never see the cleaning staff during my stay. But I use my bellhop tipping standard as a threshold —and leave the maids more.
How much more? If you’re a neat freak traveling alone, a dollar or so extra per day may be sufficient. But if you’re on vacation with your kids, be generous. The cleaning staff has to spend more time tidying your room. And if one of those children spilled orange juice on the rug and another vomited on the sheets last night? Tip $10 for cleaning up the next day.
As for me? I typically calculate a $5 tip per day for the cleaning staff. I add a $10 bonus, at the end of the stay, for exceptional service. But unless someone in my group throws up, I don't dole out the tip money every day, because unless you write a note each time, the housekeeper won't know it's for her. I leave the total amount in the room when I check out.
What’s your strategy? Do you tip the cleaning staff more or less than other hotel employees? How much do you leave?
(image courtesy of Realsimple.com)