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Tipping........ private tour companies


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it's really a personal choice.

 

as you may be aware, most europeans do not tip as they assume that it is part of the price agreed upon.

 

however, with the prevalance of Americans who travel to Europe, tipping is becoming a more and more common place occurrence.

 

most people will say that its up to your personal discretion as to whether or not to tip and how much you should tip.

 

remember that a tip should be given for service above and beyond what is expected. if you feel that you have been given a wonderful tour or a tour of a lifetime and that the person went above and beyond for you, and you think its appropriate, then go ahead and tip.

 

personally for me, on my private tours, i did tip. generally in the 10-15% (of the tour cost) range depending on how I felt about the tour and the tour guide at the end of the day.

 

i'm sure you'll get a lot of mixed reactions from this open-ended question.

 

just go with what you are comfortable with.

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As you may know, as a European who lives in Barcelona and Paris, I have written extensively on this board on this same subject.

 

Please refer to other posts on tipping and you will get a very extensive overview on this subject from a European perspective.

 

To limit my response to your general question about private tours, I feel that Americans tend to be overcharged from the onset for private drivers and tours in Europe. A European would never pay some of the prices you Americans seem all so willing to pay, and a European is usually charged 1/3 to 1/2 less than you are -- that is a lot of money.

 

Apart from the fact that tipping in Continental Europe, especially Spain, France, Portugal, Italy (the Southern countries the Med cruises are usually focused towards) is neither necessary nor at all expected, because chances are that you are being overcharged for your tour from the very onset, please, dear friends, do not feel any obligation to throw your money away further.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

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Thank-you for your perspective...as someone who is familliar to the area!!!

This will be my first time in Europe, and I do so appreciate your help in this area....I had no clue about the tipping!!!

Most of my searches have said, that it had become so Americanised...that a tip was expected??....other searches said that someone would be offended??...I was getting very confused!!!

Thanks for clearing that up. I don't mind paying a decent amount for a good tour, but after so much time in the carribean....the tipping seemed automatic reguardless!!!

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I am going to chime in here as well....As I am involved in making tour arrangements for our little group of intrepid travelers, I have written to nearly every compnay ever mentioned on this site. They have all responded very politely with their prices that state :" entry fees, meals and DRVERS GRATUITY are not included". So while it may be something gauche and decidedly UNcontinental, they all expect a tip at the end of the day. Guess someone forgot to tell them that Europeans don't expect a tip!! :p

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I am going to chime in here as well....As I am involved in making tour arrangements for our little group of intrepid travelers, I have written to nearly every compnay ever mentioned on this site. They have all responded very politely with their prices that state :" entry fees, meals and DRVERS GRATUITY are not included". So while it may be something gauche and decidedly UNcontinental, they all expect a tip at the end of the day. Guess someone forgot to tell them that Europeans don't expect a tip!! :p

 

I suspect there's a subtle difference when customer's hire a driver / guide, who runs their own business. Therefore, they are taking all the fee, rather than being paid a salary.

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Just because a European tour company writes to an American, with full knowlege of the American's customs, that "grauities" are not included, does not mean that deep down inside they are required or expected.

 

You will receive no worse service if you don't give a gratuity, and nobody will put you in an uncomfortable position (as they would do in the U.S., where gratuities are basically required) when you do not give a tip.

 

Things here in Europe are expensive enough for you Americans. Don't let the drivers, guides and tour companies over here take advantage of you by making you believe that a tip is required when it definitely is not.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

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Gunther, I do appreciate your advice in this matter. We are all different and our customs may be different too. None of us ever want to offend anyone and are basically the same GOOD PEOPLE that happen to live in a different country. We're all brothers who have never met each other yet!

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Just because a European tour company writes to an American, with full knowlege of the American's customs, that "grauities" are not included, does not mean that deep down inside they are required or expected.

 

You will receive no worse service if you don't give a gratuity, and nobody will put you in an uncomfortable position (as they would do in the U.S., where gratuities are basically required) when you do not give a tip.

 

Things here in Europe are expensive enough for you Americans. Don't let the drivers, guides and tour companies over here take advantage of you by making you believe that a tip is required when it definitely is not.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

 

Thanks so much Gunther and Uta for your perspective. We lived in Germany in the early 80's when my husband was on assignment for IBM. We learned quickly the normal tip in Germany was to round up to the next DM. Of course today it's the Euro. I do have a question though:

 

When you are in the States, do you tip? My daughter lives in Key West and is in the restraurant business. Many Germans visit Key West, and according to her, they very often don't follow our custom of tipping. In the US, servers only make $2.15 per hour and very much depend on tips-especially in a tourist area where housing and living is so expensive.

 

I so very much agree...when in Rome, do as the Romans...Therefore in Europe, I agree, tipping on inflated prices seems a waste of money, however in the States, I do hope our European friends understand how our system is different!

 

Just another perspective.

Sharon

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Well, folks, let's consider the basic premise of tipping:

 

The CUSTOMER, rather than the OWNER of the business, should be allowed to decide the value of services directly provided to the customer.

 

Thus the marvelous custom of tipping was invented ... as directly opposed, for example, to the French idea of "servis" as something the server is entitled to and demands. "Servis" is merely a transfer of cost from the business owner to the customer. Those who have dined in European restaurants know how surly the servers can be, but they still demand their "servis." Tipping is altogether different.

 

Tipping rewards those who give good service -- and thereby puts those who do NOT give good service at a disadvantage. I usually tip lavishly to guides and drivers who create a wonderful memorable experience for me. OTOH, on those very few occasions I have had a driver who did not seem to care, or a guide who didn't have a clue what he was doing, I have walked past them at the end of the trip and left nothing.

 

If most travellers will do it this way, it will have a marvelous effect. Those outstanding guides who do a wonderful job will make a lot of money at guiding, and will stay in the business and be there to serve us again. Those surly folk who don't get any tips will soon leave the business and go bother customers someplace else.

 

Now, in the long run, if Europeans tip and Americans don't -- guess what! The very best guides, the best companies, the outstanding people in European cities will compete strongly for the AMERICAN business, and the Europeans who don't tip will wind up with the dregs, the leftovers, the ones who can't succeed in an environment where the CUSTOMER decides the value of their services!

 

Sadly, those Americans who believe a server deserves a tip solely out of pity because they only make $2.15 an hour are sabotaging this system. (Incidentally in California they make minimum wage -- $6.75 an hour.) A minimum wage server who works hard and gets good tips makes a very good living indeed. One who does not work hard to give good service belongs in some other job or on welfare. That is the whole purpose and wonder of the tipping system!

 

Those who serve me well get a great tip -- here, in Europe, in the Orient, wherever. Those who do a poor job, are surly, or don't care get ... NOTHING! That's the way I see it working.

 

And incidentally, when I have spent $10,000 on an European cruise, why in the world should I fuss about handing $20 to a driver who has taken care of me all day??

 

;)

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Dear friends:

 

Yes, I tip in the United States because I am aware of the peculiar system you have there in which servers are paid sub-standard wages and are expected to make up the difference in tips.

 

Once, in New York City, I did not tip at the Carnegie Deli because the service was so awful (50 minutes before they took our order, another 50 minutes for the food to come, and the order totally wrong) and I was actually followed outside of the restaurant by the manager who more or less demanded that I leave a tip.

 

European countries do not have the system you do in that servers receive full wages and full benefits that have nothing to do with tips. We obviously have other problems here in Europe, since no part of the world is perfect, but the tipping scenario is not one of them.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gunther, I really appreciate your honest feedback as I want to avoid the "Ugly American" syndrome and act in a way that is appropriate in my host country. I had a guide in Provence earlier this summer who was so superb that he definitely earned a tip, even though I wasn't planning to do so. I have booked a private guide in St. Petersburg in 2007 who gets high praise on Cruise Critic. Do you know the local custom with regard to tips? I believe that when we travel we are all ambassadors for our countries, and I would like to leave people with a smile and not a scowl. What is appropriate in Russia?

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This is a forum where people are meant to share information. I recommend that those who are interested in a longer discussion of this topic read this recent thread: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=397662

 

I also recommend that travelers understand what the expectations are in the countries in which they travel, recognizing, of course, that people will do what they wish to do -- which may be to follow the "rules" or not.

 

This thread is now closed.

 

Karen

HostKaren@CruiseCritic.com

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