Are You a Budget-Savvy Traveler, or Just a Cheapskate?

Budget travelNowhere is the old adage "A penny saved is a penny earned" more true than when on the road. From avoiding excessive airline fees to finding the best hotel with the most amenities, careful budgeting and planning can stretch the travel dollar far enough to pay for a second trip.

Eating at a food truck to save money on meals? Completely acceptable. Playing dodge and tackle with a bellhop to avoid tipping? Not so much. But a new study by Tingo Travels (a TripAdvisor company) shows that 50 percent of travelers do just that. It found that 25 percent never tip housekeeping, and 60 percent think hotels shouldn't offer expedited airport security access.

And whether hotel guests realize it or not, those crazy fees for room service that include gratuity often never reach the wait staff who delivers the meal. Especially in cases where the hotel and restaurant are run by separate owners, that 20 percent gratuity passes between the hotel and restaurant management, and rarely trickles down.

In other words, not tossing in a few pesos or euros on top of the bill is the same as stiffing.

The Worst Offenses

Even with careful budgeting, a peaceful getaway can be ruined by long airport waits, screaming and unruly children, or a drooling, leaning, sleep-talking seatmate.

According to the Tingo Travels study, 47 percent of passengers think misbehaving children are the worst travel offense, and 58 percent want child-free zones on flights.

Just 9 percent of passengers think that frequent fliers should not get expedited security clearance; another 9 percent are only after peace and quiet, admitting they've checked into a hotel for the sole purpose of getting away from a significant other.

Sometimes, It Is the Journey

There's no question that traveling can be a stressful, bare-knuckles, frustrating experience. The destination is hopefully worth it, but getting there and home with sanity intact can test the nerves of even the most seasoned traveler.

Whether it's keeping your kids from running rampant on a flight or remembering to tip housekeeping, a little courtesy makes things smoother for everyone. Because while "A penny saved is a penny earned" might be true, another adage holds truer: "Treat others as you'd want to be treated."

Motley Fool contributing writer Molly McCluskey recently traveled around the world and dealt with screaming children on planes, excessive layovers, drooling sleep-talker seatmates, and more airline food than anyone should ever eat. She tweets about travel and finance @MollyEMcCluskey.

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I've never heard of tipping for housekeeping (that would be like tipping the hotel bookkeeper--how do you find them and how do you make sure that the person who provided the service actually gets the tip?). I also don't understand the concept of "resort fees" or even "parking fees." Huh? Resorts charge too much to start with and parking is a customer expectation.
We just drive instead of flying now. If you have to be to the airport 2 hours before departure, deal with long lines, groping from TSA, and fees for everything needed to make a flight bearable then any drive within 8 hours from our home is a better deal.

December 04 2012 at 5:47 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

If your paying more than $150 for a room, per night, they should be paying housekeeping a decent salary.

December 04 2012 at 4:51 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I used to tip housekeeping $5 to $10 per day of my stay. I stopped tipping after the unionized help reelected Harry Reid and especially after they reelected Obama. Why should I support the very people that have painted a target on my back, demand my money and call me a racist? Never again.

December 04 2012 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you think for one second, I am going to tip housekeeping after what they charge for rooms you were born yesterday. If I have a short flight, less than two hours, I will go cheap. A longer flight, I will spend the extra money for legroom, and coast to coast I fly business. It has nothing to do with being cheap, it is practical.

December 04 2012 at 9:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jhrooney's comment

No, you are cheap. I always tip the maids directly. It doesn't matter what the hotel charges, the maids deserve a tip if they do a good job.

December 04 2012 at 9:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply