"Free" walking tours--what to tip guide

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May 19th, 2015, 12:22 PM
  #1
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"Free" walking tours--what to tip guide

Will probably take 1 or 2 free walking tours in Barcelona. I'm looking for advice on the appropriate amount to tip the guide. Runner Bean says to tip whatever you think it's worth and a couple other sites are silent on the issue. Any advice--or experience--would be welcome.
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May 19th, 2015, 12:44 PM
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There are more than a few people on this site who are ranting and raving about how Americans (in particular) have absolutely ruined the people in Europe with their tips by turning them into a bunch of people who now EXPECT to be tipped. This apparently means that Europeans are going to HAVE to tip people or be faced with certain death.

IMO, tipping is PERSONAL and why you think you need someone ELSE to tell you what your experience was when they weren't even there mystifies me.

If you feel a tip is deserved that is YOUR FEELING and should not be governed by anyone else.

Look, you'll never miss it and they'll never forget it. Nobody is going to KNOW what you do or do not do.
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May 19th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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Hard to say. Depends on the length of the tour and how much you enjoyed the guide.

We had a good guide at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. I think the tour last about 30 minutes, and I tipped her 5 euros. I have no idea if that was too much or too little.
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May 19th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Is the 'free tour' done by an individual who is not getting paid by someone else - then of course he/she depends on tips to make any money - but if he/she is employed to give such tours then the general rule of Europe applies - do not tip as if a salaried emplyee they will have a decent wage and benefits - Europeans never tip an employee of someone else it seems (from the other thread that Dukey mentions and TOTALLY missed the point on IMO - you can also watch the Europeans on that tour and see what they do.



Well what Europeans were telling Americans on that other thread is that Europeans never tip wait staff, cab drivers, etc who are already getting a living wage and benefits and unlike in the U.S. do not depend on tips for their salaries - Europeans think Americans are throwing their money away and just do not understand it - read the thread for yourself to see what others REALLY said about tipping.
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May 19th, 2015, 06:05 PM
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The "free tours" offered by this company are nothing more then a rip off, stealing from the officially licensed tour guides who keep the system working.

They would have to charge a fee if they were paying taxes and buying licenses.

I would tip them what they are worth, nothing!
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May 19th, 2015, 10:09 PM
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Nothing is for free. You end up paying with a tip in the end. As Robert says these are "stealing" from offical licensed guides. They are not officially allowed to operate inside of buildings and they could be uninsured . Maybe they rob from the government too. If no one pays taxes there is no one to pay for the infrastructure of the country.
A licensed guide undertakes a study to be sure they know the subject(s). Those who work for tips are untrained and usually are not locals.
Maybe one day I will use a free tour and just walk away. If enough persons done this these leaches would stop ripping of the tourists.
Please read this:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...Barcelona.html
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May 20th, 2015, 05:12 AM
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Kind of like Uber and Airbnb it seems - why not let the marketplace decide - if free tours are actually good what's wrong with that - have you taken any of those free tours to castigate their lack of knowledge, etc- indeed having to work for tips may make them do a better job than some wel-paid professional tour guide perhaps - let the market place decide - why should giving walking tours be a monopoly thru their 'officially licensed' status gained perhaps more by knowing someone than any real skill?

I don't know but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. But if the tour guide strictly depends on tips and does a good job tip them - if they are junk tours as the two above posters claim then just don't tip.
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May 20th, 2015, 11:35 AM
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Has anyone actually taken these 'free' (ain't nothing 'free' in life of course) walking tours and if so how were they? Offhand I don't see why some local could not give as good or better a tour than anyone else - how easy is it to get a license to be a guide - closed shop - makes a difference - if it is really given out by proven competence or not and if so covering bad points about a certain may be verboten?

So easy to dismiss these but I'd need to know more facts before doing so out of hand!
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May 20th, 2015, 12:02 PM
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I took a free walking tour in Prague and it was excellent. I've also taken a couple of free tours in SF with City Guides (through the library) - also very good.
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May 20th, 2015, 12:03 PM
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Oh, and each time, we tipped the equivalent of about 5-10 USD.
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May 21st, 2015, 06:51 AM
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I've taken the free tours in Stockholm and Ljubljana without incident. There were informative and friendly tour guides wholly dependent on tips - there were no upsells or other attempts to "extort" any type of additional payment. We didn't have to pay for admission to any sights or buy lunch or drinks at a particular location. Nothing untoward in any way.
The amount of the tip I give depends on several factors including the cost of a paid tour, the length of the tour, our level of enjoyment, etc. Since there are usually 4 of us, the tip has never been less than the equivalent of $20.
I have also paid for tours in several cities and to the horror (apparently) of others have tipped drivers, guides, etc when they have performed admirably.
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May 21st, 2015, 07:26 AM
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If I were on a 'free' tour where the guide obviously depends on tips for their compensation I would see how many others there were and how much each one should tip for a good wage - 20 people x $5 means $100 which is generous and it seems $5 if about right like dweislaw does.
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May 21st, 2015, 08:03 AM
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I see it as a moral choice
1) They are unlicensed hence paying no taxes and without a license you have no idea if they have serious moral problems. For me that is enough, however if you can live with that idea. Just remember those taxes pay for the roads you just walked on and the policeman who made sure you were safe, you help avoid those taxes then I'm disappointed, ;-)
2) They claim to be free but need money to live on (what?). Over the years, in small towns I've made friends with people who want to show me around. Hey, I've even done it myself. No need to tip.
3) If despite all this you want to tip it needs to be be paper so E5 makes sense.

Please forward a small pourboire to me for my freely given advice.......
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May 21st, 2015, 11:41 AM
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I can't agree that the lack of a license means there might be "serious moral problems" with either the guides themselves or the company owners. On top of that, I'm not so sure, especially in a place like Stockholm, that there isn't a license. Certainly, free tours stockholm is hiding in plain sight.
Our guide in Stockholm was also an employee at the City Hall (well worth a visit by the way). She was bright, cheery, educated, fluent in several languages and probably not a likely candidate for tax cheating.
I'm no libertarian, but some of the newer lesser regulated travel options -such as uber, airbnb, free tours (http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...ant-city-tours) - are, in my estimation, favorable developments.
Once I look up "pourboire" I'll see if I can send some your way
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May 21st, 2015, 11:50 AM
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Pal: >><<

You've never heard of familiarizing oneself with local customs?

bil: >>They are unlicensed hence paying no taxes and without a license you have no idea if they have serious moral problems.<<

Jeezus, you mean every time I tip I have to consider its overall effect on the national social and financial structure. It's not as if I'm buying drugs from al_Qaeda.

>>Please forward a small pourboire to me for my freely given advice.......<<

And be responsible for a crumbling Western society? Not a chance. Besides, it was lousy advice.
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May 21st, 2015, 12:11 PM
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Pal: >><<

You've never heard of familiarizing oneself with local customs?>

That was not my quote but Dukey's which I copied to commit on - I feel just like you do and think it was a rather clueless comment so I took issue with it. so address that not to me but Dukey!
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May 21st, 2015, 12:20 PM
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This thread may have set a new record for the percentage of people misunderstanding each other's posts.
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May 21st, 2015, 12:58 PM
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I don't understand what you mean.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
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May 21st, 2015, 01:44 PM
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I don't understand what you mean.>

I don't undertsand what you don't understand?
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