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Where's My Tip - a cashless way to tip when you travel
Tipping when you're traveling can be an uncomfortable situation. For example, you get to a foreign country and, exhausted, you have to get cash and get it changed into small bills or coins immediately so that you can tip whoever takes your bag when you get to the hotel. Half the time, you don't even know what an appropriate tip is in that country (I always ask the exchange teller if I've forgotten to Google it), and the other half of the time you forget completely and all you have in your wallet is a $20 bill. Even on a domestic trip, having nothing but a $20 bill is a dilemma.
Where's My Tip is a new company which aims to solve these problems. Upon joining, you get a small box of 100 cards slightly taller and less wide than business cards which say "You've just been tipped!" Instructions on the card direct the holder to WheresMyTip.com, where they can click "Request a Tip" and enter the unique ID number on the card.
After the request has been filed with your unique ID number, you will be emailed a PayPal invoice for the amount specified by the tipee. PayPal takes their cut, of course. You will also have the option to modify the amount; if they request a $400 tip, you obviously don't have to pay it.
There are clearly some kinks to be worked out; I'm sure that the valet at a restaurant would rather the $20 bill than a card with instructions on it. Also, this won't work in parts of the world where people aren't hip to the PayPal thing (though that number is always shrinking). Still, this is an innovation we could see growing into, at the very least, a great backup for when you have no tipping cash on you, and maybe, one day, an alternative to carrying cash when you travel at all. Additionally, if someone, like the concierge, gives you service over and above what you have in your wallet, this is a great way to get them that $50 you'd like to give.
We recommend tipping a couple of dollars extra with these, since the tipees have to go online to get their tip.
Membership at WheresMyTip is $100 per year and comes with 100 tip cards per year. Currently, membership is by invitation only. Click here to apply for a membership.
[Photo by Annie Scott]