Figuring out how much to tip is one of the most awkward things to tackle because tipping is not mandatory. But if you live in America like I do, tipping is part of our culture. Not tipping for service feels weird, so we tend to do it anyway even if it’s not a part of another country’s culture.
Although each country in Europe has a slightly different tipping culture, I’d like to provide a rough guideline of how much to tip any waiter or hotel staff while traveling in any country in Europe. The tipping amounts have been researched through my own travel experiences and speaking with numerous travel industry veterans. And if you’re ever in doubt, you can always tip more!
Disclosure: ONIG Financial Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. ONIG Financial Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Some of you might have an anti-tip mentality because you don’t feel people who provide you a service should get anything extra since they are already getting paid to do their job. Perhaps you don’t like to tip because you’re trying to keep vacation costs low. One of the biggest problems with being frugal your whole life is that it may stunt your generosity to others. Whatever your reason for not liking to tip, I get it.
The way I overcame my parsimonious feelings regarding tipping was by working a close to minimum wage service job as an adult to become more mindful. Service jobs to keep people safe and happy require lots of hard work. Every time a passenger gave me a tip, no matter how small, I swelled with pride. I wanted to go above and beyond for them and the next passenger who entered my car. I was so thankful.
Wages for drivers, waiters, concierges, doormen, room cleaners, and bellhops tend to fall below the median wage of your city. As a result, cash tips can provide a significant 20%+ boost to a service person’s overall income. Remember this the next time you don’t feel like tipping.
I also believe many of us want to tip, but we just don’t know the appropriate amount and fear insulting our recipients. We rationalize that perhaps it’s best not to tip at all and claim ignorance than embarrass ourselves. Well not to worry. The following tipping information will help you tip with confidence the next time you’re traveling in Europe.
Concierge: Depending on how much they do for you, 100 € per week or 50 € per weekend is a common amount at a five-star hotel. You can cut the amounts in half for lower star hotels. Although my French Open tickets cost 420 € each (!), they were coordinated by my concierge the day before because I was checking to make sure the weather was perfect. 420 € was a category 3 ticket price, but he found category 1 tickets with much better seating instead for the same price. Finding me 200+ € off for two tickets certainly deserved at least a 50 € tip in my opinion, especially since I stayed at the hotel for a week.
Housekeepers: Housekeepers do not get paid well, and they perform one of the toughest jobs at a hotel. 5 – 10 € per day of service is appropriate. Naturally, if you make heavier use of their services, you may wish to leave a little extra.
Bell staff: Bell staff also don’t get paid well. The general guideline is 2 € per bag. But I always round up to 5€ for two bags or 10 € for four bags.
Waiters: Here’s a tricky one because gratuity of 12% – 15% is usually included in your restaurant bill. Double check to see. If it is, tipping is not necessary. However, if you find the service to be exceptional, you can always tip another 5% – 10% to provide a total tip of at least 20%. If you order your food at a counter in a pub, you don’t need to tip.
Taxis: Just round up to the nearest one € or ten € . For example, you can give 15 € for a 14.1 € trip or 50 € for a 48 € trip. I take Uber everywhere in Europe now because it’s so convenient and about 30% cheaper. You don’t have to fear getting ripped off because Uber tracks where you went. And if you were taken around in circles, simply complain to Uber via your app that you feel you’ve been cheated and Uber will issue you a refund.
Tour guides: Tour guides appreciate tips as well, especially those who spend the time walking around with you and really make you understand the historical significance of what you are seeing. Offering a 10 € tip should suffice. There is no baked in gratuity for tour guides.
It’s good to tip as soon as a service is completed. This is especially true for the housekeepers and doormen who might work a different shift the next day. What if you leave a 30 € tip at the end of your three nights, but the housekeeper working that evening is different from the first two? You’ve got to then tell the housekeeper to split the gratuity. Awkward and potentially unreliable.
You can tip the concierge on the first day to incentivize them to take care of you if you are giving a particularly generous tip. But I suspect the concierge will be equally as incentivized to provide good service in anticipation for a tip at the end of your stay.
Leaving a tip in a small envelope or with a note is a particularly nice way to go.
When in doubt, ask someone about the tipping custom for a particular service. For the most part, a 10% tip is considered very generous in Europe. Remember, the people who appreciate your tips work hard and don’t make a lot of money. The more you can tip, the better. You might just get a better table or nicer room the next time around!
As I review this post, I realize this tipping guide is readily applicable for vacations in Asia and the United States as well. Something is always better than nothing. The staff will appreciate any gesture so don’t be embarrassed to tip!
Related post: How To Travel For Free And Lower Your Taxable Income
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Disclosure: ONIG Financial Blog has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. ONIG Financial Blog and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
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