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Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 86
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

June 20, 2013

I don't have a problem with generously tipping Program Directors, drivers, local guides, and others who provide DIRECT SERVICE TO ME!!! This service could be by seriously answering my serious questions; finding items of particular interest to me; physically helping me (and others) into and out of buses, vans, boats, elephant seats, etc.; generally looking out for my (and others') personal welfare; or similar actions.

I do have a problem with tipping Program Directors who assume that we “seasoned American travelers” are old, rich, and dumb; and unsmiling drivers who never leave their seats to offer a helping hand. On some?/most?/all? GCT/OAT trips, travelers are entitled to transfers and porterage of at least one bag, all at no cost—why, then, are we expected to tip the drivers who do nothing more than their jobs?

Worse, in my opinion, are tips for housekeeping staff. When I check into a hotel ($100 per night, for example), I expect (and am happy to pay for) a clean room with the usual amenities. When I stay for subsequent nights AT THE SAME RATE, I expect the same value. Unless the staff has done some DIRECT SERVICE TO ME (cleaned up some unfortunate problem, for instance), why should I tip them? They did their jobs, I paid my bill—should be the end of story.

I can't solve all of the world's economic problems. Thus, I object to the idea of automatically including tips in trip costs—I want to make those decisions myself by tipping either more or less according to the service I receive.



Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 165
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

June 20, 2013
Just sayin”: This topic has been “beat to death” on both the GCT and OAT forums. You can get other people’s responses by finding the threads via each forum’s “search” function.
My biggest complaint is the OAT recommended tipping amount is the same for all of their trips regardless of the country. So is the GCT recommended tipping amounts.  I will go out on a limb here and guess that GCT/OAT is not likely to customize their tipping recommendations anytime soon; as it is not necessarily in their best financial interest to do so. Needless to say, they want to keep their initial tour price as low (i.e. competitive) as possible.  I’m sure GCT/OAT knows that their tipping guidelines are geared to the more affluent countries; however, it is not in their best interest to provide lower suggested tipping amounts for the lesser developed countries. In order to keep a guide they have to make a reasonable income. Now that income can from the sum of their salary and tips. The more tips they receive the less salary GCT/OAT has to pay them. This helps keep GCT/OAT’s expenses low. Also, it would add to the operating costs to designate an employee in each region to constantly monitor the “standard of living” in all the locations and continually adjust the recommended tipping guidelines (and update all the brochures, handbooks, and websites, etc.) accordingly.


The definitive answer to tipping is posted in each of the OAT trip’s official handbook: “Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion.”

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 721
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

June 21, 2013

Go buckeyes got it right--the tipping issue been beaten to death.

However, I disagree about tipping housekeeping. I appreciate having clean glasses, towels, sheets, etc. and don't mind leaving a few dollars for a hotel employee who is on the low end of the pay scale. I do it whether I'm traveling independently or with a group.  

If you stay in a hotel after the tour ends wouldn't you tip the wait staff? A taxi driver? A bartender? So, why not housekeeping?

I also tip the bus drivers. I don't need help getting on or off the bus, but the drivers are the ones who are loading and unloading the luggage every time there is destination change. My suitcase usually weighs 40-45 pounds. I wouldn't want to be lifting that in and out of a bus every few days. The drivers are lifting/loading luggage for about 40 people on GCT trips and getting in and out of the luggage hold to arrange the suitcases.  I think that's worth a tip.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 1,057
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

June 21, 2013

I can usually manage getting on and off the buses without help, although I don't look particularly graceful doing it.  But I do appreciate a helping hand, whether from the driver, the local guide or the PD.

When I stay at hotels, I always leave a tip for the housekeeper/maid.  In this country and in other countries where tipping is the norm. 

When I budget for a trip, tipping is part of what I budget for.  What I don't budget much for are the unincluded meals.  Whether I'm on a trip or at home, I still have to eat.  And I eat very lightly.  My last trip was Ireland in Depth.  And I mostly had soup and the included bread or a smoked salmon sandwich.  If I take advantage of the buffet to eat a larger breakfast than normal, I don't need much for the rest of the day. 

If I can afford to take the trip, I can afford to tip those who help make it enjoyable.


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