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Gratitude and Tipping

Welcome back to Philip James Travel!

This might sound a little odd, but all the recent uproar about, shhh! Coronavirus has me feeling grateful.  Really, you say?  In the midst of this crisis?  Well actually, yes; I am grateful in the middle of an epidemic.  At the forefront I’m grateful that I am well, we (family, you) are well, and we live in an incredible age of medical advancements that keep us well.

As it relates to my business, I am grateful for my clients who are a resilient, intrepid lot who take personal responsibility for their own wellbeing and make informed, thoughtful decisions about THEIR travel.  And I am grateful that epidemics and other travel disruptors remind me to focus on what’s important in my business and in my life…. specifically, on the things I can control, and to focus less on the things that I can’t.  In other words, I am focusing on the positive – not the fear.

So, with gratitude and positive thinking in mind, let’s look at a tangible way we can show our gratitude when we travel…. tipping.

We’re Americans, so naturally, we’re the experts on all things related to tipping, right?  Well, yes, if we stay here in the comfort of our own backyards, but what about when we go out into the world?  If you’re going to Europe this year (yeah, good for you!) you might not be so sure about the customs there, so here a few “tips”.

Unlike in the U.S., tipping is not always expected in Europe. Take these steps to avoid causing offense — or spending needlessly — during your stay.

While adding an additional 20 percent to your bill is custom in the United States, there are many countries where a tip is not necessary. In your pre-trip planning, I’ll provide you with country-specific guidelines, or when in-country simply ask a local what’s appropriate. In some countries, a gratuity may get added to your bill automatically. Whether finishing up at a restaurant, catching a cab, or simply taking a tour of the local sites, follow these guidelines to ensure you’re paying the right amount.

Restaurants: Always check your bill.  If a service charge has been included, no additional gratuity is necessary. Otherwise, a 10 percent tip is seen as generous in most European countries. Bring cash — some restaurants won’t allow a gratuity to be added to a credit card purchase.

Hotels: If a porter helps with your luggage, it’s customary to offer one or two euros (or the local equivalent) per bag. Concierges who attend to special requests should also be recognized with 10 to 20 euros. Additionally, tipping housekeeping staff a few euros at the end of your stay is appreciated but not expected.

Taxis: Universally, taxi drivers do not anticipate tips, though rounding up to the next euro is standard.

Other services: It is routine to tip tour guides a few euros for a job well done. Hairstylists and spa technicians in the U.K., France, and Germany are used to a gratuity of 5 to 10 percent, whereas those in most Scandinavian countries are not.

The bottom line: Ultimately, use discretion; if you are happy with a service, offer a few euros. And, when in doubt, simply ask a local. Your hotel manager or concierge can also be an indispensable resource.

Now that you might be feeling a little grateful yourself, and you’re ready to tip a little more confidently, and if you haven’t yet called me to talk about where you’d like to go, I welcome the opportunity to have that conversation with you.  May I help you?


Philip -


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