As we run Adelaide’s daily tips-based walking tour, a question we get asked a lot is, “How much should I tip?”.
Let’s be honest. It’s an awkward situation, for the traveller as well as us. Though, at the heart of it, everyone wants the right thing to be done if that question is being asked.
We do appreciate people asking us this, but what they must know is that we don’t really like to suggest something concrete, because we believe you should be the first judge of how much to provide.
We will tell you that it’s up to you to decide, based on what you think the tour is worth.
So, how do you do that? What are the things a traveller should consider when tipping a guide?
Firstly, the length of the tour; how much time you’re walking around with someone who knows the city much better than you do. Most tours go for two to three hours.
If it’s a two-hour tour, then perhaps consider how much you’re tipping them for two hours of their time. How much per hour is their time worth for you? Consider how much you would pay for a city walking tour if a tips-based tour wasn’t an option.
Then you also have to consider the guide’s level of expertise. Some tour guides are students, some finding their feet in the industry, and others of a professional level who have worked either domestically or abroad as a tour guide.
In that two hours, how much of their knowledge is intriguing you and keeping you interested? How much have you walked away with from that two hours?
The level of a guide’s knowledge becomes obvious as the tour goes on, and knowledge is a key part of any guide’s role, so should be considered heavily in your decision.
If you’ve read all this and still aren’t sure, perhaps think about it in terms of local currency/cost of living. Using different currency can be daunting as the value of things is often different to your part of the world. This particularly rings true for Australian dollars compared to the Euro.
When looking at all of this, what we can suggest is the amount we often receive from individuals: $20. To put our currency in local terms:
$15 will buy a guide a decent local South Australian gin and tonic at a bar as thanks
$20 will cover a nice lunch for a guide anywhere in the city as thanks
$30 will get a guide a week’s worth of public transport to and from work as thanks
Please note that no-one is ever forced to give money. But there is an expectation travellers come along knowing the concept of the tour (or are informed via a reminder ahead of it starting). Usually, a tip is an additional service to a base payment – here, there is no base payment, and the tip should incorporate this.
The idea a tips-based tour is literally a ‘free’ walking tour is, in essence, inconsiderate to the guide and company. Companies like ours are taking a chance by making this sort of tour affordable for any traveller, trusting you to fairly name your own price based on the tour’s worth. Guides genuinely feel demoralised when travellers walk away from a tour without showing their appreciation.
There are many volunteer “Greeter” services worldwide that are able to provide free city orientations. What we provide is a comprehensive overview of Adelaide, and we’re hopeful travellers are appreciative of this and are able to show it in whatever way they can.
We trust that you will help us survive and thrive. Come and walk with us to see what we’re all about!
Missed last week’s post? We showed you the best of Adelaide’s Leafies that were around the city for six weeks, and loved by those on our tours!