Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Should you tip campground workers?

I’ll admit it. I am not a good tipper. I think it’s mostly because I never know how much to tip. I’m not good at figuring math inside my head and can never remember if tips should be 15%, 25%, or 35% of any given bill. I never worked as a waiter/waitress, either, so I have no idea how the hourly-plus-tips arrangement works. So, I defer to my husband. He more than makes up for my deficiency. So, here’s our conundrum: Do you tip campground workers?

Should you tip these types of campground workers?

  • Site guide. The person who leads you to your campsite and helps you park your rig (if you want or need assistance). On occasion, we’ve really relied on our site guide. Like times when we’ve pulled into a new-to-us campground in the dark. Or when our assigned site is narrow with big rigs already parked all around our spot. I remember one especially tricky parking challenge where the guy more than deserved a tip! But because I was a nervous wreck by the time we finally got our RV situated, tipping never entered my mind.
  • Office help. There’s the gal at the office desk who arranged for us to move to a vacated spot in the shade. It was hot and extremely humid. Extremely. Humid. And hot. That’s usually no problem, but our air conditioner wasn’t working. At the time, the campground’s pool was closed due to COVID, and we were miserable! The office gal heard about our plight and approached us with the idea of moving once the current site holders moved on down the road. Of course, we jumped at the chance to have some shade. This kind woman’s thoughtfulness saved our vacation that year. Did we tip? Erm, well … no. (We said “Thanks so much!” Does that count?)
  • Over-the-top service. Then there was the worker who saw us fiddling with our propane tanks. We realized that both tanks were nearly empty. As we discussed what to do since the farm supply store (the only source of propane in the area) was closed for the day, the guy brought an “extra” full tank for us to use—for free! We returned the tank—minus the propane we’d used—when we left the following day. The guy happily waved as we drove off. Don’t even ask. No, we didn’t tip. We offered our genuine and effusive thanks, of course, but no money exchanged hands.

You’re probably thinking one of two things—either “Tip at a campground? Never heard of such a thing.” Or “What cheapskates!” But here’s the thing: I’ve never seen anyone tip or attempt to tip the campground workers. Never. Most times the parking helper rides off in the golf cart before I can reach for my purse. I know many campground workers volunteer and receive a “free” RV site as payment, so do they hope for tips to compensate monetarily? I simply don’t know.

To tip or not to tip?

Maybe you have some insight for us. Perhaps you’ve worked or volunteered at a campground and can tell us what’s expected as far as a tip. If you’ve tipped a campground worker, I’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments below. Also, please vote in the poll below.

How much is an appropriate tip if there’s no formal “bill” from which to figure a tip amount? Is tipping expected in the places you’ve visited? Is leaving a tip a relatively new thing for campgrounds in general? Or did I miss the memo about tipping? I’m eager to hear your opinions!



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16 days ago

I think tipping has gone overboard in this country. I will tip workers who rely on tips as part of their salary and who earn the tip. But nobody else. I am a workamper who works 20hrs/week for a site and hookups. I am retired so do workamping to stay busy and meet people, not to rely on the money. So definitely no to tipping in any form to workampers.

18 days ago

I don’t tip anyone except wait staff and only if it is good service. You knew the wages when you took the job. If it is your job to do something why should I tip. I worked over 40 yrs as a registered nurse. I never got tipped, it wasn’t allowed, and I put up with a lot of {bleeped}. That was my job. The hotel staff cleaned my room and left mints on my pillow, that’s her job. I’m not tipping. I don’t know where all the tipping started but it has gone way overboard. You shouldn’t have to tip for services someone chose to do. I am on SS also and can’t afford to pay tips to everyone.

20 days ago

I haven’t in the past in a campgound, but I think it “could depend”; certainly, I have tipped in some circumstances that are not normally tipped, but I felt were over and above.

21 days ago

We have a favorite state park that we use for long weekend trips during the summer, always bring cookies into the camp office when checking in…the staff love it and we were remembered by some of the grounds people. You brought those great cookies is what we heard from them. Doesn’t cost us much and they appreciate the thought (and cookies)

22 days ago

There should be no tips for anyone in any job. Employers should pay a fair wage for the job and not artificially keep prices low with low wages, expecting the customer to pay that business expense after presenting the bill. Employees should not have to rely on the good will of the customer to make their paychecks. (That said, I do tip. My personal opinion is not the conventional way of doing things.)

Steve olenburger
22 days ago

As a former resort and RV campground owner/operator. Having a paid staff on my payroll, tips weren’t expected. I built the business from the ground up, with the philosophy that my guest weren’t there for me. But we were there for them. They were on vacation or holiday and were paying me to be my guest. It was engrained with my staff, if a guest has any request for anything, be it provide them with extra assistance or whatever the case may be. They were to do whatever it took to make sure that our guest were happy and taken care of.
I had the same staff that worked for me every year and knew my philosophy. I also had the same guest returned every year. Because of the level of service we provided them. Our guest were never expected to tip, just as the staff never expected a tip. If a guest wanted to tip them, it was expressed that a tip isn’t necessary. If the guest insisted on giving them one, they were to graciously accept it and thank them. All guest were treated equally.

22 days ago

As the 1st post and the 100th post on this subject, i have learned that some RVers tip and some don’t. Some tip well, others think it’s crazy to tip at all. Seems like a very personal thing.

I just say if you feel someone earned an extra attaboy, tip them if you choose to. If you think they are just being mooches, don’t tip them.

I’ll continue to be a generous tipper either way. I tipped the semi driver 100 bucks 2 hours ago for driving through the snow with my important cargo coming from southern California, through the snow storms yesterday and today. He earned it.

Doug Smith
23 days ago

I helped some folks out of a difficult situation that they created for themselves. After awhile, they knocked and offered to pay me. I said absolutely not, I was happy to help and they should just pay it forward by helping when they get the opportunity. RVing is not about monetary gain, it about enjoying your trip and the folks you meet along the way.

Bob Harrelson
23 days ago

I’ve campground hosted. I’ve been a site cleaner. I’ve also been the guy that directs you to your site and guides you in. This has always been a volunteer job which I get a free site in exchange for the service I provide. I never really thought about getting a tip or giving a tip when I’m the guy just camping. But, now you’ve got me thinking. I’m not big on giving tips myself. So I just never thought about giving the guy who cleaned my fire ring a tip. I have on the other hand thought about giving a piece of my mind to the guy before me who left a mess.

23 days ago

People who camp are very nice people for the most part. They have children they have dogs they keep their tow vehicle shiny they smoke many are overweight, and most are very frugal! Natalie and I have been parking our vehicle at a beautiful campground in the state of Pennsylvania for many years we have a local gentleman deliver wood to us. He charges $45. Because he stacks it and it’s so nice and it’s always warm, we give them $65! People who work in a campground ajust like people who work in a restaurant. They deserve a tip! Not sometimes, but all the time, especially if they go out of your way their way for you. The comments I read above are absolutely appalling, but not surprising. we have found that most people who camp are not even middle-class people and perhaps this is why they take for granted some of the wonderful kindness that is campground workers provide. So the bottom line… That we always say thank you with a Wallet in addition to our mouth! It is most appropriate !!!!!!!

21 days ago
Reply to  MSR

I agree !!!

23 days ago

Tipping culture in this country is out of control and needs to die. I tip for table service, cab drivers, and other traditional tipping occupations. I will not tip at a credit card payment kiosk (what do people who pay cash do?), and I have never tipped at a campground.
And before someone comments, “well, you’ve never worked in the service industry!”, I worked 24 years as a maintenance supervisor for a large apartment complex and in all those years I was never tipped, nor did I expect one. I was well-paid, with benefits and I did my job.

Steven N
22 days ago
Reply to  Billinois

Well said! I’m sure that we are not the only people that have had it “up to here” with the out of control tipping expectations. Just this weekend my wife and I were at the RV and Boat show in Omaha, NE and purchased a bottle of overpriced water. They only took cards and the lady had the nerve to point out the tipping options on the kiosk. Needless to say I didn’t leave a tip!

22 days ago
Reply to  Steven N

I hate those electronic systems that precalculate the tip choices they recommend you consider. The assumption of a tip at every transaction on life is outlandish. Next thing the meter reader at your house will give you his recommended tip sheet.

I tip well when it is earned. Seldom when it’s solicited.

Last edited 22 days ago by Cancelproof
23 days ago

Every public park we worked/volunteered with had strict rules about accepting tips. However, we did get formal recognitions for “above and beyond” service and quite a few invitations to a meal, baked goods, or a pot of homemade soup.

When we were work campers, some of the park staff and local volunteers were planting a garden outside of the visitor center. We were staffing the store at the time. My husband picked up a few beverages from the cooler and offered them…on our dime. The volunteers accepted but the staff were very hesitant. He eventually convinced them it was okay…and that the drinks had been properly paid for!

Steve and Erin Davis
23 days ago

We have never really “tipped” a campground employee. We have been known leave treats at the office or birthday cards to show our appreciation.

23 days ago

I am blessed to have a campground in Florida that I routinely stay at for 2 months every year. The staff always goes above and beyond, and they have become like family. At the end of my stay I always give the dock workers a good tip, even though I have my own kayak and don’t rent a boat. The dock workers will see me coming in from a late paddle and just walk down and pick my boat up and carry it for me.
The office staff is also wonderful as are the maintenance guys. They always have a cheerful word for me and a dog biscuit for my dog. I love finding special gifts for all the staff here. On really busy weekends, I go to the local donut shop for donuts and bring them back to the office and to the dock. I know how hard they work and I know what a wonderful job they do and I have also got in the face of more than one person who has started acting abusive to them. Staff have rules and regulations that they must follow and some jerks get mad because the staff can’t break the rules.

23 days ago
Reply to  Cindy

You should Pat yourself on the back!!! Based on the majority of camper comments I have read,, most are typical of the average camper!!! Giving a cookie or just saying Thanks, when a worker goes out of their way for you , is CHEAP!!!! I have read, with a lot of laughter, many of the comments people make about tipping I simply excuses, and people who simply like to hear themselves say nothing!. So good for you. When somebody delivers a propane tank, the war, trailer, or helps us take a wind blown canopy to the dumpster, we become very thankful and generous as well.

suzanne Ferris
23 days ago

Random acts of kindness make the world go round! I remind myself that I’m lucky having a life partner with the ‘resources’ to share without needing it to be justified in anyway. His largesse makes my life happier.

23 days ago

I have never thot of tipping a full waged employee. I only tip food service servers because their wages are below minimum wage. In Florida, anyway, actual Min Wage is $11.00 and hour but Min Wage for food servers is $7.98 an hour. It used to be 50% of actual Min Wage. For whatever reason this is historic in the USA. I, and my daughter as well, were servers while in college Please tip your food server well. Others are full wage earners and don’t need tipping for doing their job. I know it is similar in at least some other states.

23 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

Wow, waitressing in FL gets $7.98! When I waitress back in early 2000’s my minimum wage was $2.01 but my tips were great. Things have changed.

Diane McGovern
23 days ago
Reply to  Dorrie

Hi, Dorrie. That reminds me of when I was working weekends and summers while in junior high and high school. I worked at the concession stand at Green Lake in Seattle for $1/hr. I got an offer to work at the concession stand at the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, for $1.10/hr. Couldn’t pass up that big raise! My babysitting wages while in junior high were 25 cents/hr. before midnight and 35 cents/hr. after midnight. (I’m 76, BTW. So those wages were many decades ago.) Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com

23 days ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

Just reminded me. One of my jobs in college was pumping gas, washing windshields checking oil and water and tires, all for $1.00 an hour, No one ever tipped me. Cooked and waited tables. Cleaned the theater for watching the movie for free. Did laundry for other students and ironed pants for 10 cents and shirts for 15 cents. Yep all those jobs. I guess I didn’t have time for school and why I flunked out. Oh well … Memories of growing up.

Diane McGovern
23 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

Work ethics, Kelly. Just expected way back when. But I think they’re becoming less and less expected these days; in fact, maybe just the opposite. Sad. Have a good afternoon/evening. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com

Dan Bowles
23 days ago

I am always prepared to tip at a campground……if a worker goes above and beyond. So many examples noted here are expected services and would not warrant a tip. The example of providing a full propane tank when the camper ran out, definitely! I don’t fuss with % calculations. What ever seems appropriate.

23 days ago

Nope – no tipping. I worked in RV parks/campgrounds for years and was never tipped. Our compensation for working was plenty. If it was not we would have looked elsewhere for a job.

I think this country has gone overboard on tipping. Wages are up with many areas getting $15 an hour or more. I rarely go to restaurants now because the expected tip is 20% or more. 10% was hard to come up with on a fixed income. Now they are talking of tipping fast food staff. Worst part about tipping is: many places now pool tips and divvy up among all the staff – good and bad ones.

23 days ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

I agree. It’s out of hand. Why should I pay extra for you to do your job you are already getting paid to perform.

Randall Stapleton
23 days ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

Agree, let the owner or manager figure out the pay. If they can’t, they won’t be in business long.

B O'Neil
23 days ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

We personally hand a cash tip to the server and thank them. They can keep the tip for themselves or share it with other staff should they choose to. “Equity” has no place in this environment.

Mary D
23 days ago

We have been working in campgrounds for 6 years and I have been offered a tip twice for service above and beyond expectations. But both times were at state parks and we are not allowed to accept tips. On the other hand I have been verbally abused twice by unhappy campers. All I ask is to be treated with respect and an occasional “thank you”. The parks like good reviews but I never see them.

BTW pay at most private RV parks is between $10 and $15 per hour plus a free site and sometimes other perks.

24 days ago

The best tip you can give is a great review

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