usa – Why must hotel customers check out after a stay longer than a rather low number of days in the United States?

This appears to be related to the COVID eviction moratorium:

(I)t is critical to protect tenants and residents of traditional dwellings from homelessness, as well as those who have lawfully occupied or resided in less traditional dwelling situations for 14 days or more, whether or not documented in a lease, including but not limited to roommates who share a home; long-term care facilities; transient housing in hotels and motels; “Airbnbs”; motor homes; RVs; and camping areas …

As to why this measure was taken in Seattle but not in California, I can only speculate. Seattle has experienced a higher-than-average level of homelessness over the past several years, in no small part due to soaring real estate prices. It may be that a significant number of people in Seattle rely on cheap hotel/motel stays for temporary shelter when they lose their homes (due to rent increases, eviction, condo conversions, etc.), and it was felt that evicting such people would be bad for public health. But again, this is just speculation on my part.

It appears that in “normal” times in Washington State, the line between “transient accommodations” such as hotels and actual full-on rentals (with the additional protections so implied) is 30 days, not 14. See WACS 246-360-001, which defines transient accommodations as any facility offering stays to guests for less than 30 days.

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usa – Do some Schengen area countries share entry-exit data with the United States automatically?

As a follow-up to this question I asked a while back, a recent article on QZ claims

Despite holding valid visas and proof of being out of a restricted area for more than 14 days, some travelers are being denied boarding at Dubrovnik’s airport. They are receiving little explanation as to why, other than it is the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that is not granting them permission to travel to the US.

What is happening appears to be nothing more than a glitch, and travelers who have been denied visa clearance were eventually allowed on later flights (…)

As I mentioned in my previous question, this claim seems true, as it happened to a friend.

The article then quotes the CEO of APEX:

Joe Leader (…) believes European citizens leaving the Schengen areas and eventually heading to the US might not have their passport correctly scanned when leaving the Schengen area, even if they request a stamp, because that is not routine for European passports.

The lack of an electronic record delays the time CBP needs to verify the European citizens meet the requirements to travel.

How likely is it that this is the issue? I thought until EES comes into service, even Schengen area countries do not have an electronic way to check entry-exit records for other Schengen countries. Does the US CBP really have access to electronic Schengen exit records?

❕NEWS – Cryptocurrency fraud by ex-Man united player |

There are many concerns when it comes to cryptocurrency and one of the main concerns is that there is no traceability when it comes to these coins and as a result it makes it easier for people to conduct illegal activities without being held accountable for their actions. Recently a news article shows that an ex soccer player for the Manchester United English football club, has been charged with money laundering via cryptocurrency, with the money laundering scheme yielding as much as 5.5 million dollars. This is a massive hit to the upward struggle of legalizing cryptocurrency as news like this just goes to reaffirm the risks or cryptocurrency. What are your thoughts on this?

How strict is United Airlines First Class with carry-on luggage size?

How strict is United Airlines First class with carry-on luggage size?

I have a laptop bag which I measured using tape and it fits within dimensions they mentioned in their website for carry-on item. I am still worried since I am not exactly sure how will they make sure carry-on luggage is of the desired size?

I don’t want to convert it into check-in luggage because besides laptop contains important items like my passport. Can I use carry a folder as my personal item in the worst case scenario?

United Airlines E-ticket and Pending transaction

I bought a ticket from united airlines using my credit card and received an eticket. However, on the credit card online account the transaction shows up but it is on the pending list. Is that something I should worry about ?

united kingdom – Wrong month for previous visa denial on UK Tier 2 skilled worker visa application

I have two L1 USA visa refusals dated Sept 2016 and Feb 2018.
while filling the section of previous visa refusals I made a mistake and instead of filling Sep 2016 and Feb 2018 as the refusal date, I entered Sep 2016 and June 2018.

I have already given my biometric data. What can be done in this case and how serious is the mistake?

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usa – How much to tip in the United States?

I find this article, Everything You Don’t Know About Tipping, by Tim Urban of Wait but Why, to be the best I’ve found.

Even those of us who are native US citizens like him (or myself) often find ourselves in “ambiguous tipping situations”, where we are not quite sure what the right amount to tip is, and want to avoid blunders such as:

The Inadvertent Undertip, the Inadvertent Overtip, and the “Shit Am I Supposed To Tip Or Not?” Horror Moment.

In Tim’s words,

Tipping is not about generosity. Tipping isn’t about gratitude for good service. And tipping certainly isn’t about doing what’s right and fair for your fellow man.

Tipping is about making sure you don’t mess up what you’re supposed to do.

(And though I like to be generous and fair, there’s certainly much wisdom in that.)

He interviewed 123 people in New York City working in jobs that involved tipping, and then supplemented with information from “a bunch of readers” and research, including the website of Wm. Michael Lynn, recognized tipping expert and Burton M. Sack Professor in Food & Beverage Management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

This handy table breaks it down by tipping situation, percentage of customers who typically tip, how much low, average, and high tippers give, what the providers typically think of people who don’t tip in that situation (fine, cheap, the worst), what percentage of their salary is typically provided by tips, and other helpful notes.

So basically, decide whether you want to be a low, average, or high tipper, and tip accordingly.

Tipping Statistics -- broken down by tipping situation with percentage of customers who tip, amounts for low, average, and high tippers, how much of a faux pas it is not to tip, which percentage of their salary tipping is

On his page is also included a handy table to help estimate the impact on one’s budget of being a low, average, and high tipper, depending on if you’re a low, mid, or big spender when it comes to buying tipped services, and other handy notes about factors that should influence the decision, and how it looks from the service provider’s perspective.

And, a fascinating “tipping spectrum” of where people in different groups tend to fall on the tipping spectrum, based on a survey of 1000+ waiters (Sample: Best: All-Male Dining Parties, followed closely by Gay Men; Average: All-Female Dining Parties, Young Adults; worst: Teenagers, Foreigners, Coupon Users), and other interesting things about tips.

The TripAdvisor page referenced in @DJClayworth’s answer is also an excellent reference, and includes a few situations not included in Tim Urban’s table and article. But Tim’s table is just about the most convenient and informative guide I’ve found for most common situations in a format that provides more info on the server’s perspective.

Notes I’ll add from personal experience:

  • As a former sometime taxi driver (in Albuquerque, NM, not NYC), it seemed to me that people were being cheap if they tipped on a straight percentage when the percentage would result in a tip under $1, or were stingy about rounding up to the closest whole dollar (esp. when paying cash). (But, I’d never hold it against people who didn’t tip; it did impact my bottom line, but I prefer to think the best of people and not to attribute to malice what can attributed to ignorance, poverty, lack of consciousness, etc.)

    • As a consequence, I personally feel cheap tipping less than $1 almost
      anywhere (except maybe a coffeeshop or similar place where ticket
      prices are low and tips are not expected). YMMV: Your Mileage May
      Vary. Albuquerque is not NYC, but is certainly fairly representative
      of many mid-size non-“Cab Towns” you may find across America.
  • It’s always OK to add more to an automatically included gratuity, if you feel it’s warranted, or you want to be a “good” tipper. Only paying the included gratuity puts you in “average” range.

  • “Doubling the tax” is highly unreliable, as it varies from state to state and city to city, and some localities have none at all.

  • I’d agree that most servers prefer cash — and it’s not all that unusual to mix payment types (leave cash at table, pay ticket with card, etc.). If you feel so inclined, there’s nothing wrong with it, and for better or worse, servers prefer it because they’re likely to be able to take it home the same day, and taxes and card fees are not taken out, so they can take home more, leaving up to their own conscience and discretion how much of their tips they report for tax purposes.

    • But, if you’re paying by card and don’t have cash, no big deal, just
      leave it on the card.
  • 15% is not “a bit much for California”, at least for a restaurant. It’s solidly in “low tipper” range anywhere I’ve been in the USA.

  • It’s true that it can be considered insulting, or at the least very awkward, to give a tip in a “non-tipping situation”. Eeesh. :/ But, that’s up to your own conscience and knowledge of the situation.

Can I travel domestically within the United States with my USA expired passport?

The TSA explicitly allows people to travel without ID. The following is taken from

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete a form to include your name and current address, and may ask additional questions to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening.

You will not be allowed to fly if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

TSA recommends you to arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time to allow ample time for security screening and boarding the aircraft.

As I noted in a comment, I once traveled with someone who did this. She is a US resident (non-immigrant) with no official ID issued by any US entity, and she forgot her passport at home. They checked some of her credit/bank cards (and maybe her work ID, if I recall correctly), and let her fly. I think it took about 10 minutes, maybe 15, to get past the ID check. On the way home, it only took a minute or so extra.

I would therefore recommend that you bring everything you can that has your name on it, including your expired passport. They may reject it because it is expired; the page quoted above does say that the ID must be “valid.” The expired passport may nonetheless lend weight to your claim, and it certainly won’t hurt it.

Also bring bank cards, library cards, employee ID, social security card, birth certificate, school records, anything you can readily get your hand on. The worst possible outcome would be to leave something at home only to be told that you would have been allowed to board if you had brought it.

When you approach the ID officer, hand your boarding pass and say something like “I’m afraid I don’t have any valid ID, but I do have this expired passport and these other documents.”

If you are sensitive about being scolded, and worried what they might say, you can bring a printed copy of the TSA page that explains that ID isn’t strictly necessary.