Sunday, April 5, 2020

You may have already tipped in your travel

November 20, 2011 by  
Filed under travel tips

Eating while traveling can be really expensive, and even moreso if you over tip, tip twice, or get fooled into tipping more than you ought to. It is important to understand the tipping customs for the places you travel to. Purchasing a guide book, or taking a few moments to consult with someone, like the desk clerk at your hotel, can save you tons of money.

First, it is good to know that in places like Europe, tipping is usually included, and you are only expected to round up the bill, or leave 5%. Only Americans tip 15-20% in Europe. Waiters often know this, and so they will trick you into paying more than you should, and leaving a tip on top. Knowing the tricks can save you money.

Sometimes a waiter will simply add money to the bill, then not itemize it, hoping you won’t notice or question them, and pretend it is an error in their math if you do. If they count it “wrong” or mischarge you, it can get really expensive, especially if this happens with every meal, every time you are out.

Many restaurants in Europe especially, will charge a service fee, which should be not charged if not noticed on the menu. This is often called a linens fee, or a bread fee, but if it is not clearly specified, don’t pay it, as it can be as much as $3 or more per person extra. If you see this, ask about it, and if they don’t remove it, don’t tip. Charges need to be stated, while it is customary in many countries, like Italy, to charge fees simply for providing dishes, a place to sit, etc. legally they have to tell you or they can’t charge you.

Know that in Europe tax is included in the menu price. The server may trick Americans into paying more than they ought because they pretend that the tax has to be added on top, and because Americans aren’t familiar with the typical tax amount, they can make up whatever they want. Nine times out of ten, the price on the menu already includes the tax, so don’t pay anything extra. Otherwise, a meal for two that should cost you about $20, may end up costing as much as $45.

There are all kinds of hidden charges when you travel, and if you don’t ask for an itemized bill, or check carefully, you will fall victim to paying more than you should. A few dollars here and there may not matter much, but when traveling you tend to eat out a lot, and if you are paying an extra $2-$3 at each meal, that can be close to $100 more per person for a week of travel than you should be paying. Save money by knowing the tricks for tips.

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