Should you do it?

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We’re obsessed with all things etiquette. Have a question? We have the answer. Because etiquette practices change in ways big and small with the passing of the years, it’s important to stay abreast of the most recent iterations of accepted codes of conduct. One of our most recent etiquette questions broaches the topic of tipping at bed and breakfasts. Should you tip the proprietor? Is it required? Do you know the answer? Read on so that you can avoid any tipping faux pas the next time you book a stay at a B&B.

The number one question we receive on B&B etiquette is: Should you tip the owner? The owner of a B&B usually wears many hats. They’re host, front desk attendant, and cook, for starters. They welcome you, tidy up, and make you feel at home. We think that it’s a generous move to tip the proprietor upon departure. It's not required, but if they’ve made a positive difference in your stay, you should show your appreciation with a modest tip. Or a big one—your call. (You may even want to write a thank-you note.)

If there are other employees at the bed and breakfast doing the cooking, serving, valet parking, and/or housekeeping, you should tip each of these employees once they’ve assisted you. Valet returns your car? Tip them. Bellhop dropped your bags off at the room? Offer a tip. Server brings you the check? They deserve a tip too. It's a good idea to keep a stash of $1 bills so that you can easily access them for tips. Depending on the service, the typical tipping range is from $2-$5 (valets, bellhops, housekeepers) or 20% of the bill (servers). Each employee who provides a service to you should be tipped. (Did you know that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the minimum required cash wage is $2.13 for tipped employees? Always leave a tip.)  

The last word on tipping is always: Yes, just do it. Don’t assume it’s extraneous, because tips can add up. They can make a big difference in the lives of the people who are working hard to make your stay a good one.

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What’s your opinion on tipping at B&Bs? Where will your travels take you to next?