gratuity currency

I have been reading that gratuities for guides and drivers are best received in the currency of their country. We are booked on the Scandinavia 2019 tour. Since this visits 3 countries what currency is recommended for the guide and driver?

Comments

  • We just use whatever currency we have left. We feel that the guides and drivers are able to convert this to whatever they would like.
  • edited July 2018
    The drivers are local, so it's best to tip them in the local currency. If you know what country the driver is from (the tour director will usually say when they introduce the driver), best to use that currency. Most of the tour directors are American, so dollars would be best for them, but if you have leftover local currency, you can give them that, too.

    The Tauck green book says its fine to use dollars or local currency.
  • edited July 2018
    You can always take and use USD, especially if you will have limited access to an ATM on tour. But otherwise, wait until you get there and use an ATM for cash. It may be difficult to figure our what currency to give your TD. One of our TDs was born in Berlin, now lives in California, normally runs Alps and Danube tours, but is now working Classic Italy, sooooooo. Our TD in Ireland was born and raised in England and regularly visits her parents there, but a few years ago she moved to New Zealand, sooooo. The TDs will be pleased to receive and have no trouble figuring out what to do with whatever they are given- with the possible exception of Confederate dollars or Venezuelan Bolívars. : )

    As to drivers- I know what it says in the "Before You Go," (The customary gratuities for the Tauck Director and local drivers are not included) but typically you tip only drivers that are with you for the entire tour, Tauck usually takes care of all others- e.g. safari drivers in Africa, excursions on river cruises, bus ride along the Amalfi coast, Cusco to the Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu, etc. Call Tauck or wait for a recent traveller to weigh in.
  • I am assuming that the tour Directors go to the banks frequently because I sometimes see them giving local guides cash very discreetly. Directors and bus drivers get so much cash, they must be well acquainted in how to change to different currencies. I find getting foreign currency in the US an absolute pain, that is not the case in most other first world countries,
  • I used to worry about this one but no more. On our England, Scotland, Wales tour the driver for most of it was English and the TD was American. In Ireland, the driver was Irish but the TD was English. We ended up using a combination of US, Euros and Pound Stirling. Unless they're hiding it from the tax man, one way or another they gotta take it to a bank.
  • Thanks to all for the replies. I will bring USD from home and use them for the tips. No charge ATM's allow me to get cash for no fee, unlike the ATM'S in Europe which charge for the privilege.
  • habu wrote:
    Thanks to all for the replies. I will bring USD from home and use them for the tips. No charge ATM's allow me to get cash for no fee, unlike the ATM'S in Europe which charge for the privilege.

    Depends on your bank or credit union. Ours only charges a 1% or less for using our debit card and no foreign transaction fee to charge.
  • So far the TD (while American) have resided in the country of the tour and the same for the drivers. It seems to me only appropriate to tip in the currency of the tour. Otherwise they are being penalized when they convert the currency. Unless, of course, you are being extra generous and taking this into account.
  • edited July 2018
    whw wrote:
    So far the TD (while American) have resided in the country of the tour and the same for the drivers. It seems to me only appropriate to tip in the currency of the tour. Otherwise they are being penalized when they convert the currency. Unless, of course, you are being extra generous and taking this into account.

    Hardly any of the tour directors I have encountered actually live in the country they are tour directing in. Tour guides have to visit a bank pretty frequently, they just can’t keep the amount of cash they receive on a couple of tours on their person or attempt to spend it all. Let’s say, on a two week tour, that has forty people on it, if each guest gives the suggested tip of around $140, that’s almost $6000 a trip. The dollar is a stable currency if you compare it to most others. And on many tours you go through say five countries which I have, some with five different currencies. We still almost exclusively give money in dollars that we put by before the start of the tour. If we have any of the foreign money left that we get on the tour, We put that in too, maybe taking some dollars out. We take foreign money with us less and less.., or get a very small amount. It’s so hard to budget how much you need, the amount you give the tour director is probably going to include some dollar currency.
  • I like to simplify this process so it is not a distraction during the trip. I add two days to the trip, calculate the amount of tip for a trip of that length, and I put it in (U.S. dollars) an envelope marked TD before I ever leave home. If the TD does a poor job, I might take some out ... but that has never happened. (;-)
  • We have always used US dollars for tips. Like Sealord, we pre-set envelopes for both director and driver. These folks have access to banks or exchanges.
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