1. Driver who takes us from Rome Airport to Hotel? Same for driver from Hotel to Train Station? What about in Venice? Athens? Santorini? Is there a universal % in Europe for tipping drivers or taxis? 2. Tour guide in Rome for a full day tour? I am guessing for other tours where I booked directly with the person (so they are keeping all the $$$), rather than a company, I do not need to tip in that case, or do I? Many thanks!
In my honest opinion - nothing, or just round up in the case of a taxi driver. Europe does not have a tipping culture like the US. If it makes you feel more comfortable, by all means tip, but it is not expected.
It depends. Was the service good to excellent? Then a tip of 5-10 % is always welcome. You can round up if you like, but if the bill is 59 euro and you round up to 60, that is being pretty cheap. If the service was crap, then pay your bill and leave with no tip. A couple euro per day for the housekeeper on a daily basis is always nice. They have the hardest job, and get the least amount of tips. For the tour, again it depends on how much that tour is costing you and did you enjoy it. Was it an excellent tour, matched your interests well, or was it boring, or not what you wanted? A 5-10% tip would be acceptable as well as welcome, but only if you liked the tour. This goes for all tours.
I never tip in Europe. It isn't the culture over there. And having worked in the tourism industry in the US I especially know this for a fact.
Jo knows her stuff and is on-the-ground. I have and will follow her leads on this subject. I can speak for France since we've lived there on and off for almost forty years. We have always tipped drivers and tour guides. The custom in France at the end of a short tour has always been to slip a coin into the guide's hand as you file out, bills for a long tour. We used to have to even tip the women in the movie theaters who showed us to a seat, any seat, even in an empty theater. That's gone by the wayside today, but it's to illustrate that tipping is part of the culture but not necessarily for the same services as in the US or to the same extreme.
Our TA arranged private transportation to take us from the airport to the hotel, from the hotel to the train in Rome, from the train to the hotel from the hotel to the pier in Venice, to and from the airport in Santorini and in Athens. She advised to tip $10 for each trip, except Rome she said to charge more. For the full day tour in Rome, she advised to tip $50. This all sounds excessive in light of what you all have posted. Jo, I am particularly interested in what you think since you seem to have a pulse on this. I dont want to be cheap but I also dont want to be excessive.
I tip about 2 € or £ in those situations. For one person, without luggage. I don't know if that is cheap or generous; it seems ok to me and nobody has thrown my coins back in my face.
In Rome I accidentally made a reservation for the wrong date. So there wasn't anyone there to greet us. :( I went up to a driver from the same company and she called a driver who was there in 45 minutes to get us. I was so happy as it was my mistake. I gave him a 15€ tip on a 65€ bill. He was so surprised and appreciated it so much. I was just happy my family of 6 had a ride. Throughout the rest of my trip I normally gave taxi drivers 1€ per person tip (5€). Unless they rounded up themselves, then they got nothing more from me. I thought it was rude.
STay-ce the driver was "surprised" because that was an VERY large tip,, but hey, its ok, you made his day,, I just hope he doesn't start expecting tips like that from all the tourists!! Gina, your ta is sounds like a peach. I am being sarcastic.Tipping 10 euros ( why think or use dollars, you won't have them) is alot of a simple taxi ride, I have used a private car service in Paris and tipped 5 euros and I think that was VERY generous). Now, if you have 10 pieces of luggage and you expect driver to carry into hotel then perhaps that may be different.
For your full day tour, you shouldn't be tipping more than 10% and again, only if you really liked the tour. Are you paying 500 € for this tour? Otherwise, 50 € is excessive. Tipping 10 € per ride also sounds like a lot. Are these long rides, lots of luggage, etc.? I wouldn't ever do more than 5 € for a taxi ride unless it was something really special. As to the poster who says that tipping is not part of European culture and so they never tip. Which one of the many countries in Europe would that be? That is a fairly common misconception, but it certainly isn't true for many countries. It may be true for some, but Europe is a big place. It certainly is common in Germany, but it is only done if the service was correct and it isn't excessive like it is in the US. People just don't leave the tip on the table, so perhaps that is why you think no one tips?
Jo, do you tip more in Venice? My TA said the transfer cost is more expensive so the driver should get a bigger tip. TA happens to be a good friend, but also is wealthy - I dont have as much expendable income as she does and, while I like to be gracious, I would like to conserve where I can. I am expecting to have 2 bags and 2 carry-on's so for Rome, Athens, Santorini,I will give 5 euro or so.
Bets I tip maids too, I also tip each day as maids change sometimes and I want each lady to get her portion. I usually leave 1 euro per day per person, so 2 euros is normal, but when I used to travel with my kids, if they were messy I tipped more! If I have to call for more towels etc, I tip for that too. Maids have the crappiest jobs and rarely make much in tips.. I try not leave place messy . I feel WAY sorrier for maids then waiters.
I always leave tips for the chamber maids on the pillow. Especially in Germany many of them come from Eastern Europe and are in need. Often, I will find the money put back on the desk or night stand and so I will leave a note explaining that the money is for them. I also tip daily because the same maid does not do the room every day.
I also tip taxi drivers, bar attendants, and waiters and waitresses. If they are not used to a tip, then it's a lovely and welcome surprise.
I also should add that on my last few visits to Germany, I have noticed that there is a line marked "Tip" on a credit card receipt in many restaurants. So, the theory that tipping does not exist, at least in Germany is obviously not correct.
lGina I have been to Venice more, and no, I do not tip more then I would in Rome, Paris or Whatever.. your ta really has an odd view... but I think perhaps having alot of disposible income makes people see things in a different way.. Trust me., no one is going to look down on you for a 5 euro tip to a driver(Venice, or not !) , I can't really speak to having a private guide with me all day.. ( way out of my spending league as those tours are $$$$) . Tipping does occur in Europe but its not the SAME as America, its simply alot less excessive.. 5-10% are normal.. giving alot more will never be thrown back at you of course, but they will be thinking they hit the jackpot getting the rich American big tipper that day.
Leaving coins for tips for small bills like coffee and sandwich is normal.. rounding up ( so if bill is 7.50 euros you could leave 8 euros and that would be what most locals would leave, or you could leave 9 euros and be a tad more generous) . For a fancy dinner out leaving 10% would be considered nice and normal.
The only time we tip overseas is when we hire a cab to take us out of a city, or on an otherwise none address to address ride. Those trips were mostly to visit ancestral villages and the cab drivers did yoeman service for us. Sometimes if we take a cab across town, from the bus station or train station to a hotel or vice versa, and the cabbie is honest and extra helpful, we will give him a few extra OTMs (of their money) Tips in cafes, no. In bars, no. In breakfast rooms, no. Aside from tips we give OTMs to people begging on the sidewalk in eastern European countries which have no or poor social welfare systems. The same in India.
I always tip the chamber maids who are all too often overlooked. Not only do they clean up after us, but they are often in terrible need.
Taxis don't expect tip. At most, a rounding up of fares to the nearest 5 euro (the smallest banknote), if the fare is high enough. Likewise, hired drivers, shuttle drivers and the like do not expect tips. If you are doing one of those "free" tours, then some expected tip ranges around 10-15 euro. Those tours are not actually free as the guide pays the company that hooks them around 3 euros for the "privilege" of taking the people on the tour. Now if you paid for a tour beforehand, there is no need to tip as well.