Tipping

RS literature states that all tipping is included in the trip price, but I am wondering if this applies to the trip leader who escorts the group throughout the trip. I have traveled with other companies where such a tip is encouraged and expected ($8-$12/day per person) at the end of the trip. What is the practice on RS trips?

  • Hello,
    On all of our programs all tips, taxes, and gratuities are included. It's not necessary to tip the group leader or anyone else on the program since the cost for the program does include these fees. We hope you enjoy a program with us soon!
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    I really like this aspect of the program because I don't have to worry about having sufficient cash at the end of the trip to tip the leader and other program personnel. This also affects our relationship with the tour leader: he/she is seen as a professional and not someone in the service sector. However, sometimes the local tour leaders or docents seemed to expect tips, so there was always confusion and sometimes awkwardness. Perhaps the RS program leaders can make the policy clearer to cover all aspects and personnel.
  • In reply to Road Scholar:

    On our last (& our first trip with RS) trip, most of our traveling companions discussed that they would be tipping our group leaders & local guides. They all had been on several RS trips & said that the tips included with our trip were very low & felt that the guides & trip leaders deserved more. As far as we could tell, most of the people in our group did give tips. We did tip our group leaders & local guides - We felt that if we were the only ones in our group who did NOT tip, this would make us look cheap & not appreciative of our guides. We were sort of put in an awkward spot. Is it safe to assume that our trip leaders & local guides all know that we are told that tips are included? We spent an additional $500 or more tipping each leader/guide $10 per day per person.
  • I'll be following this thread. I assumed I didn't have to worry about tipping the leaders (something I love about RS) but I also would't want to be the only one on a trip who didn't tip.
  • Since I started this thread, the responses make clear that the stated policy and actual practice may differ. It would help to hear from people who have been on multiple RS trips. What is the norm and how to avoid the awkwardness that some are experiencing?
  • In reply to whgwood052654:

    I've been on 10 trips and I've never seen anyone tipping or heard any discussion about it. But all of my trips have been within the U.S.
  • I have done 11 trips with RS. One reason I love traveling with RS is because I do not have to worry about tipping or anything extra, except any meals that are stated, up front, not to be included. I never hear any discussion from other group members about tipping our leaders and/or guides and I have never had a leader or guide make me feel as though they expected a tip. Would I join in if approached? I would probably tell them that tipping is included in the price of the trip and that I would not be participating, but that they could do what they wanted.
  • In reply to p_oberle012248:

    why is there even a discussion about tipping?? RS policy is stated clearly In their catalogs . All tips included in the price of the program !
  • In reply to ellenbuckelew010421:

    It does happen. I have been on 6 RS trips. Only on one trip did the group take up a collection for the group leaders. No one would know if you put money in the till or not, they passed an envelope. I hold with the RS policy of no tipping as this is what I signed up for. Don't let others make you feel otherwise, you are in charge of your monies. $500 is ridiculous.
  • On my very first RS trip (in US) some people in the group started organizing a "collection" for the group leader. I (among others) ignored the effort based on what I understood about RS programs. I noticed a few people discreetly tipping on a program in Europe.
    My most recent RS trip was to a country where incomes are low. On several occasions we were told that if we wanted to add any tips for the local people who had provided experiences that were part of the program, we were welcome to. Envelopes were provided in one instance.
  • It is a personal choice I believe. If you feel pressured to tip, that detracts from the whole trip experience. I've had some group leaders that were excellent, and I felt inclined to privately show my appreciation with a few dollars in a thank you card. I've had some group leaders that were just doing their job, and we clients were just another group they had to take care of. I felt NO inclination to show my gratitude with a tip. It's all about the experience. I usually decline to participate in a tip from the group.
  • In reply to CT_PBW:

    That $500 would get me on another trip!
  • I've been on eight RS trips. While all of the tour leaders have been excellent, I've only tipped on two occasions. In both cases, the tour leader did a little something extra for me. On the other trips, I was a member of the group and believe that I required no extra effort by the leader. On only one occasion have I tipped a local guide who helped me find a store where I purchased an adapter to copy my pictures to another device for backup. The no tipping policy is one of the reasons I travel with RS.

  • Like others posting here the ‘tips included’ aspect of RS is one reason I choose them. I would only tip if I required something outside of the norm--help in a medical emergency for example. We travel every year (on our own) to Australia where the minimum wage is quite high and tipping is not the norm. Locals discourage tourists from tipping as it raises the expectations of the service staff and makes already high cost of meals and accommodation higher for all. It does feel awkward at times not tipping, but only because it is my habit back home (Canada) to do so. Once we did tip a private nature guide and explained that we usual like to make a donation to a local charity when travelling but since he does much volunteer conservation work we felt we wanted to recognize him. He was very surprised and appreciative. Also, in New Zealand where tipping is also not the norm we found service staff in general the best and friendliest we have encountered anywhere. Lovely to think they are doing a good job because they truly want to be of service, not in the hope of some monetary reward.
  • In reply to whgwood052654:

    No tipping over and above what is included in the program cost. ( Based on 5 RS trips so far.)