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HomeNoticias RecientesTraveler’s tale, Tips on tipping

Traveler’s tale, Tips on tipping

Now that some airlines in some countries are starting to charge for meals that they once offered for free, a few passengers are wondering whether the flight attendants that serve them will expect a tip. For the moment, the answer is no, although we are living in changing times. The driver of the shuttle that transports you from the airport to your airport hotel expects, or at least hopes for, a tip.

He may even have a sign somewhere indicating this. So what about the driver of the airplane? An offer of a tip probably would be greeted with horror.

Understandably, travelers are confused. A taxi driver in Mexico usually would be pleasantly surprised to receive a tip. A taxi driver in New York would be unpleasantly surprised if one were not offered.

How is one to know?


Not that the answers always are enlightening. “If you feel that the service merits a reward, by all means leave a little something, whatever amount you feel would be correct,” is a frequent reply. That tells you nothing.

Novices on a cruise ship may be surprised to learn that before they debark they are expected to contribute one hundred dollars or more to cover gratuities for the crew. Many cruise lines, aware of this unawareness, now specify what is expected (remember that it is not obligatory) and allow tips to be charged to a credit card.

A tip is expected for service at a spa. In some places, it is added to the bill (you still have the option of paying less, paying more or paying nothing at all). In others it is not. Ask. Chambermaids, I learn, hope to be tipped ten or twenty pesos a day at the better hotels in Mexico and a like amount on the rest of the continent, but there are exceptions. At an all-inclusive resort, tips supposedly are included in the total price. Bellmen, for example, appear to be unaware of the situation. Las Brisas in Acapulco prohibits tipping, but adds a service charge which presumably will be distributed among the staff.

The general rule in the Americas is a 15 percent tip at restaurants, which can be confusing in Mexico, where IVA already and invisibly has been added into the total price. And what is the correct tip at a buffet where the customer serves himself? In Japan, Korea and other Asian countries, a tip is considered insulting. In China, attitudes are changing. Not long ago, accepting a tip was illegal. Now, according to tour operators, tips generally are anticipated. Australians and New Zealanders never were accustomed to leaving tips, but foreign tourism has changed expectations in their hospitality industry. In most European countries, a service charge is added to a restaurant bill, but more generally is expected.

Purists bemoan the entire practice of tipping, comparing it to bribery, which, in a manner of speaking, it is. In English, the term “tip” supposedly is an acronym for “To Insure Promptness.”  In other words, it is a means of insuring that your luggage will arrive in your room quickly or that your meal will be served the same day. The theory is groundless, since tips usually are proffered after the service has been provided.

More realistically, tips allow those in the hospitality industry to advertise  what are, in truth, unrealistically low prices, with the customer covering separately  most of the labor costs. The workers benefit the most from the practice, since they  supposedly get to keep all the money they collect, rather than sharing it with their employer, their union or their government. Supposedly.

This still leaves the traveler in a quandary. You may know what is expected at home, but what about when you arrive in Havana or Hong Kong? Your travel agent should be able to give you good advice. I found that the Internet only confuses. In the end, however, remember that tipping is voluntary, not obligatory, and that foreigners hardly can be expected to be aware of local customs. When in doubt, you always can be miserly and perhaps even get away with it.


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Dimension Turistica ® - México - Conectando al Mundo.






Sr. Xavier Orizaga


Ayer, 28 de mayo de 2018, partió en su viaje final, un gran personaje de la industria turística, del periodismo, Xavier Orizaga, con “X”, XO.

Fue su madre, quien puso la semilla que años después despertara en él su interés por el periodismo de sociales, era ella quien cuando tan sólo era un niño, le leía las historias de la revista Hola! y le hablaba de las familias de abolengo, la realeza y las espectaculares fiestas que ellos hacían. Fue así como un día se convirtió en periodista de sociales y durante más de una década

Y quizá por ello fueron las grandes fiestas, el champagne, la buena mesa, las mujeres y los viajes sus grandes pasiones. Aunque también quien lo conoció de cerca, supo que detrás de su aparente mal carácter, su agrio sentido del humos y su modo quejumbroso, había un hombre que a su estilo buscaba ayudar siempre a quien podía.

Cuando en 1988 lanzó la primer edición de Dimensión Turística, él sabía que sería un éxito, pero nunca imaginó cuánta gente escribiría e iniciaría una carrera desde sus filas.

Su columna XO, sin duda siempre fue de las más las leídas, las estrellas de la industria tenían que estar ahí, siempre tenía la última noticia, el comentario mordaz, la historia que contar.

Y cómo olvidar el lanzamiento de Le Must XO, que lo llevaría a cumplir el sueño que alguna vez pudo tener al escuchar las historias de su madre… conocer grandes personalidades, artistas, embajadores, presidentes e incuso hasta la realeza, ya que por más de 5 años fue el único periodista mexicano invitado al “Baile de la Rosa” y al “Baile de la Cruz Roja” en el Principado de Mónaco.

Hay tantas historias que contar de él y seguramente, quienes estén leyendo estas líneas tendrán más de una que vendrá a su mente. Hoy hay que recordarlo como el maestro, el “Bon vivant”, el amigo, el periodista, el padre, el abuelo, que sin duda hoy parte dejando un legado y una gran ausencia. ¡Buen Viaje Xavier Orizaga, Mr. XO!