We are going on the SA Elegant Adventure on October 4. We wanted to know if it’s preferable to tip the Tauck Director in US dollars or the SA Rand. Also is it better to bring some Rands with us or to get them at an ATM in SA.
Don't bother bringing RAND. If you need it get it there from an ATM, you'll likely get a better exchange rate. Chances are that your TD will be US, but could also be from Canada (even possibly from NZ, AUS or UK). I'd plan on using USD for the gratuity, but you can supplement (mix and match) with leftover RAND. The TD will have no problem disposing of either.
We tipped in USD. We brought some Rand with us.
I usually bring some Euros when I travel in Europe for incidentals, etc. The only time I used an ATM, while the exchange rate might have been better, the fees charged by my bank and the ATM to use it cost way more than if I had just paid a service charge when I bought the Euros at home and brought them with me. If possible, I charge as much as I can on a card that doesn't have conversion fees.
We have never exchanged any Money in Africa for the local currencies. We give the tour directors their tips in dollars. When you think of the huge amount of money they receive from guests every couple of weeks, let’s say average of $140 from each person, they are going to need to get that money to the bank and deposit it or exchange it fairly frequently. They are not going to want to carry it around with them and will have no problem receiving tips in dollars as long as the notes are in good order and recent. On the SA four, they have time In Johannesburg and Cape Town to do this.
I've always tipped in dollars as well, and just brought local currency for small incidentals at local places.
I thought you didn’t have to top the guides. Isn’t that included with Tauck?
Alidor30: You don’t have to tip the guides, but you should tip the tour director on ‘land’ trips. On small ship trips the TD’s tip is also included.
Alidor. I think some people get confused between a tour director and a tour guide. The tour director is the group leader. A guide is the person who is the area you are visiting who may join the tour for all or part of the tour and there may be more than one. On river cruises and small ship adventures the Tour Director’s tip is always included. On Land Tours, the Tour Director’s tip has never been included. It’s very clear in the green book even if it was harder to find this on the old website. When I first started traveling with Tauck, the recommenced amount of tip per person per day was $8 but these past couple of years it has been $10. I am always commenting that I am convinced not everyone tips the tour director so I guess that might have included you on your previous tours.