Tipping Etiquette

Tipping protocol can vary from what it is in the States. Overseas, tips are not always expected but are usually welcomed. Whether to tip or not is completely at your discretion – and here are some guidelines to assist if you feel as though you want to reward great service.

 

Hospitality: Restaurants, Pubs, Hotels

Restaurants

British Isles: Most restaurants will not include service charge unless there is a party of six or more. Be sure to ask the waitstaff if a service charge is already included in your bill. If you want to show more appreciation, you could leave one or two Euro/Pound coins on the table. If service is not included, we suggest adding 10%-15% to the total bill based on the level of service you feel you received.
 
Italy: Every restaurant includes a service charge, so tipping is not required or expected. During a recent visit to Venice, a waiter made a joke about keeping my five Euro change as his tip. It’s important to be careful in more populated areas like Venice where the waitstaff is used to getting tipped only because Americans are unaware that they do not have to. If the establishment does not include a service charge, we recommend leaving between €1 – €5 for your server at casual eateries and a 5-10% tip at fancier restaurants.
 
France: Every restaurant includes a service charge, so tipping is not required or expected. If the establishment does not, we recommend leaving between €1 – €5 for your server at casual eateries and a 5-10% tip at fancier restaurants. Also at more expensive restaurants, we suggest tipping restroom attendants and coat-check personnel up to €1.
 
Spain: Tipping is not required or expected. Most locals will round up the total of the bill to the nearest even amount. For groups of 10 or more, a 5% tip is recommended.
 
Switzerland: Every restaurant includes a service charge, so tipping is not required or expected. Most locals will round up the total of the bill to the nearest even amount. For groups of 10 or more, a 8-10% tip is recommended.
 
Portugal: Tipping is not required or expected. Most locals will round up the total of the bill to the nearest even amount. For groups of 10 or more, a 10% tip is recommended.
 
Iceland: Every restaurant includes a service charge, so tipping is not required or expected. If the establishment does not, we recommend leaving a 10% tip. Most locals will round up the total of the bill to the nearest even amount. For example, if your meal’s cost was 17,700 ISK, you could round up to 18,000, however this would only be for dining at a more expensive restaurant.
 

Bartenders

It is very rare to tip a bartender in any part of Europe. Most bartenders do not expect it, and some may even refuse it. However, please feel free to leave 1-2 £ / € on the bar if you find it necessary but this is certainly not required.

We would say that if you develop a rapport with the bartender, you could offer a euro/pound or two with the phrase, “and one for yourself!”
 

Hotel Housekeeping / Breakfast Waitstaff

Ireland and the UK: Tipping housekeeping and breakfast waitstaff is not expected.
 
Spain: It is customary to leave €2-5 on the nightstand for housekeeping each morning as well as leaving the same on the table for hotel breakfast staff service.
 
Italy, France, Switzerland and Portugal: It is customary to leave €1-2 on the nightstand for housekeeping each morning as well as leaving the same on the table for hotel breakfast staff service.
 
Iceland: It is not customary to tip hotel staff in Iceland, whether it is the maid or the bellman. Their services are included in your bill and nothing more is expected from you. However, if you did want to leave a small tip for your maid, you could leave it in an envelope for them or simply hand it to them if you see one another.
 

Porterage/Luggage Assistance

Ireland, Italy and Switzerland: We suggest a range between €1-2 per bag when traveling independently. If you are assisted by a concierge and received exceptional service, it is customary to give them a tip of €1-5.
 
The UK and France: We suggest a range between € / £ 1-2 per bag when traveling independently. For the concierge service in the major cities, you should tip at least € / £ 10-15 depending on the difficulty of the task that has been performed. We recommend tipping the hotel doorman € / £ 2 for hailing a cab if you ask him to do so. For the concierge service outside major cities, no more than a € / £ 5 tip would be appreciated.
 
Spain and Portugal: We suggest a range between €1-2 per bag when traveling independently. For the concierge service, you should tip at least €5-10 depending on the difficulty of the task that has been performed.
 
Iceland: We suggest a range between €1-2 per bag when traveling independently. No tipping is expected for concierge services.
 

 

Daily Touring & Activities

Walking Tour Guides

In most of Europe, if you have a fantastic time and wish to tip your guide, your guide will be more than happy to receive it. If you are on a private tour group and really enjoyed yourselves, we recommend about 20 – 30 £ / € total for a group of 20 people and under. For non-private scheduled tours, we suggest about 5 £ / € per person.
 
Iceland: Tipping is not expected.
 

Private Day Tour with a Driver Guide

For a full day of private guided touring, we suggest between 10-25 £/€ per person.

 

Group Day Tour

Ireland and the UK: A day tour operated by a local tour operator with a mixed group of travelers, we suggest between 5-15 £ / € per person. At times a separate guide may accompany the driver in which case a tip should also be considered for their service.

Italy and France: A day tour operated by a local tour operator with a mixed group of travelers, we suggest €10 per person. At times a separate guide may accompany the driver in which case a tip should also be considered for their service. For a half-day tour, we suggest €5 per person.

Spain: A day tour operated by a local tour operator with a mixed group of travelers, we suggest between €2-5 per person. At times a separate guide may accompany the driver in which case a tip should also be considered for their service.

Portugal: A day tour operated by a local tour operator with a mixed group of travelers, we suggest around €5 per person.

Iceland and Switzerland: Tipping is not expected as it will be included with your tour.
 

 

Direct Private Transfers

Airport Transfers

In Europe and the UK we would suggest tipping the following amounts based on the group/vehicle size for a standard airport transfer with a driver up to 30 mins. If the transfer is longer then we would increase the tip accordingly.
Car (1-3 passengers): 5-15 £/€
Standard Van (3-5 passengers): 10-20 £/€
Large Van (5-10 passengers): 20-30 £/€
Mini-Buses (10-20 passengers): 25-40 £/€
Bus (20-50 passengers): 30-60 £/€
 

Point-to-point / town-to-town transfers

In most of Europe, for private driver services under 4 hours, we suggest using your discretion based on a range of £ / € 5-10 per person. If the drive is over 4 hours, we suggest between £ / € 10-15 per person. Again, this is all depending on the length of the drive and the total number of passengers, and your appreciation of the service provided. Your point-to-point private driver will not be required to offer touring services so in any chance they do during your drive, it is best to keep this in mind to guide what tip you would like to offer.
 

Taxis

When using a taxi cab in Europe, we suggest at least rounding up your bill to the nearest £ / € or giving a few coins, though tipping is not expected unless your taxi cab driver gave helpful information for touring the area or answered many of your questions during your drive.
 

 

Multi-Day and Multi-Location Tours

Private Driver Guiding

For multiple full days of privately guided touring, as always, the gratuity is entirely at your discretion and the amount of gratuity should depend on the level of service that you feel you have received. Here are the generally accepted and suggested norms:
2-4 travelers: 15-20 £/€ per person, per day
5-8 travelers: 10-15 £/€ per person, per day
8-20 travelers: 8-10 £/€ per person, per day
20+ travelers: 5-8 £/€ per person, per day
At times a separate guide may accompany the driver in which case a tip should also be considered for their service.

 

 

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