Tipping has been an increasingly hot topic of discussion in Canada.
Mainly centered on questions involving the service industry (e.g. “Am I expected to tip a barista at Starbucks?” or “How much should I tip a delivery driver if I’m already paying for delivery?” etc.,), conversations have begun happening about whether or not tipping should be done away with altogether.
These are big questions to tackle and we would like to focus on one subset of this growing conversation; should you tip your tour guide?
For some, this is a simple answer.
You may say “of course you should tip, a guide spends hours giving you a wonderful experience and they deserve to be shown appreciation” or you could be saying “heck no, I paid a lot for the tour already and feel that’s enough.”
Who is right? It depends.
Let’s ask a few more questions that will help make things easier for you to decide where you stand on the matter.
1/ WHERE ARE YOU?
While some Asian countries like China and Singapore have no expectation of tipping whatsoever, in North America it’s customary to leave between 10% – 20% of the bill as a tip.
So if you’re thinking about booking a Niagara Falls walking tour this summer, it may be wise to factor a tip into the overall cost, unless it’s already included.
Which brings us to the next question…
2/ ARE GRATUITIES INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF THE TOUR?
Before you book your tour, see if there is a list of items included and another list of items not included.
If tips / gratuities are mentioned in the included list then there’s your answer! No need to give an additional tip on top of what you have already paid for the tour.
If they are specifically noted in the NOT included list, then that also gives you your answer. If the company explicitly has tips / gratuities showing under the not included list, reading between the lines translates this to “our guides rely on and probably expect tips.”
Tour guides, especially those who lead Niagara Falls tours, are generally humble people who have a hard time coming right out and saying they are hoping for (or in some cases even expecting) a tip at the end of the tour.
If they’re not listed in either type of list, you’ll need to review other questions in this article to get your answer or better yet, reach out to the tour company and ask.
3/ WAS THE EXPERIENCE GREAT?
This is perhaps the most important question of them all.
Whether or not tipping is customary in the country you’re visiting and regardless of how tips are or are not factored into the price of Niagara Falls tour packages, choosing whether or not to leave a tip should always be based on your experience.
Was the experience great? Tip big! Was the experience a dreadful mess? Save your money.
A few key takeaways…
- Most tour guides put a lot of pride and time into their craft and feel valued when they receive tips for their work.
- If the experience was poor, don’t feel pressured to tip. While customary in Canada, it’s rarely mandatory.
- Tipping in cash is usually preferred, especially in the local currency.