When at home in the United States, tipping etiquette is so integrated into daily routine - that it can often be overlooked as something that is done differently anywhere else in the world. Before leaving for a trip outside of the states, I highly recommend studying the tipping etiquette at your travel destination. I’ve gathered together some guidelines that will help prepare you and guide you through tipping your way through Europe!
In Europe you can use a credit card (with a chip) almost everywhere, however, it's always a good idea to carry some cash with you for incidentals and tipping. Should you run out of cash, you can always get more Euro at an ATM.
When planning ahead, I order my Euro from my local bank and usually get it within two days. My bank charges a $14 transaction fee and I can order in specific denominations - a teller at your local bank would be happy to assist you in this process. Banks get charged about a 1% fee from the bank they exchange with.
Airport bus transfers: Tip the driver 1 to 2 EUR per passenger per ride.
Tipping for escorted land tours: Tipping for an escorted tour is suggested at 8 EUR per day - 3 EUR for the bus driver and 5 EUR for your tour guide. Typically the guides will provide you with an envelope at the end of your tour to leave the tip in.
Tipping on a river cruise: In most cases, gratuities for your Cruise Manager and ship crew are not included in the cost of the cruise. While the amount of these gratuities will depend upon your degree of satisfaction for services received, here are general recommendations to follow:
3 EUR per person per day
21 EUR per person for a week, or 42 EUR per couple a week
12 EUR per person per day
84 EUR per person for a week, or 168 EUR per couple a week
Tipping a daily local guide: Each person within the tour group should tip the guide 1 to 2 EUR for a satisfactory performance.
Tipping a local bus driver: Tip 1 to 2 EUR to the guide per passenger for a full day tour.
Tipping at European restaurants:
Since European restaurant owners pay their staff a living wage, tipping is different than in the United States. The guidelines are as follows:
At a sit-down restaurant, tip between 5% to 10% of your total bill.
At a cafe, simply leave your extra change or round up.
If you’re paying for your meal on a credit card and wish to include the tip on the credit card, make sure to tell the waiter before your card is charged. In Europe, there is no extra line for tipping on the receipt like there is in the states - so the tip must be provided prior to charging.
Tipping a public restroom attendant:
You'll want to have some change on you to use public restrooms, it's usually €0.50 to use the public restroom, and there will be an attendant available to make change for you.
These tips on tipping are sure to provide an additional level of relaxation throughout your trip. Keep this guide handy to save you time and peace of mind during your next European getaway!