Tipping overseas guide for Australians: 10 mistakes to avoid mentions tipping cleaners:

Forgetting the cleaners

It seems ridiculous to you and me, but in the US, and Canada, and many parts of the Middle East, hotel guests are expected to leave money out – the equivalent of a few dollars per day – for the housekeeping team. You'll never see these people, but the cleanliness of your room will certainly increase with the more money you decide to leave.

How do you indicate what money is (and is not) intended as a tip to the cleaners in hotels and motels (in the United States if it needs to be narrowed down to a specific country)?

The question How to tip housekeeping in hotels if leaving tips daily? more or less answers my question, but doesn't address whether cleaning staff may inadvertently interpret money left lying around that wasn't meant as a tip as one.

  • @KateGregory well spotted - for some reason I'd seen travel.stackexchange.com/questions/48344/… but not that one, even though it was in the "linked" sidebar.
    – Golden Cuy
    Dec 5, 2015 at 23:19
  • See discussion in other threads' comments about tipping daily vs at end of stay, especially DJClayworth's; in my opinion, too, tipping at the end of the stay is fine and much simpler (I'd never even heard of tipping daily!)
    – Urbana
    Dec 6, 2015 at 0:52
  • Incredibly, I have now started seeing envelopes marked for this purpose in chain hotels, in this case, a Marriott. Dec 6, 2015 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


I'll refer to DJClayworth's answer in the other thread (to whom credit):

The best way to leave a tip is in cash and prominently with a note.

It's best to tip once at the end of the stay. It makes it more convenient for you, and for them. Don't worry about not getting the right person - it all averages out, and tips are frequently pooled anyway. However the rest of this answer applies if you are leaving tips daily.

Addressing your additional question about mistaking left cash: during your stay, if you leave any amount of cash during the day, it's highly unlikely housekeeping will interpret the money as a tip unless it's accompanied by a note. At the end of your stay, however, a note is not necessary: if you leave a moderate of cash (on the order of a few dollars per night) in a prominent place, housekeeping will assume it is a tip.

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