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Ask Miss Travel Manners: Going Medieval on the Bellhop

Do you have a question or comment about travel etiquette? Send it to Miss Travel Manners at editor@smartertravel.com.

Dear Miss Travel Manners,

We, not infrequently, travel to places with large airports and other venues where getting to and from hotels is a very physically challenging task. Sometimes this takes over an hour while carrying a full complement of luggage, laptops, briefcase, etc. After finally arriving at the hotel, some clown expects me to pay $2 a bag to move my things 50 feet to the desk! Not only do I not tip them (or let them take my stuff), it's almost impossible to keep myself from going medieval on them. When you show up at touchdown and grab my stuff from the overhead compartment and take it to the hotel, then you can expect a tip.

—Rick L.

***

Dear Rick,

It could be a challenge for a bellhop to leave the hotel, travel to the airport, board your plane, and identify and remove your luggage from the overhead compartment. His superior might wonder where's he gone off to. And he would have to find some way to evade airport security and make it onto the tarmac and into your plane without getting arrested or shot. Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies might make a decent bellhop. Or maybe Neo from The Matrix. They would deserve a $2 tip.

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But until the Marriott accepts Neo's application, you'll have to deal with the system as it stands. Bellhops are eager to "move your things 50 feet" the moment you enter the lobby because they want to earn a living. How else will they maintain their indoor swimming pools filled with cash?

If bellhops didn't work for tips, many hotels, especially those in the U.S., might need to pay them more. Consequently, properties would likely jack up room rates in order to pass the extra costs onto guests; that's usually the way things work in the travel industry.

But for now it's your prerogative to choose not to use the bellhop's optional services and to hold on tightly to your $2. Avoid him gracefully by issuing a polite "no thank you." That should do the trick. There's no need to embarrass yourself by coming unglued in the hotel lobby on the first day of your vacation. Why get so upset?

Or do your blood pressure—and the bellhops of the world—a favor. Book accommodations at places that don't employ bellhops, like vacation rentals or B&Bs.

For more information about tipping, download our free tipping guide. (But please don't go all medieval on us.)

—Miss Travel Manners

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(Photo: Shutterstock/Levent Konuk)

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