Today specifically I'll be focusing on money and tipping.
|PS I had some yummy dim sum at Jade Villa in Virginia Beach last weekend!|
Always tip at sit-down restaurants. If you can't afford tip, you can't afford to eat there, simple as that. You wouldn't buy a car and then not pay for gas. Tip should not be an additional cost, it should be a factor from the get-go. I'd say for decent service, I always tip around 20%, for less than average 10-15%. Unless you were personally offended by the level of service you received, there is really no excuse for not paying tip. Many of your friends who have worked in the food service industry will tell you that it sucks, it's hard, it's painful, and it doesn't pay well.
Leave a tip for the cleaning service people at hotels. We're at an age where we can (and quite honestly should when the opportunity presents itself) travel without parents or chaperones. We're adults and we can hang with friends and go on adventures! But we need to act like it. Always leave a tip for the cleaning people. I typically leave it on the nightstand with a quick thank you note written on the hotel stationery. My grandmother was part of the housekeeping staff at a variety of hotels etc. to try to help support the family when my mother was growing up. Like food service, you need to really tip housekeeping because what they do is hard and they are underpaid given the amount of labor they have to put in. I try to leave a ten for short stays.
On the subject of hotels, always strip the bed before you check out! This is something that is really not hard to do. Just strip the bed-- sheets, pillowcases, everything, and leave it in a pile on the bed. It saves the housekeeping people a lot of time and effort. They really will truly appreciate it. You had an awesome adventure and they helped make it that way, so help them out and save them a little time and sweat. It's not hard and you'll feel good about it!
If you get the opportunity to go somewhere and get something for free, try to make sure that's not the only thing you buy! For example, if you go to a store because you have gotten a coupon to get a certain item for free, don't get just that item. More importantly this is true at food places. Sometimes fast food joints, restaurants, and other eateries will have some sort of promotion that will get you a free something. A free burger, a free bag of chips, whatever. I once went to a place on my birthday because they offered a free dinner on your birthday-- but I also bought 3 desserts-- one for me and two to take home for my friends, and a drink. I ended up paying about $30 that night (I gave a very good tip because the waitress was so nice to me), even though I could have just eaten the dinner, drank a water, and left for $5 (because once again, no matter what you can't just not pay tip), but they ran the promotion hoping that I'd at least bring friends with me who would spend money. I didn't, because it was a pretty nice place and I wasn't going to ask a friend to buy a $30 meal so I wouldn't be alone for an hour. It's a little tacky to walk in, get something for free, and walk out. It's a little bit different for stores giving away free promotional items (like sample sizes, small lip gloss samples, etc.) which they make with the intent to give them away for free, and most places qualify free-stuff-getting with a minimum purchase-- and if they don't, you should.
If you're going to go out to eat, go out to eat-- and if you can't, don't. My mother and father had a friend in their college years who always wanted to hang out with everyone, but didn't have the money for certain things. Instead of sitting one out when money was tight, he would insist on going, even invite himself to go places, and then would make everyone feel very uncomfortable by quite literally asking for the scraps without paying for anything. They'd go to an Asian restaurant together and the wouldn't be able to pay-- he'd just sit there and then ask if the could have the bits no one wanted like the fish eyes or any leftover rice anyone had. When they ordered pizza he wouldn't chip in-- but he'd ask for everyone's unwanted crust. He felt too guilty to take the slice offered to him, but he'd ask for the scraps instead. People started to not want to invite him places because A- he clearly did not have the money and B- it was extremely uncomfortable when he did go. You will make people uncomfortable by resorting to such tactics. You shouldn't be eating out anyway, but now people have a very poor opinion of you.
So that's about it for part one! Thanks for reading, and I hope this clears up some stuff for you. Comment below if you have any other tips or have thoughts on mine.