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Question re: Tipping on Independent Excursions


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When in Greece, Athens and Santorini, we have independent (not cruise ship) excursions and private tours booked. We wondered if we will need Euros in order to tip our guides, or if US dollars are accepted for tips?

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Tell her that the 1940s are over. That the US$ is not legal tender in Greece. That the guide would have to go to the bank to exchange your couple of dollars for euros and pay a commission.  Just as the waiter in MN would have to do with a euro tip. In others words, you are not doing anyone any favors by tipping in $.  And don't forget that tipping is not required or expected in Europe.

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I'll respectfully disagree with Bruce & marazul - in certain circumstances.


I used to regularly drive cruise transfers, and received tips in US$ and € as well as my country's £. Even tips of just a few USD just got added to my pile, & in due course they were my spending money in the USA (and I added USD traded from colleagues),  or I traded my USD with colleagues & friends who were going to the USA. No frequent trips to banks or exchange bureaux, no middle-man's commissions involved.

Guides who regularly deal with US visitors have no trouble doing likewise.

Giving tips of just a euro or two (for instance bell-hops in international hotels) it's more comfortable to use US paper dollars rather than local coins, which seem mean - a problem in the UK & Euroland where the smallest note is £5 or €5.


But tips in foreign cash are a pain are when the recipient doesn't deal regularly with foreign visitors - a waitress in a locals' restaurant in a residential corner of Athens for instance.

Or currencies other than USD - I still have a Canadian $5 bill from years ago. 🙄


Do bear in mind marazul's comment about tipping in Europe - the cultures are very different to the USA. Tipping is a matter of personal choice and depends on the quality of service - as a matter of course some folk just don't tip, most will tip according to the quality of service - zilch if service is sub-standard. 

Absolute maximum 10% for those who go the extra mile, and nobody's going to chase you down the road if you give nothing.

Do watch out for service charges added to your check - avoiding places which add a service charge might be difficult in tourist areas, but certainly don't tip on top of a service charge. 


Cultures & percentages do vary across Europe, my own experience is broadly in line with Rick Steves' website https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money/tipping-in-europe


JB 🙂


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On 5/28/2023 at 6:56 AM, John Bull said:

Do watch out for service charges added to your check - avoiding places which add a service charge might be difficult in tourist areas, but certainly don't tip on top of a service charge. 



The service charge, I realized came and went at certain cafes on the Piazza Bra in Verona. The fee returned on the busier days towards the weekend and for concerts at the Arena di Verona, which is quite something to look at directly in view of these cafes.


They were mostly good at informing people of the charge, but I also noticed because I had been living there, decided to sit a second time (the first was when I had just arrived) and noticed that the menus changed!


Easy enough to just get up, find a place off the main piazza and avoid the charge, cozy little places with locals, and great food. In many of the places with charges, there's often the option to stand at the bar without a charge, so if you want the atmosphere of being in a particular area, you may do so to avoid the charge.


On the Northern Europe topic, I've asked some of the locals for specific examples of situations when one might tip extra. In a country where one is now being prompted to tip at counter checkouts and takeaways, (recently reported in the NY Times) it would be helpful for details as to exactly when and how they felt a situation warranted the practice, beyond rounding up.


It might be the next step in helping people to understand why and when there may be an exception to the cultural norm of NOT tipping. Information is a good thing. 😉






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