Whom To Tip Abroad
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
A cynic of long experience might answer "Everybody." But this is not quite the case. Only those with whom the traveler comes into more or less personal contact in his living places, his transportation, and his sightseeing really expect gratuities of him.
However, though tipping is one of the apparently necessary evils in Europe and most other foreign countries, even as it is at home, the European form of it is within fairly reasonable limits. Nowhere in Europe is the 50 per cent gratuity expected by our bootblacks, nor even the 20 to 75 per cent not uncommon in our barber shops, in vogue. For small services a nickel coin is not scorned, and even coppers are accepted with gratitude in cases where they are in proportion to the service rendered.
The uninitiated traveler, particularly if he is American and especially if he is young or newly rich, is likely to tip too much, at least for minor services. He tips largely in order to be on the safe side, or for fear of being considered small orstingy. Even if you are wealthy, be reasonable in tipping servants and cab-drivers on your travels. Too great generosity makes it hard for the natives and the more modest travelers who come after you.
Still, the great majority of American travelers abroad are neither ostentatious nor over-wealthy, and the information of most value to the greatest number of them is how much to tips, without being unfair to anyone. Life being organized on the plan it is, servants abroad not only expect tips but would be grossly underpaid, if indeed paid at all, without the tip. In many continental hotels and restaurants the improvement has been introduced of adding 10 per cent and even 15 per cent to the bill in lieu of tips. Germany and Italy are among the foremost in this matter of increasing the dignity of those who perform menial services acid the convenience of those who pay for them. England has not yet adopted this new idea. The difficulty is that the giving and accepting of tips has been for so long a concomitant of European life as to be al-most automatic and unconscious, and even if those among whom the extra 10 per cent is to be distributed do not forget themselves and ask, in the silent ways they have learned, for the usual tips in addition, there is no case on record of their refusing them when proffered by a thoughtless guest or client. As a matter of fact, nominal tipping in addition to the amount added to the bill, is usually expected especially of those who are particular about having goad service. In some cases the amount added to the hotel bill may not include the hall porter, luggage carrier, and a few others, who should in that event be remembered as of old.
This hall porter, by the way, known as the concierge in France, the portero in Spain, and by various other names, can be your best friend or your worst enemy. He is a whole library of information (occasionally biased or "subsidized") and is likely to feel hurt if you seek ad-vice elsewhere. In some cases he is so filled with information that it pours forth without your so much as turning the spigot. More often, especially in England, the sense of his great dignity restrains him from bubbling over without cause. He will never refuse a tip, but most experienced travelers feel obliged to give him one only if he has given requested information, or been of actual service in other ways. In most cases he will succeed in being so. The equivalent of a quarter, or at most, of a half dollar, is ample for ordinary service during a few days' stay at the establishment he honors with his attendance.
If you stick to the 10 per cent to 15 per cent as a tip in all cases, you will not go far astray. But for longer stays, or with husband and wife, 8 per cent will in most cases suffice. If all your meals have been taken at the hotel, about one-fourth of this total should go to the waiter, one-fourth to the room-maid (or be divided between her and the valet), one-fourth or less to the head waiter and the hall porter or concierge, and the rest scattered among the other servants who have attended you. These will include "boots" (who not only attends to the footwear you leave outside the room door each evening but usually also handles the baggage), the "bell-boy" or "buttons," the elevator-man, if any, and perhaps one or two others. If there is a station porter, who sees you and your baggage from and to the trains, he will expect a small as will also the omnibus driver if you go to and from the station in the hotel conveyance. In addition, a dime '(two francs in France; fifty centavos in Spain; a lira or two in Italy; 6d in England; fifty pfennig in Germany, etc., at present rates of exchange) will be expected for each large piece of baggage when the porter brings it to your room and when he takes it out again.
For those not familiar with the money of the country it is advisable to get plenty of small change each time a travel cheque is cashed. By paying your restaurant and other small bills in exact change you will not only avoid the possibility of being "short-changed" but will get back none of the bad coins that float about various parts of Europe. The money received at a bank can be relied upon. In those few cities of France and some other countries of Europe where the shin-plasters issued in small denominations by the municipalities during the war are still somewhat in vogue, avoid them when possible or pass them on before leaving town. They are not acceptable elsewhere, and the trouble of exchanging them at banks is so great that those still on your person when you leave might 'better be kept as souvenirs.
In England 4 is the ancient custom to tip the servants at a private house in which you have been a guest. This also should be upon leaving, somewhat more generously than at a hotel,, and should be done as unostentatiously as possible. Your host will appreciate this last evidence of good taste, since it is a prevailing fiction that he knows nothing about it
Some experienced travelers follow the plan of handing all of the 10 per cent to the head waiter (except what may have been given the chambermaid and others) when paying the bill e presents. In Switzerland, and often in France, it is becoming the fashion to hand the 10 per cent intact to the cashier upon paying the bill and leave him the task of doling it out. This is much preferable to handing something to everyone in the line when making your exit. For a stay of a single night the chamber-maid at an English hotel need not be tipped, but a shilling a person for a sojourn of a few days is customary. If she prepares your bath (which is a regular part of her duties) 6d or a shilling, a few francs, or the equivalent of a dime in other continental countries is usual.
Local guides, cabmen, taxicab drivers, care-takers of semi-private museums and the like, and in general any-one who facilitates your traveling or sight-seeing will not resent a small gratuity. In Germany it is a not uncommon practice to reward with a copper the street-car conductor who sells you your ticket en route. Strangely enough, this custom prevails somewhat also on the other side of the world, on the two-story, woman-conducted street-cars of Chile. In the foreign hotels of Japan the 10 per cent rule will do. But in a Japanese inn much larger tips are expected.
Rickshaw-men expect a small tip in addition to the legal or agreed-upon fare in every country where that converted baby-carriage form of conveyance is used. In Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and all the normally foreign-traveled cities of South America, New World generosity in tipping is the rule. Sleeping-car attendants and dining-car or traveling-cafe waiters hope to be remembered wherever those refinements to travel exist. The chauffeur of a car hired for some days may be satisfied with 5 per cent of the bill, In no case should tips be given for poor or indifferent service, though in many parts, especially of Europe, the serving class takes the attitude that the tip is as fixed an obligation as the bill.