Tipping can be a sensitive and uncomfortable issue to deal with when on vacation overseas. While we would like to follow the custom of the land, we don’t wish to cause offence by not giving or even giving tips. Different countries have difference practices.
When travelling on tour packages, tipping is already taken care of as to how much to tip the tour guide and the driver as well as porters in the hotels. It is usually a few dollars a day. Tipping for an 8 days tour in China will require a budget of RMB320 tips for the local tour guide and driver. If the tour company sends a tour leader along, there will be another S$2 per day.
The issue arises when we travel on our own. It becomes tricky to know whether tipping is required, when and how much to tip. Generally, travelling in third world countries, tipping would be expected. The wages of service staff are pretty low. We talked with a hotel staff giving us a ride to a place in Bali. We found out that his salary was really meager but he was grateful at least he had a job.
There are many such cases in many parts of the world. This includes taxi drivers with the ever increasing fuel cost despite the softening of prices on crude oil these recent years, are struggling to put food on the table for their families. So whenever we come across a good driver, we always give him a little more to send him on his way. It doesn’t take a lot to make a day for someone and the look on the happy face of such a one will make our day as well.
When booking tours from an agent overseas, it is better to check with the agent before hand whether it is required to tip the service providers. It may also be good to check with the local tour guide during the tour whether tipping is required and the amount when services are rendered by a third party, such as on a row boat or rickshaw ride. This is to ensure you have small amount with you for such tipping otherwise it won’t be very nice to be chased down the road for tips and having to give tips with large notes where you probably won’t get any change back.
While we wish to follow the etiquette on tipping in different countries, we don’t wish to be taken advantage of and be ripped off as well. There are also times when tipping is offensive too. So here is an article on tipping in various popular destinations for a quick reference before we make our trip just to ensure we have a lovely vacation not ruined by dispute arising out of the issue of tipping.
Happy travelling …