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?

  • In reply to tomclune49010530:

    I'm puzzled as to why there is even a discussion about tipping at all. RS markets their tours as "tips included" so I'll take them at their word. It's one of the reasons I do RS vs. OAT or any number of other travel companies. Also RS trips are not cheap, by any means. $5,000-$10,000 for a two week international trip is a fair chunk of change. I've been on 5 international trips with RS and tipping was not even discussed. I think your experience was atypical and you shouldn't be bullied into tipping when it's not expected or required.
  • In reply to Mary_A:

    No one should be bullied, but if you feel like tipping, you should.
  • In reply to linda.norby010404:

    I agree with Mary that the $5000 to $10,000 is supposed to be all inclusive, and we adhere to that and budget for it. RS explicitly states that there is no passing the hat. Of course, an individual can always tip confidentially without coercing others.
  • Usually (always) on commercial tours like Collette or Trafalgar, the tour guide makes it very plain when tipping is required and gives suggested amounts. I just returned from a trip to Philadelphia with RS and when I offered to tip one of the guides at the historic site he refused it. My sister went to Mexico last year with RS and their tour guide was quite insistent that they tip her. So I don't know .... maybe if nobody says that a tip is expected, then don't tip.
  • In reply to babwhite1215011156:

    We recently did an Oat Trip. The guide mentioned that she had guided Road Scholar trips in the past. I asked her if Road Scholar paid as well taking tips into consideration and she said no. She didn't seem comfortable going into detail, so I didn't push it.

    In my opinion, Road Scholar is clear in their literature but that doesn't always trickle down to the guides themselves. Road Scholar makes deals with many providers who may pay different rates and may or may not communicate the tipping included policy to the guides. I feel that Road Scholar should insist that all guides be informed of the policy and be and agree to not push for tips. We have found that some do and some don't.

    OAT can be consistent (that all tipping is included except for trip leaders) because they run all of their own programs. I actually like this and take that cost into account when comparing similar trips. Each company has their advantages, so I am not recommending one over the other.

    We have a Road Scholar trip planned in July. I plan on asking the guide directly about his or her understanding of the policy. I don't think that it should be a taboo subject. I suggest that others do the same. I will report back.
  • Regardless of how many time RS states their policy is that tipping is included there will always be people who feel the need to tip. I say do what you feel you want, but do it privately.

    Don't start up a group tip thus either embarrassing people who chose not to contribute or pressuring people into feeling they need to contribute. I go with RS policy as that is what I signed up for.
  • I've been on two RS trips (both included small boat cruises) The first trip I was not aware of tipping for group leader, although it may have occurred. We all tipped the boat crew. On the 2nd trip in SE Asia, I think most on the tour tipped the two group leaders and the bus driver.
  • On the last trip with RS some people discussed tipping, but I did not because it is clear that tipping was not expected. If someone had done something above and beyond I would tip. So do what you feel is right. If you are able and feel like you want to bless someone do it, but no one should feel obligated.
  • if the trip was good and the guides went above and beyond I always tip when were away from the group.
  • In reply to woof359012428:

    I have been on 30 Road Scholar programs, both domestic and international. Never any group trips. This is one of the reasons that I prefer Road Scholar trips to any other providers. I have had many great group leaders, but do not believe that I need to tip (I do, however, praise them in my evaluations and note them by name in the program reviews). Out of the 30 programs undertaken so far, I have only tipped one group leader who helped on an issue I had — above and beyond the normal group issues and unique to me. In that instance, I tipped privately. The No Tipping is a great policy.
  • I think that if we were all to agree to abide by the RS policy on tipping (which is clearly stated), we won't be having these worries and uncertainties (for some). Those who go against the policy by starting a collection or tipping are ruining the policy by setting up different expectations. There is another consideration. Do you tip your doctor? or accountant? or manager of your apartment building? I put the trip leaders in that same category. If the leader does something above and beyond his/her normal responsibilities for you (such as taking you to the emergency room), you might consider a gift of some sort, such as gift card to a favorite bookstore or a restaurant instead of cash. I really like RS's policy on tipping and I would not like to see that changed.
  • In reply to ellenbuckelew010421:

    4 trips here. All tips and fees included certainly refers to hotels, bellhops, restaurants, cabs paid by RS, etc. It is a personal choice whether to leave something for the Guide(and Driver on International). Ive done 3 international with great groups and we all tipped our International Guide and Driver handsomely. Didnt tip the RS Leader.
  • In reply to ridept041451:

    But no way $500...
  • In reply to zen012501:

    I don’t believe that tipping could ruin the policy. Leave the policy in place because many people like it. If I decide to tip inconspicuously, it’s my personal choice.
  • In reply to bjkimbia030412:

    How do you determine what to tip?