Tipping is rather different when you’re traveling in Europe. It is not as expected or as high as it is here in the US, even when service has been less than stellar. If you have never been or haven’t been to Europe in awhile, here are some tipping tips to help destress your vacation and give you one less thing to worry about. It does vary a bit from from country to country, like in France where by law, a service charge is always added to your bill. but not a lot. As always, when in doubt, ask the hotel staff for advice.
TIPPING TIPS WHEN TRAVELING IN EUROPE
The main people in hotels to consider tipping are the concierges, porter, doorman getting you a taxi, and housekeeping. If the concierge has done something very special for you, like gotten you reservations at a hot restaurant, you may want to tip up to 10 euros. Porters who help you with your luggage get one or two euros per bag.
You can also leave a few euros for the housekeeping staff when you leave, but it’s not expected. Doormen generally aren’t tipped unless they do something just for you, then one or two euros is customary. But, it’s hard to resist when they look like the ones at Claridge’s.
The customary tip in restaurants is 5-10% and 10% is considered generous. But, it is at your discretion. An easy rule of thumb is to add one or two euros for each person in your party. Always check to make sure that a tip has not been added to your bill first, however, because this is common practice and is often advertised on the menu outside the restaurant.
It also might be wise to make sure you have cash. Not all restaurants allow you to add a tip to the bill and you can’t always be sure your waiter will actually be the recipient. Bartenders aren’t usually tipped, but if you’ve received great service, one to two euros will suffice. When ordering food from a counter, it is not customary to tip like it can be here – think Starbucks.
Unrelated, but I can’t wait until the states get the little credit card machines that they have in Europe. The wait staff bring it to your table and you’re done in seconds.
Our general experience traveling in Europe has been very positive with taxis especially in London, but they do not expect tips. It is, however, common to round up to the next euro/pound. If you have a very long ride or they help with your bags, then round up to the nearest 10. Say your fare is 66 euros then give 70. If you are of fortunate to have a chauffeur, then you can either ask the person who booked the driver what is standard or we’ve given 10% of the cost.
We use private local tour guides all the time. You gain so much knowledge and get to see things you probably would never on your own. For tipping, a few euros is common, but I use my discretion. If they’ve been really good, we will give them the equivalent of $20. For other tour guides on buses or boats, don’t feel obligated even if they hold out their hand. But, if you’ve enjoyed the tour, again one or two euros will be appreciated.
Typical tipping at a spa is 5 – 10%. This includes a stylist if you desperately need a haircut while traveling.
As we said, when in doubt round up or give one or two euros or stick with 10% and you can’t go wrong…
What has your experience with tipping been when traveling in Europe?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub’s founders. She is also a contributor at TravelingMom & Challenge Family. She has been her triathlete husband’s biggest supporter and co-traveler for over 15 years. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include running, traveling, real food, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.