Please sign in to post.
Posted by
6670 posts

Not necessary or desirable on Rick Steves or Road Scholar tours, where it's prohibited. But for many local guide services it is appropriate and expected. How can you tell? Guides who expect (maybe even need) tips are usually not subtle about letting you know. Maybe it's a few words at the end about how much they enjoy showing you whatever and how they and their families depend on your generous support, or maybe it's a box attached to the bus or boat. My favorite pitch came from a whale watch captain who reminded us that "wind and waves can tip the ship, but only you can tip the crew."

One sure tell is if the tour is "free." That means the guide gets nothing unless you tip -- and might even lose money if you don't because he's paid someone else for the tour slot. That kind of tour may not be worth much, but if you take one you really shouldn't stiff the guide unless he's done a truly terrible job.