Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Planning How Much to Tip on Vacation

It's tip envelope day! I know that I've talked about making tip envelopes before, but it's that time again in my house, and so I thought I'd revisit it for those readers who have just joined us recently and show you how I do it!  

The first things I do is print off a copy of my vacation spreadsheet.  This is my go to tool for all of our vacation planning. I use a one page "at a glance" structure for my planning, that you can see in the below image. This spreadsheet lists every checkpoint in our vacation, where we need to be, with times and reservation numbers. For our upcoming trip we won't have housekeeping, so my anticipated tips will be for Magical Express, Bell Staff and Table Service meals. I take a marker and notate how much money I will need to tip for each situation.  Then I list it out how many of each type of envelope I will need.

Tip Envelope Spreadsheet
My previous post on tips has guidelines for who you should tip and how much to tip them.  Being on the Disney dining plan, we don't tend to pay attention to the amount that we would have spent on our check.  To figure out how much of a tip to put into our dining envelopes, I hit AllEars.net.  I've been using AllEars.net as a planning tool since 2000 and it's very much my go to resource when I want to know what's on the menu.  AllEars has a menu listing including prices for all of the Walt Disney World restaurants.  By looking up the menus and adding up the amount of money I think we'll spend (plus alcohol) I can guess at what sort of tip I'll need to leave.

Over the past several vacations I've noticed that I use some pretty standard tip amounts when traveling with 2 people.  $5 goes into the envelopes for the magical express and bell staff, $10 for breakfasts, $20 for table service lunches and $40 for signature dining experiences.  These amounts may seem high for you as we often order wine or cocktails with a meal.  You should figure out what amount will work best for your family.

Next I print our labels for the front of the envelopes with a couple of graphics and little note of thanks for the service.  This year I used the new DVC Mom logo for our envelope image.  Included in the design I usually add something that says "Tip Inside," because I have on occasion run into the odd cast member that just thought I was giving them a note.

envelope stickers

Finally I place the labels onto the envelopes and stuff them with the appropriate amount of money and seal them lightly. Handwritten on the back of the envelope I add a note stating where the tip should be used such as "Bell", "Boma", or "Magical Express. This way when I grab an envelope I'm sure that the appropriate amount is inside.

I then group my envelopes by the day that they'll be used. If you use the Passporter Guides, you can slip the tip envelopes into your pass pockets.  These days I use a document holder when traveling so I group all of my envelopes by the day that I will be using them and clip them together with a paperclip.  Then I stick them in my document case and I'm ready to go!

For more tipping tips, follow this link to my check out my original tip envelop post here!

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