EUROPEAN TIPPING GUIDELINES
Below are some tipping suggestions for traveling to Europe. At nearly every step of the traveling process, there are professionals waiting to "lighten your load", and to provide assistance. Therefore, remember to carry change and small bills for tips. Cash should be in the currency of the country in which you are traveling and can be obtained from your bank in the USA, exchange bureaus at airport and city locations, or from ATM machines throughout Europe. The latter provides the best exchange rate to the US Dollar.
For the suggestions offered below, amounts are given in Euros and should be converted into local currency at prevailing rates.
Private Car Drivers
Please note that gratuities are not included in your private transfer prices. The equivalent of a €5 to €10 tip is usually satisfactory for airport, station and port transfers. A higher tip would be appropriate if the driver provides extra assistance with baggage-handling and/or if special attention or extra service is provided.
For taxis, just round up to the next total number on the fare (e.g. to pay a €12 fare, give €13); for a long ride, to the nearest 10 (for a €56 fare, give €60). If the driver provides extra services or additional baggage handling, then include a bit more.
Private Tour Guides
Please note that gratuities are not included in your tour. For a half-day tour from 1 to 3 passengers, the equivalent of €25 to €30 total is appropriate. For a full day service from 1 to 3 passengers, the equivalent of €35 to €60 total is recommended. For each additional passenger add extra €5.
Group Sightseeing Tours
Tipping a guide on a group or public tour is optional. However, if you feel that the guide has done an exemplary job, the equivalent of €1.50 per person for a half-day tour and €2.50 per person for a full-day tour, in cash, handed to the tour guide at the end of the tour is appropriate.
Luggage Handling / Porters
A standard tip for airport, train or hotel porters, the equivalent of €1 per piece of standard luggage, is appreciated, and if you are shown to your room, an additional €1 to €2 is appropriate.
Doormen - Typically, a €1 to €2 tip for hailing a taxi is appropriate, with additional for special service, such as carrying your bags or shielding you with an umbrella.
Concierge - Tips are expected for special services such as making restaurant or theater reservations, arranging sightseeing tours, etc. The amount of the tip is generally dependent on the type and complexity of the service(s). You may elect to tip for each service, or in one sum upon departure. If you want to ensure special treatment from the concierge throughout your stay, you might consider a tip upon arrival.
Housekeeping - Maids are often forgotten about when it comes to tipping because they typically do their work when you are not around. For stays of more than one night, €1.50 per night is standard and the tip should be left in the hotel room in a marked envelope.
In restaurants, a 5%- 10% gratuity is the norm, but of course if someone is particularly attentive, you can give more. Check the restaurant bill; often the gratuity (15%) is included with the total (it may also be stated at the bottom of the menu). A couple of extra dollars is appreciated if the service has been outstanding. In France, for instance, gratuity is often not included (service non compris or s.n.c.), tip 5%-10% by rounding up or leave the change from your bill.
It's best to hand the tip directly to the waiter rather than leaving it on the table, especially in busy restaurants. Especially in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, you should be discreet and well-mannered and say the total number of amount you'd like the waiter to keep (including his tip) when paying. If you are paying by credit card, the rule of thumb is to pay the tip in cash so you can be sure the wait person receives it. If the service is bad and you have the choice how much to tip, it is considered poor manners not to tip something. 5 percent is the minimum.