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Here’s How You Can Avoid Automatic Tipping Charges When Traveling

By Kelsey Marie

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We are now living in the times of automatic tipping — luckily, we can do something about it.

Whether at pizza shops or bars, businesses are adding tips as a “convenience” charge. You can identify these charges by carefully looking at your bill; they’re usually stated in small print before your subtotal. 

When traveling to places outside of the city you live in, it’s especially important to pay close attention to your bill.

For example, in resort towns, like Las Vegas, service charges for drinks are commonly added. Even in other places that don’t automatically add tips, it can feel as though they are forcing you to tip. 

Wade Eyerly, CEO of an insurance company says he is especially annoyed with airport restaurants that ask for tips before you receive your food through payment apps like Square (tablet-based system). 

“It’s like a mob threat. Tip well, or who knows what happens, you know? But there’s no way for your tip to reflect the service,” says Eyerly to USA Today

Airports and resort towns may add tips automatically but the cruise industry takes the cake for aggressively auto-tipping. 

Carnival, Norwegian and Princess cruise lines all automatically add fees of up to $23 per person, per day to your bill, according to USA Today. The good thing is you can remove the tips while on the cruise, but once you leave the ship, it’s your loss. This affects many travelers since most people don’t look over their folio until after they leave, resulting in tipping twice. 

Of course, servers need tips, but when it’s automatically added, should travelers still leave a tip?

Wayland Eheart, a retired professor from Urbana, Illinois tells USA Today: “Tipping is another word for dishonest pricing. It’s a way to advertise prices that are lower than what you’ll actually pay. Tipping should not exist. If the salary of the provider is insufficient, raise it. And raise the price accordingly.”

Eheart has traveled quite a bit and has observed the way different countries tip. In Europe, most restaurants charge a “service charge” and additional tips aren’t expected. In Japan, there is no tipping at all. 

If you do see an automatic tip in your bill, there are things you can do. A tip is for a service, so if you weren’t satisfied with your service you shouldn’t feel pressured to tip. Ask to speak to a manager and express why you should have the automatic tip removed, as they are able to override the charge. 

If that doesn’t work, call your credit card company. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the right to remove these types of charges. 

At the end of the day, you have a right to chose whether or not to tip. 

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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