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Tipping on Tour

Knowing when to tip and how gratuities are managed can be a headache when you’re trying to enjoy a stress-free holiday. Below we have provided a general guide to tipping and gratuities to help avoid any awkwardness on your touring holiday. Are...
16 January, 2016

Knowing when to tip and how gratuities are managed can be a headache when you’re trying to enjoy a stress-free holiday. Below we have provided a general guide to tipping and gratuities to help avoid any awkwardness on your touring holiday.

Are tips and gratuities included in my tour price?

Some Operators include tipping and gratuities in the trip price for your convenience and peace of mind. This is dependent on the Operator and sometimes the region you are visiting. You can refer to our gratuities guide at the end of this article where you can find a summary of our tour operators and their gratuities. Every tour itinerary page on Global Journeys also includes information whether the Operator has tipping “included”, “optional”, “not included” or “pre-pay available.”

Check with your Global Journeys tour consultant for the inclusions of your tour or cruise itinerary if you are in any doubt, or if you would like to add pre-paid gratuities to your booking. Please note if tipping has been included in the cost of your holiday, this only covers the services during the period of touring/cruising.

Who gets tips?

It is generally customary for tour / cruise directors, coach and excursion drivers, local guides, shipboard crew, hotel staff, porters, wait staff, the hotel concierge, and housekeeping to receive tips. This varies from country to country, with tips in America accepted as the norm but politely refused in Japan. Your tour leader will be able to answer any specific queries around tipping locally, however, here is a general guide to what to expect on your holiday. Amounts shown are in AUD/NZD, but you should always try to tip in the local currency.

Tour Director and Driver

If gratuities for your tour director and driver have not been prepaid, then it is customary to tip at the end of your coach tour. You can choose to do this individually, however, it is common for an envelope to be passed around the group and presented together at the end of the trip. Sometimes you will find a suggested tipping amount in your trip documents, but ultimately this is up to your discretion based on how happy you are with your experience. As a general guide, the tour director is tipped $5-10 per person/per day and the driver would expect to receive $2-3 per person/per day.

Coach driver and tour guide

Cruise Director and Crew

Almost all river cruise Operators include tipping and gratuities in the price which covers the cruise director and crew. You can choose to tip the cruise director additionally for exemplary service, but this is not expected. You can also feel free to tip any individual crew members who you feel went above and beyond and for any optional (not included) services such as health and spa treatments.

Local Guides and Optional Excursions

Even when gratuities are included in your tour/cruise, this may exclude local guides particularly for optional excursions. This will be noted in your trip details. If gratuities for your local guides are not included, then it is normal to tip for each on tour. It is common for your leader to discuss this with the group at the start of the tour and often collect an agreed amount from everyone to distribute appropriately.

Sometimes the tour leader will do this themselves, or sometimes they will allocate a different member of the group the honour for each locally guided tour. If this is not initiated by your tour leader you can choose to tip individually or ask your leader what is appropriate. Local guides generally expect 10-15 percent of the tour price as a tip.

Service Staff

When gratuities are included or added to your booking, this will often incorporate tips for service staff directly associated with your tour/cruise. Generally, it will include porters at hotels for your luggage, shipboard staff on your cruise, and waitstaff for dining experiences included in your itinerary.

Usually you will only need to tip room service if you use it, and it is good practice to leave a daily tip for your cleaner (especially in America). If gratuities are not included in your tour cost, or the Operator does not offer this as an option, then it is courteous to tip service staff throughout your journey.

Hotel porter helping traveller with baggage

What about services outside of my tour/cruise?

You are responsible for all tips for meals and services that are not “inclusions” in your itinerary.

In restaurants, check that tipping is not automatically included in the bill. If not, 10-15% is generally acceptable. In America 15-20% is a standard tip (the greater in cases of exemplary service). When paying for a taxi ride, generally 10-15% of the total fare is acceptable. Just leave the change for short rides.

For accommodation outside of your coach tour or cruise (including pre and post accommodation) tipping is generally not included and is up to your discretion. In USA tipping is part of daily life, so we have put together a quick guide to help you through when you don’t have your trusty tour leader on hand.

In all these instances tipping is at your discretion but to help you plan here is a general guide.

Service Gratuity
Porters $1-2 per bag
Concierge $7-25 per request (depending on the request and standard of hotel)
Doorman $2-6 for hailing a taxi/helping with your bags
Room service 10-20 % of the food bill (if not automatically included)
Coat check $2-3 for assistance
Shuttle service $2-3 per ride
Housekeeping $3-7 per day (leave labelled so cleaner knows it is for them)

That’s a lot of tipping!

Tipping is customary in many countries as it makes up the wage component for these services. Many countries don’t have a minimum wage like we do in Australia and New Zealand. If you have the option and you generally tip as a rule, then we recommend pre-paying it if you can. This takes the hassle out of your holiday, and it means you don’t have to budget for all your tips while you are away. Take a look at the table below for a tipping guide by operator.

Stack of coins

Tipping Guide by Tour Operator

Here is a guide to the way tips and gratuities are managed by our tour operators.

Operator Gratuity
AAT Kings Gratuities are not included in tour price. If you feel that your Tour Director, Driver or Driver Guide has done an excellent job, then tipping up to the equivalent of $5 per day is recommended.
APT Gratuities are included for all staff on all APT Tours and Cruises.

Tipping is not included on a few rare activities and outside of the gratuities specified in your itinerary. Ask your consultant if you are unsure.

Avalon Waterways Gratuities for the Cruise Director and crew onboard are included in the cruise price. Tips to your Local Guides on optional excursions are not included in your cruise fare.
Bunnik Some itineraries include Bunnik’s ‘Tipping made easy’ program when tips are collected at time of booking, however, on some trips tips are paid locally. A suggested tipping list will be included in your documentation.
Back-Roads Tipping is not included in the tour price. It is customary to give your tour guide a tip at the end of the tour if he/she has done a good job. The amount is entirely at your discretion and is not mandatory.
Collette The tour price does not include customary, end-of-trip gratuities for your tour manager, driver, local guides, hotel housekeepers, or cruise ship waitstaff.
Contiki Tipping is not included in the tour price. Tipping of Contiki Trip Managers and Drivers is completely optional and not mandatory. If you are going to tip, your Trip Manager can guide the appropriate amount for tipping locally as this varies by destination.
Cosmos Tips are not included in the tour price. You do have the option to prepay these tips – please ask your Tour Consultant to add these to your booking if you wish.
CostSaver Tips and gratuities are included for service staff, including restaurant employees, chambermaids or porters. The option to pre-pay gratuities for the Travel Director and Driver is also available. Your Tour Consultant can add it to your booking.
G Adventures Tips are not included in the tour price and tipping is entirely at your discretion. Trip Details documentation includes suggested tipping amounts for each individual itinerary.
Globus Gratuities are not included in the tour price, but you can pre-pay these for the land portion of your holiday operated by Globus. Where other operators are sourced for cruising, rail or local tours, the option to pre-pay your gratuities is not available and can only be paid locally.
Grand Pacific Tipping is not included in the tour price. Tipping in appreciation for service is at the discretion of the individual. Some tours may organise an envelope to be circulated for a group presentation to the Coach Captain and/or Tour Guide but contribution is not mandatory.
Insight Vacations Gratuities are included for baggage handling, meal service for all meals listed in the tour itinerary, and hotel service (excluding room service). Tips are customarily given to your Tour Director, Driver and Local Guides at your discretion.

The option to prepay these tips prior to departure is possible.

Inspiring Journeys Gratuities are not included in the tour price.

If you feel that your Tour Director, Driver or Driver Guide has done an excellent job, then we would recommend tipping up to the equivalent of $5 per day.

Intrepid Travel Tipping is not included in your tour price. While not compulsory, it is appropriate to tip our tour leader at the end of your trip if you’re happy with the service provided. Your documents will usually also provide a guide to suggested tipping. Ask your leader what is appropriate locally.
Luxury Gold All tips for services from Local Experts, dining-room staff, housekeeping and porters at hotels, airports, docks and train stations are included. You can also opt to have the tips for your Driver and Travelling Concierge included too.
Monograms Gratuities are included for services during the land stay of your Monograms vacation. This includes wait staff at included meals, hotel staff, and porterage at hotels for one suitcase per person. Gratuities for your Local Hosts, Local Guides, driver, and ship's crew are excluded (unless otherwise noted) and are discretionary.
Scenic Certain gratuities are included in your tour cost. This includes all drivers, local guides, porters (1 piece of luggage only), and meals included in your tour. Tipping for services not included in your tour are additional.
Tauck All appropriate gratuities for luggage handling, bellmen, doormen, dining and ship staff are included in your tour price. Tauck Director and Tauck Cruise Director (if applicable) gratuities are included on all small ship and river cruises and all Tauck Bridges trips.
Topdeck Tipping is not included in your tour price. Tipping is customary in America, but your Topdeck Crew will not be asking for any tips themselves. However, it is courteous to tip serving staff.

Tipping local guides is also recommended. Tipping varies by destination, so ask your Trip Leader if you are unsure.

Trafalgar Tips and gratuities are included for service staff, including restaurant employees, chambermaids or porters. The option to pre-pay gratuities for the Travel Director and Driver is also available. Your Tour Consultant can add this to your booking.
Travelmarvel Gratuities have been included for all staff on all Travelmarvel Tours and Cruises as stated in your trip details. Tipping is excluded on a few tour extensions in Africa, and on the Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise. Gratuities outside of those specified in your itinerary are not included. Ask your consultant if you are unsure.
Uniworld (Asia) Tips and gratuities are included in the tour price for local experts, drivers, local river guides, and boatmen during your trip, as well as on post-cruise land extensions purchased in conjunction with your cruise/tour (excluding Hong Kong). Gratuities for your Cruise/Tour Manager and Ship staff are not included and up to your discretion.
Uniworld (Europe) All gratuities onboard and onshore are included in the tour price for your convenience and comfort.
U By Uniworld Gratuities for onboard and shore excursions are included in the cruise price. Any other tips are additional and at guest discretion.
Viking River Cruises Shipboard gratuities for shipboard personnel are generally included, however, some Asia programs may be exempt. Inclusions for local guides vary by destination and season, so please confirm with your consultant.
Viking Ocean Cruises Shipboard gratuities for shipboard personnel are included in your cruise fare on Viking Ocean Cruises. Additional tipping is additional and at guest discretion.


Please note this information is correct at time of publication. Please confirm with your Global Journeys consultant for the details that pertain to your particular tour or cruise itinerary, as inclusions may vary.

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