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Gratuities for tour guides, etc? What is the norm?

Gratuities for tour guides, etc? What is the norm?

Mar 10th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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Gratuities for tour guides, etc? What is the norm?

What is the practice for tipping helicopter pilots, captains, tour guides, masseuses (sic), etc. I know our fishing guides here in the Smokies rely on gratuities to supplement their income...I don't want to be chintzy...but, I don't want to be dashing out the dough if its not expected...Also, what is the practice for tipping the person that refills your endless beverages at the Marriott and other places like that!! The one you have purchased for almost $20 at the beginning of your stay to save money on soft drinks and tea and coffee!!! ONLY 3 MORE DAYS AND KAUAI HERE WE COME!!!
Mar 10th, 2003, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 76
As for tour guides, I suppose that it depends on the size of the tour group and personal attentiveness of the guide. For large groups, I would not normally think to tip them. If it is a smaller group with a more personal situation, and/or your tour guide really went out of his/her way to entertain and inform, then I would think a nice $5 or $10 would be a nice gesture.

I don't tip captains of boat tours. Helicopter pilots, I have no idea!

As for "endless" beverages, this is an ongoing enigma. I had an intriguing conversation about this when I was on a cruise at the Captain's dinner. For this dinner, the wine was complimentary and I was giving the waiter a buck for each serving as a gratuity. Someone at my table took offense at this, saying that my extending the server a buck was, in effect, obliging everyone else at the table to do the same, which they did not think was necessary. Someone else at the table made a comment that they had intended to give the waiter a $5 upon conclusion of the dinner and were now unsure if this, or my method, were the correct practice. Still another person at the table thought that if the captain was "picking up the wine", then he should also be "picking up the gratuity" and accused me of trying to bribe the server to get more timely service because I was a lush. Needless to say, I have yet to see any definitive answer to this, hopefully Earl from the pre-registration days reads this and chimes in.

As for masseuses, I usually tip $300.
Big_Money_D is offline  
Mar 10th, 2003, 08:05 PM
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>>As for masseuses, I usually tip $300

pspercy is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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We tip tour guides 10-20 a head, minimum.
kikihack is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 03:05 PM
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I usually tip tour guides 5% of the price per person ($50 tour would be a $2.50 tip). This is a good rule of thumb for me. I will also tip extra if an extra service is provided.

As far as free drinks, in casinos I tip $1 per drink per order. So if I order 5 drinks I will tip $5.

Talk to the person refilling your drink and find out if they pool tips or keep their own. If they pool, you could tip at the beginning and end of your stay.
Sep 26th, 2003, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 274
I went on a tour of Frenchman's bay last summer and paid $60.00 for two hour tour. The captain had about three hands on board who raised the sail and lowered it when we returned. They really didn't do anything else. The captain announced at the end of the tour that we need to tip his crew well as he doesn't pay them because they are getting their captain's license and are working for the mate's hours rather than pay. I had a problem with this type of tipping considering it was only two hours and the crew didn't really do anything.Plus , felt like the tour we took was really too expensive in the first place for what we did(just floated around the bay in a Windjammer).I didn't like the reasoning of tipping his crew because he doesn't pay them.
Trisha is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 10:57 AM
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Last year I had friends visitng on Kauai, we did some tourist stuff. I was appalled at the blatant request for tips! At the Fern Grotto the captain told us over the mike we were expected to tip the dancers who stood there with outstretched hands as we filed out. At the end of a "free" hula show at the mall , a tip bowl was shoved under the onlookers' faces. On a NaPali trip the crew announced that tips were expected. At Duke's the musicians admonished the bar crowd to tip their servers (DUH!) plus the band (they did this via microphone.) I am not an old crank but all this in one week really fried me and
as a Kauai resident I worte a letter to the Kauai Visitors Bureau saying how uncomfortable I felt.

BUT, I have been on many wonerful tours on Kauai and neighbor islands where tips were not mentioned. Depending on how long the tour is, we usually tip $5 to $10 a head and it is truly appreciated.

Musicians in restaurants and bars should be tipped, especially if they play your requests.

As for helicopter pilots....hmmmm, I dont know if it is appropriate or not! It seems like they are professionals and not accepting tips. But I do happen to know they are not very highly paid which I found a bit disconcerting, LOL.
vivi is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 02:50 PM
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This comment is in regards to the wonderful Mexican guides that work the busses to Xcaret (sp) and other attractions. Often tourists get the tour for free because they went to a sales pitch for a time share.
If this is the case and the guide was great (as in all my experiences) we tip at least 20.00.
We think it is a great bargain... the whole tour for a 20.00 tip and a 1 hour sales pitch.
The guides who work only for tips are always so gracious.
TxTravelPro is offline  
Sep 29th, 2003, 11:57 AM
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I don't think you're expected to tip helicopter pilots or boat captains.

I tip tour guides or boat crew about 10%. For spa services, I usually tip 15% (some spas add an automatic gratuity, so check first).
Patty is offline  
Sep 29th, 2003, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Wow, I'm glad I read this because I had no idea I had to tip a tour guide! We are going on the Valley Waterfall tour. As long as we are on the topic, how much a day have you tipped the cleaning people for a place like the 4 Seasons?

Leaving for Hawaii on Thursday (no more dumb questions from me, LOL)!!

Dneilp is offline  
Sep 29th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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I asked our pilot of a plane tour over the volcano on the BI what the norm is for tipping, and he said $5-$20 a trip....
Molly2 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2003, 07:35 PM
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In regards to tipping the cleaning people at the 4 seasons, we just came back and tipped the morning maid $5 a day, the evening turn down $3-5 a day. This is standard.
kikihack is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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ttt for GatorLadyUSA
Nov 16th, 2003, 01:24 PM
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Posts: 249
A shorter list would be who DON'T you tip on vacation. We're constantly doling out money.
gotribe is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 02:34 PM
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Thanks GoTravel. Took me a while but I finally found this post your were talking about. I usually tell my corporate clients here in New Orleans to tip about $2 per person in their group or about $5 per family/couple. For those who feel the tour guide was really great or went above & beyond, I tell them to go with 20% of the ticket price. Tours here average $15 to $20 a head so that's $3 to $4 per person. Thanks again GoTravel!
GatorLadyUSA is offline  
Nov 17th, 2003, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 245
Travelers should not complain about others' generosity. If the tips get more attention, that's what it's for:
T o I nsure P roper S ervice.

As for percentage tipping, be aware that some tours are extremely inexpensive, e.g., $5/two hours. I would think a minimum of 20%, or $1, would be appropriate.
PakePorkChop is offline  

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