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tipping tour guides & drivers

We are going on a "my way" tour. Is it customary to tip the guide and driver, if so, how much?



Posted by
5979 posts

No no no. RS makes it a big point that their guides and drivers are well paid and tipping is not encouraged, expected.

Its not a wink, wink policy.

from the tour site:

What we include...
All tips for guides and driver.
Why it matters...
Most companies expect you to pay out-of-pocket for guide and driver tips. This can add up to several hundred dollars!


Guides from most tour companies make their income from tips and merchant kickbacks. Our guides are carefully selected by Rick and paid a full salary — *tips are not allowed** — so his or her focus is on teaching, not shopping.*

Posted by
157 posts

We've been on just three RS tours...none were "My Way". Of course, we did not tip, but on all three we all decided to get both our guide and our bus driver a small gift (like scarf or leather journal) just to say thank you. Not sure how that would fit into a My Way, but just a thought.

Posted by
8248 posts

This is one of the big advantages of a RS hidden charges.

I have on occasion had someone on the bus want to collect money for a tip and I usually decline to participate. None have ever gotten off the ground as there are usually enough previous RS travelers that it ends. I have contributed to a small gift.

Posted by
1616 posts

Hi Cynthia, I've been on 6 RS tours. For the first 5 tours, we took up a collection (1 euro per person) and bought the tour guide and bus driver a small gift. There was a total of $26-$28 euros so they got a bouquet of flowers, a scarf or a bottle of wine. Just a token of our appreciation but I thought it was a nice touch. The bus driver got their gift the last day before they left us. The tour guide got theirs at the farewell dinner.

On the tour we took last year, the others weren't interested in doing anything so the person I was traveling with and I bought a scarf for the bus driver and a bottle of wine for the tour guide. It just seemed like a nice thing to do.

Posted by
308 posts

On the two RS tours I was fortunate enough to be a part of, a veteran tour member volunteered to buy a small gift and thank you card for the guide. We were told we could contribute a few Euros if we wanted to. There was absolutely no pressure whatsoever to participate.

Posted by
763 posts

I agree with other posters. No tipping. Most of the time, on the 5 tours, those who wished to contribute 1-2 Euro each did so for a small token for the guide and driver. So civilized!

Posted by
524 posts

I have been on 12 RS tours. On some I have purchased bottles of wine and cards for guide. On a few I have contributed to the gift fund. There was only one tour where I thought the gifts purchased were too extravagant. I have had tour members ask me if tips were appropriate. I always remind the person the website's tour information page states no tips required.

Posted by
4600 posts

What everyone else said. I have heard of people tipping the guide, but please don't. If you do offer a tip, the guide (and driver) should refuse it. This "no tip" policy makes RS tours less stressful than some others.

I think the tour members got together to buy small but thoughtful gifts on about 2 or 3 of the 10 tours we've taken. The last time, we all signed cards, adding personal notes for the driver, guide, and assistant guide.

Showing your appreciation, with a card or just a kind word, is enough.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have been on 14 RS tours in the last 15 years and after reading the fine print contained in the RS travel paperwork, I do believe that it is the intent of the RS organization to not allow tipping of any of their employees or bus drivers. On a couple of the tours I have been on some tour members have taken up a collection to purchase either of them a small, inexpensive gift. When I know what they are planning on getting and how much money is involved, I make up my mind to contribute or not. On one or two tours a fellow tour member tried passing the hat to take up a collection to give to either and I have reminded about RS policies and have not contributed.
Since I have never heard a RS tour guide make an announcement about not being able to accept any gratuities, I wonder how strongly the RS headquarters enforces that policy if at all.

Posted by
113 posts

Thanks everyone, all your posts are very helpful !


Posted by
350 posts

No tipping.

Apparently, RS actually pays his staff a living wage and does not expect his customers to evaluate and compensate his staff, in other words, the travelers don't have to do RS's job for him.

The whole point of not tipping the guides is to elminiate the temptation for the guide to take you to 'special' places where he/she gets a cut of whatever you buy. On one of the first RS tours I took the guide got some Euros from a store owner when we stopped there for a break. It was during a very hot time of the year. So..... He used the money to buy us all bottled water and gelato the next day. Now that is a great guide!

Posted by
9801 posts

The whole point of tipping is to show your appreciation for a job well done.

Stopping at a place that gives a kickback to the driver and guide has nothing to do with tipping. That's just an extra way for them to make a few bucks. However, they won't take you anywhere that will rip you off because they don't want the negative feedback.

Posted by
408 posts

Hello we have now been on 5 RS tours. On none of the trips was it brought up to tip the guide or driver. On our last tour our guide actually bought a bottle of wine for our driver and said it was from the tour people which was very nice. I don't think they need or want a small gift. I love the card idea and wish we could have done that. I don't think the guides want a tip since I believe the RS home office is very strict about that and it might get them in trouble if it got back that they took one and I don't think anyone would want that. Enjoy your trip!