About a year ago, I was on a press trip with three other journalists.
Our driver did a yeoman’s job of taking us places to get great stories and really amazing photographs.
He personally went out of his way many times for us, taking group pictures, working very long days, even lugging one writer’s camera equipment over muddy terrain.
When it came time to discuss a tip, two of the three other writers simply refused to contribute.
When I asked them why, they both dismissed it by saying they never tip on press trips.
“Our stories are the tips,” one said. “Really?” I asked. “For the spa treatments too? And what about the housekeeping staff?” One assured me that she always leaves change for the person who cleans her room.
But then the real reason came out.
“I don’t have any euros.” one said. The other admitted she didn’t even have dollars in her wallet. It astonished me to learn that they were both traveling with no cash they could use in the country we were visiting.
Before this, I had never heard of a travel writer traveling with no cash, assuming every single expense would be picked up by the host. These two were extreme.
But their cheapness raises a question.
Yes, as travel writers we often benefit from the hospitality of the countries we are visiting. But does that exempt us from even considering tipping the individuals that help us along the way? And what about the other expenses of travel that pop up? Do travel writers expect every single cup of coffee to be paid for? And what happens if you get separated from the group? Who will pay for you then?
If you cannot spend a couple hundred dollars for a week or two of a press trip, maybe it’s time to consider whether you should be going at all.
To be hosted is one thing. To be completely taken care of like a child is another.
How do you handle incidental expenses on a press trip? Share your advice!