Travel

How much to tip for a free walking tour guide?

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 27th, 2017 1:28 am
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 5, 2012
141 posts
56 upvotes

How much to tip for a free walking tour guide?

In a couple of weeks, I will be in Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Morocco and Portugal), and intend to join a few "free" walking tours in each city. But, their website generally say that pay what you think the tour is worth.........

What is a reasonable tip, if any?
Last edited by te1648 on Sep 25th, 2017 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
15 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Apr 26, 2004
10738 posts
1063 upvotes
Mississauga
I'd say about 5 euros, depending on how much you enjoy the tour.
Newbie
Apr 12, 2008
78 posts
23 upvotes
I usually tip 15-20 Euros per head. Haven't been disappointed. Always had excellent tour guides.

http://www.neweuropetours.eu/#

Per Rick Steves (from several years back), tip 5 euros for a bad guide, 10 euros for a good guide and 15 euros for an excellent guide. These tour guides work for tips (which they explain at the start of the tour). They have to pay the operator 2-3 euros per person (which is not disclosed). So if you don't tip, they end up with a loss. That's why the operator takes a group photo before the tour begins to get an accurate head count.

As I've said, I've taken a lot of these "free" walking tours and have enjoyed all of them. The tour guides have all been very knowledgeable and entertaining (since they're working hard for tips). It's also a great way to meet other travelers.

Enjoy Europe!
Last edited by beach247 on Sep 26th, 2017 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 6, 2002
7400 posts
580 upvotes
Toronto
lemieux035 wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 12:00 am
If it's free, it should be free
Come on man.... if it's a good tour it's worth something... even a coin.

I'd say if you are a broke backpacker then take the freebie. If you have some level of income 5 euro minimum.

Other option is ask the tour guide if you want to go for a beer or if not a drinker a snack (most people really do enjoy beer in Europe), it is usually only a couple of euros assuming you are not in Scandinavia and you might pick up some additional tips or learn more. This of course assuming you liked the show.
Did I post something that interests you? Feel free to PM further questions.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 2, 2006
3504 posts
413 upvotes
I usually tip £5 or €5. If you don't like the guide, you can leave anytime. I left the tour halfway in Prague and Bratislava because I didn't like the guide. I left a free tour near the end in Lisbon because it started raining and I was starting to catch a cold, but I tipped the guide before I left.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
7608 posts
2016 upvotes
Toronto
lemieux035 wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 12:00 am
If it's free, it should be free
When taking "free" shuttles from airport to hotel, I'd also tip the driver who helped with my luggage. When staying at hotel using points (i.e. free hotel room), I'd still tip the maids.

Those people earn their living on tips. The "free" tour is to try to get your attention.

I'd top depending on the length, amount of walking, knowledge of the guide and the explanations, etc. A better guide who describes well can get more tip. But I'd tip at least 5 euro an hour.
Jr. Member
Aug 23, 2017
147 posts
99 upvotes
For most of my traveling in Germany, I've extensively depended on the walking tours.

The tour guide takes you for a stroll thru the city and explains about the places. That way I decided to buy tickets for only the places I felt interesting and worthwhile.

And regarding the tip, I generally gave them enough for a sandwich and coffee ( 8 to 10 Euro depending on the city)
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
18131 posts
2820 upvotes
GTA West
Depends on the quality of the tour. I did a very good one in Portugal and tour tipped 10 Eur.
Be aware that some guides actually have to pay their parent company a certain amount per tour participant. The only way the free tour guide makes money is through tips.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2014
1593 posts
590 upvotes
Tokyo
Wow it looks like I've been over-tipping. I've been doing 20 euros or dollars.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
5893 posts
3084 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
lemieux035 wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 12:00 am
If it's free, it should be free
If it is free, I would feel even more obliged to tip. Don't be a cheapskate!
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
31571 posts
6183 upvotes
Ottawa
McKinsey wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 1:55 pm
Wow it looks like I've been over-tipping. I've been doing 20 euros or dollars.
I truly do not think you have been over tipping. I've also given 20 euros when in Europe (10 for me and 10 for my Wife). The walking tours I have been on have been 2 to 3 hours and have been very interactive. I would have gotten far less enjoyment (and have) for very much more expensive tors with a guide.
In Rome we even stayed with the guide and a few others and went for dinner and drinks...... had a fantastic time.
I have to temper it a bit though. I have been at the meeting place for the tours and there have been 20 to 40 people waiting. I would generally bypass that tour or, would tip less just because it is/was not as informative or as much fun.
In the 21st Century deleting history has become far more important than making it. Anonymous
Newbie
Apr 12, 2008
78 posts
23 upvotes
McKinsey wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 1:55 pm
Wow it looks like I've been over-tipping. I've been doing 20 euros or dollars.
If you can afford it, why not be generous if you truly enjoyed the tour! Smiling Face With Open Mouth

We recently took 4 "free" walking tours earlier this month and we tipped 15-20 euros per head. We had a lot of fun and the tour guides gave us very valuable information on where the locals eat and socialize.

However, OP, for truly FREE self-guided walking tours, you can download Rick Steves' audio tours to your phone.

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-l ... udio-tours
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
15269 posts
5530 upvotes
For us I think we looked at 5-10 Euros per person (there are two of us) for the "free" walking tours. If we did not enjoy the tour, which does happen, our tip would be 0-5 Euros. The problem with these free walking tours is that some will take on massive groups or go through routes that are not good for a large group - when this is the case our enjoyment is lower and the tip amount reflects that.

These walking tours are great because they give a good introduction to the city and help you figure out what you want to explore further. We were never opposed to paying for a walking tour, but to be fair we found that the quality of many paid group tours is similar to the "free" ones.
Sr. Member
Apr 12, 2012
799 posts
183 upvotes
Toronto
Chickinvic wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 2:03 pm
If it is free, I would feel even more obliged to tip. Don't be a cheapskate!
"True charity occurs only when there are no notions of giving, giver, or gift."
Gautama Buddha (Founder of the True Religion of Peace)
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
5893 posts
3084 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
lemieux035 wrote:
Sep 26th, 2017 11:37 pm
"True charity occurs only when there are no notions of giving, giver, or gift."
Gautama Buddha (Founder of the True Religion of Peace)
They aren't running a charity. Pay for the service you receive as these people depend on their tips. Only a tit would stiff them after getting a tour from them.

Top