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contiki staff tips

17 Jul 2009 Suzanne said

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hi everyone,
im doing a few usa tours next week and in my contiki travel documents it said they suggest we tip each crew member $3 per day, and that there can be up to 3 crew members. im from the uk where we dont tend to tip except at restaurants so im not used to it, but does that not seem quite a lot? it means it could be $9 a day for 18 days = $162 per person on the trip. if thats what everyone will do thats fine but just seems like quite a lot to give thats all.
  • 17 Jul 2009 Jeremy said

    Jeremy

    I am not sure with Contiki but I know that other tour companies only pay their crew members $35-$50 USD a day with lodging and food provided during the tour. It is not too much. I think on my 17 day Europe trip I tipped 30-40 Euro for the TM and Driver each since they were so awesome. I think it is just a suggestion on average, especially since normal tips are a fixed percent of the bill. Just see what everyone else is doing and give what you feel they deserve if you have money to spare. They really appreciate it.

  • 17 Jul 2009 ChrisSoll48 said

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    Suzanne,
    Unfortunately, tipping is part of the culture in America and is expected of any one visiting. You should include this as part of the expensive of your trip. I can see how $160 dollars seems like a lot, but it is one of the only ways your TM gets paid. Since they are dedicating their whole nine days to you having a great holiday, it really is a small price to pay. I think of this in the same way as attending a restaurant. You have the option to not eat out, so if you choose to you should know that you will pay for having the extra service of a waitress. Since you are choosing to go on a tour with a tour guide instead of traveling alone you should expect to compensate the staff. The staff is counting on the tips to make it by.On my contiki Europe trips, most people tipped the TM 50-100 Euro for a one week trip. And that was in Europe where tipping rates are lower.When they suggest $3/day, that is on the low end of what they probably really deserve, and they just quote that number as a minimum. I can see how it can be hard to understand, but this is one of those things you’ll have to just adjust to while traveling. Please respond if you have any other questions.

    Chrissy

  • 17 Jul 2009 Suzanne said

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    hi,
    thanks for your replies. I wasnt complaining about having to tip, i was just wondering if that was a normal amount. i guess i will see how everyone else tips, per day, per week etc. i can imagine its hard work for the crew so have no problem tipping, just wanted to know how much. is there no minimum wage in the usa like they have here in the uk? seems like a lot of jobs reply on tips which i think is very unfair on the workers!!

  • 17 Jul 2009 ArrylT said

    ArrylT

    Hey Suzanne,

    I hope that you have a great trip. I’ve always loved visiting the US. I’ll be in London myself at the start of my tour & looking forward to it!

    I believe basic minimum wage in the US is $7.15 USD/hour but it varies from stste to state & some states don’t even have a minimum wage requirement.

    The same applies to Canada (if your tour takes you there). In Ontario (where I live) the min is $9.50 CAD/hour but anyone working in a place that serves liquor (ie bars/restaurants/clubs) is usually classified as a liquor server and as such doesnt fall under the same wage requirment so they make less.

    Just as a FYI a lot of restaurants that serve large groups tend to automatically include a 15% gratuity fee with the bill … so be sure to check that first before tipping – otherwise you’re tipping on top of the ‘mandatory tip’.

  • 17 Jul 2009 Jeremy said

    Jeremy

    The minimum wage in the US is about $7.15 an hour. I think it might go up here soon or has already gone up, I am not sure. That is on the Federal level, and some states have even higher minimum wages. One thing that people dont realize though is that restaurant employees, for example, have their own minimum wage which is slightly more than $3/hour because they get tips primarily as the form of income.

    I would imagine there are other rules that could potentially exempt tour companies from having such a requirement. I know seasonal employees are not necessarily under the same category that part time and full time employees are in which minimum wage must be followed. Even so, a TM works every hour of the day and probably would still only get “paid” for 8 hours if they were getting minimum wage.

  • 19 Jul 2009 Rezuri said

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    Suzanne,

    Honestly, it’s you’re money. If you don’t feel like tipping that much (or at all), you don’t have to.

    Personally, I feel like I’m paying Contiki enough already without also paying someone who’s job is to travel to awesome places.

    If you can afford to do it, go ahead and tip. But if you’re on a tight budget, don’t feel like you HAVE to.

  • 22 Jul 2009 cdm115 said

    cdm115

    Remember $3 a day is a guideline. If your staff isn’t very good then you can tip less and if they’re awesome you might want to throw in a couple extra dollars.

  • 8 Aug 2009 Ando said

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    I agree with Rezuri. Besices… no-one has to know how much you tip (they gave us two envelopes each [one for TM, one for driver]). It’s all anonymous.

    I tipped the tour manager more than the bus driver, because he was a bit of a grouch & quite rude at some points, but I didn’t go on the whole $2-3 per day with either of them.

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