Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tip Envelopes

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is just two weeks away, so I'm getting together all the details that need to be taken care of before I travel.  Today, was tip envelope day.  Tip envelopes are a great way to budget ahead of time for those little costs that can quickly add up.

When traveling to Disney, tips can be forecasted for budgeting fairly easily.  The first step is knowing who you plan on tipping.  I tip anyone who will handle my luggage, or clean up after me.  Second, you need to know how many times you will come into contact with someone in that position. For this trip I have to have a tip for:
  • Limo Driver
  • Magical Express Driver (x2)
  • Bell Hop (x4)
  • Housekeeping (x3 nights)
  • Waitstaff at Table Service 
How much to tip:  The amount of money that one pays service staff is a highly personal choice, and you should never be required to leave a tip, especially when you experience poor service.  The following guidelines for tipping are from EmilyPost.com.

$2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
$1-$2 for carrying luggage
$1-$2 for hailing cab
$1-$4 beyond the call of duty
$2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
$2-$5 per day, left daily
Taxi driver
Bar Tender
Table Service Waitstaff
15% plus an extra $1-$2 if helped with bags
$1 per drink
15-20% pre-tax"

I tip slightly differently, and usually a little on the higher side when on vacation.  The bonus of tip envelopes is that I can just grab one and know that there is an appropriate amount inside.  This keeps me from fumbling through cash in sometimes awkward places.  My rule of thumb for housekeeping is $5 per night for 1-2 people, $10 per night for 3-5 people.  Since I am traveling alone on this trip, I will be tipping the maid, bell hop, and magical express driver $5 per encounter.  This means that I need to make about nine, $5 envelopes.  For dinning, I usually search the menus and figure out about how much money I will spend, so that I can estimate a dinner tip. I often mark dinner tips with a different design on the front, so that I know what is in which envelope.

Grabbing a stack of small letter envelopes, I stuff them with the money and seal them, making a small note in pencil the amount inside.  On the front,  I stick a label that I have created to commemorate the trip.  The note usually has our family name and trip dates on it, with a note thanking the recipient for their service.  Service jobs are usually tedious, and thankless, it's important to let the magic makers know how much it means to you that they are there making your trip the best.  I've had several servers and bellman tell me how much they enjoy my personalized tip envelopes.  Several kids in the college program have even told me that the envelopes would be going into their scrap books.

This is my tip envelope label for Social Media Moms.


Homeschooler's Note: Get the kids involved in the process, with stickers and drawings.  Tip envelopes are fun for kids to decorate and help them to understand the act of tipping for service as well a budgeting before a trip.  The simple math that's used in creating tip envelopes lets kids practice their math skills with real world application.


  1. *hand on forehead*
    Why has it never occurred to me to plan out trip tips in advance?

  2. This is so delightful! What a great way to make this easy and love that you plan ahead and have them all ready to go ~ so gracious!

  3. Fantastic article and idea! I love making mousekeeping envelopes. I had forgotten about the ME driver, though, as we usually drive to WDW.

  4. Thanks so much for the feedback everyone! I hope that I've helped ease your travel and have some fun!