While a sun holiday is all about relaxation, it’s possible to be too relaxed while soaking up the sun.
Each destination has its own customs and laws and it can be easy to inadvertently make a mistake, even for seasoned travellers. In addition, travellers staying at resorts can sometimes be unsure of how much – or who – to tip, or if the practice is even accepted at a particular property.
As your clients prepare to head south this winter, here’s some handy travelling tips they can pack with their sunglasses and swimsuits.
Tipping at resorts
Unsure about how much to tip at the resort? In the Caribbean, use the following guidelines: $1 per bag for bag attendants; $1-$2 per couple for shuttle drivers; $5 per day for housekeeping staff (be sure to tip daily as you won’t have the same housekeepers each day!); $1-$2 per group drink order for bartenders; $5 per couple for tour guides.
Even if gratuities are already included in the price of your resort stay, extra tipping can help secure exceptional service. However, be sure to know the tipping policy of your resort, as some properties do not permit staff to accept tips. In that case, compliment a staff member who did an outstanding job – management takes notice and it will likely help them progress in their career!
While small gifts left for resort staff – items such as candy or plush toys – are certainly appreciated, a cash tip for great service is much more useful to hospitality workers – plus it’s easier to pack! If you want to say thanks with a tangible gift, consider donating through a charitable organization like Pack For A Purpose, which allows travellers to donate needed items to schools and community groups in various destinations.
Clothing with consequences
If you’re travelling to the Caribbean, leave the camouflage clothing at home, as it’s illegal for civilians to wear camo patterns in the following destinations: Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Dominica; Grenada; Jamaica; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Trinidad & Tobago.
Pack the swimwear for the pool or the beach, but if you’re going into town, be sure to put your clothes back on: it’s considered rude in many countries to wear a bathing suit outside of the water.
Other fun facts
When buying sunscreen for your trip, consider a product free from oxybenzone and octinoxate, as the two chemicals are known to harm coral reefs and aquatic life. Sunscreens containing these chemicals have been banned in Bonaire and Key West as well as parts of Mexico, particularly regions containing ecologically-sensitive waterbodies such as cenotes.
Your waiter in Mexico won’t bring you the cheque until you’re ready – it would be considered rude! You’ll have to make the request yourself: “la cuenta, por favor.”
Leave the weed at home: while cannabis may now be legal in Canada, it’s still illegal to transport across international borders, such as through air travel. In addition, cannabis remains a controlled substance in many other destinations, including most of the Caribbean, so if you don’t know the local laws, don’t partake while travelling.
Written by Blake Wolfe for PAX.