In the US tipping is commonly accepted and expected by almost everyone, but it’s always hard to know what to do while traveling overseas. Doubts start to pop up in the minds of people on holiday and confusion usually follows. Do service industry workers make a minimum wage? What’s the standard tip in this part of the world? Are tips included in the price of things? What services should I leave a tip for? Who should I tip? The questions go on and on, so here are a few tips for tipping while abroad.
Restaurants & Services
Tipping in restaurants is not as customary as it is in the US. In most parts of the world, the standard is usually 5- 10% of the total bill or simply rounding up; 10% – 15% for exceptional service. Include the tip when you pay the bill and indicate that you don’t need change or tell them the full amount you’d like to pay. It isn’t customary to leave the tip on the table after paying your bill as it is in the US. If you don’t have the exact amount, tell the wait person how much you are paying in total, or how much change you would like. Be sure to check if the gratuity has already been included in the bill. Should you still have questions about tipping, just ask your server, ask the host, ask the concierge or a local, or just leave a little more than you think you should, we’re sure you won’t hear a complaint!
AFAR Magazine has created a helpful shortlist of how to handle tipping in Europe, with lots of helpful country-specific tips. See the article here.
Tipping Your Bicycle Tour Leaders
If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated. Gratuity amounts vary widely and it is entirely up to you how much to tip.
Note that our Expedition Style tours (tours that are 18+ days) include Tour Leader gratuities. Read more on the ExpeditionPlus! concept here.
I would like to tip Tour Leaders. What’s the recommendation? As a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this is for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we recommend tipping as individuals, not as a group.
Can I tip Tour Leaders with a check? No. Please note that while checks are a common means of payment in the US, for tipping Tour Leaders they are not an option.
Can I tip Tour Leaders in US-dollars for tours in Europe? No. US-dollars (or other foreign currency that is not used as an official currency in Europe) cannot be used for tipping in Europe.
Tours in South America: While on our European tours, tipping Tour Leaders in US-dollars is not an option, Tour Leaders in Chile and Argentina will gladly accept tips in US-dollars as well as in local currency. Some Tour Leaders have had trouble exchanging bills given to them as they had slight tears. While that won’t diminish a bill’s value or use, exchange offices and banks oftentimes refuse those bills.
My trip ends in Sweden, which has gone entirely cashless. What do I do? We can help process your chosen tipping amount for Tour Leaders. See how here.