Tipping And The Travel Insider


How much do you tip people while traveling?

As part of our annual fundraising drive, last week I compared The Travel Insider to a cup of coffee, as a way of establishing its value or worth.  I asked if your weekly Travel Insider experience is worth as much to you as what you might pay for a cup of coffee to sip while reading it?

This week I’ll compare it instead to a part of our traveling lives we are all familiar with – any service offered for free or included in some broader package, and which you choose to voluntarily tip the service provider.

Comparing The Travel Insider to a Hotel Housemaid

We recently discussed tipping housemaids in hotels, and in that respect, it seems Travel Insiders are much more generous than average – 52% of you either always or usually tip housemaids, and sometimes up to as much as $20/night.

So, may I ask those of you who tip housemaids to also consider tipping The Travel Insider?  If one considers the 52 weeks of the year, each with anywhere from one to four or five new articles published as somewhat akin to spending 52 nights in a hotel with between one and four guests in the room per night, what would be a fair amount to tip me, your ‘housemaid’?

Comparing The Travel Insider to a Concierge (or a Doorman or Porter)

Here’s an interesting article full of recommendations for how much to tip other people for other services.  The second page of it suggests not only $2 – $5 a day for housemaids, but also a similar amount if a doorman hails a cab, $2 – $3 per bag for a porter, and perhaps the most relevant item – $5 – $15 for hotel concierges.

For whatever reason, we unquestioningly press money into people’s hands for performing tasks that we many times can readily do ourselves (out of the list on the article’s page 2, I think I would rate ‘calling a cab’ as the most trivial, particularly when there is a line of cabs waiting to be signaled, parked just 20 yards away).  But please, I won’t be at all demeaned if you consider me the same as a hotel doorman or housemaid!

The Bottom Line on Tipping

As a New Zealander, ie coming from a country where tipping is not a part of our social gestalt, I still struggle with many of the issues associated with tipping.  But, to come back to the original point, how about, ahem, tipping me?  The tipping analogy is totally apt – the amount of income I receive without your support is dangerously close to minimum wage.  I need your support to be able to do my job – my job for you – properly.

52% of you tip housemaids.  May I ask the 52% of housemaid tippers, and the other 48% of readers in general, to please consider supporting The Travel Insider this year, so as to ensure there will still be a Travel Insider next year.  🙂

Lastly – You’re Always a Welcome Reader, Even If You Don’t Tip

One last point.  Unlike much ‘social tipping’ – ie in places where you’re in direct contact with the potential beneficiary of your generosity, and where you feel a social pressure obliging you to conform to social normals – there is no direct contact with me, and there is also no pressure on you.

The Travel Insider is and remains free to everyone.

If you can help ensure the continuation of this business and its business model, that is wonderful.  But if you can’t, or if you simply don’t want to, that is perfectly fine too.  Every year my fundraising drive results in a flood of people unsubscribing, presumably because they feel embarrassed about not participating.  Please don’t be embarrassed, please do stay and continue to enjoy our material, and of course, if you can help out, so much the better.

1 thought on “Tipping And The Travel Insider”

  1. Hi, David
    I really enjoy reading the Insider letter, and wanted to make sure to help you with your fund raising. Also since money is tight (being a travel agent), I thought of a great way to help both of us out.

    Everyone has those Visa/Ax gift cards laying around which they have used, but not quite spent all the money, but there is not enough to really do anything with, so you throw them in the drawer and forget about them (exactly what Visa/AX wants you to do).

    When I got the newsletter today I thought I need to make a contribution, and when I reached in to grab my credit card I saw one of those cards in my wallet. I called up to see the balance and it was just enough to buy some overpriced coffee (which I don’t drink) and that’s when the idea of using these small amounts hit me. So I made a contribution today of a small amount, but tonight when I get home I will pull out the other gift cards and make some more contributions.

    This way I get to clean my drawer of useless gift cards, and help you at the same time, so I can continue enjoy the newsletter.

    I’m sure if you mentioned in the next newsletter, everybody has a gift card sitting in a draw, that they could contribute.

    You may not want all the small contributions, but it’s an idea I throw out if you want to use it.
    Either way I enjoy the newsletter and will continue to contribute.

    Brian K.

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