Truth About Tipping

As you reach deep into your pocket to scarp together just enough to tip the locals you cringe as you realise its your last few dollars for the day. Your budget is tight, but other peoples pockets are not.

As a young solo traveller living off a few dollar a day, I have found tipping to be a total nightmare and something I honestly dred! Around the world as a traveller you will find it is more conpsulry to tip in certin countries over others. For example in Australia we don’t nessacarliy do tipping – as an Australian we more tend to leave a larger tip every now and then, rather than with every service.

In places such as America and within Europe tipping is a given, you are more than likely expected to tip towards majority of the services you use or are given – we are talking cafes, restaurants, and general services.

After being on the road for only a few weeks now I have found that in the short time I have had as a solo, budgeted traveller tipping is dreadful. I mean I would love to tip everyone that ever helped me, offered great service or just gerally was there for me on my trip (such as tour guides etc) but the truth is, I cannot afford it. I cannot afford to reach into my pocket and tip 10-15% or more on every service for 12 months straight. If I was to do this I would find a 12 month trip would turn into a 6month trip…

This is where the debate about whether you should or shouldn’t leave a tip whilst abroad comes in, being young I honestly think it shouldn’t be expected or looked down upon when a student or young traveller cant afford to tip (even if it is only $5US) because hay, we are only young, don’t earn much, and unfortuently on tight budgets that we simply cant afford let alone extend. Maybe if you are a bit older, finished your studies and earning a fulltime wage then yes, maybe you should give a little tip IF you were truly happy with your service and if you think that it is appropriate. If your an older traveller or young family, then I would expect tipping, but again, only as much as you can afford and only if you truly want to.

The point I want to bring up, is that fellow travellers should be aware that not everybody can afford to tip every service they have provided to them. The truth is it should be a personal decision made by yourself and not others, let alone have anything to do with them.

(Story Time!!!!!) whilst teavelling through Africa the past few weeks I have found myself in some pretty sticky and awkard situations regarding tipping. I personal have never “tipped” before whilst travelling, because I haven’t needed too and haven’t travelled to places where it compolsury let alone expected. If I feel happy with a service then yes, I will give an amount in which im happy with, no problem at all!

Say for example I have just recently spent a night in the middle of the African wildness. We had our tour group driven out to a campsite and when we arrived our tents where already put up for us (of which normally happens on overnight excusions that we pay for anyway) the following morning I had a lady approach me on our tour and ask for certain amount for the men that put up our tents. I politly told her I couldn’t afford the amount she was asking for and that I thought it was included on our trip anyway (which it was) so that I didn’t think it was overly necessary to tip, she just stared blankly at me and walked off. Turns out I wasn’t alone, it ended up just a few people actually gave a tip and majority of us didn’t think it was necessary.

On another occasion we had a wonderful drive throughout the Serengeti, our driver was amazing! And I mean WOW! He was so friendly, so helpful and just fun and bubbly to be around – this is when I tipped, and didn’t have any pressure at all and actually felt good to give him a little something. I also had an occasion when I had a lovely cab driver who walked me from the cab to my hotel in Zanzibar, he walked with me for 10 minutes trying to find the hotel, because It was in the middle of stonetown in a marketplace and I didn’t feel comftable walking alone, he offered to walk me to the hotel and of course I gave him a well deserved tip! He made me feel so safe and didn’t even ask for anything at all.

I’m not a stingy person, and I defiantly don’t like feeling like the bad guy, but unfortuently when it comes to tipping I defiantly feel the pressure and just wish fellow travellers are aware that not everyone can afford to tip every service provided to them. I believe its lovely to leave a healthy tip to those you truly do feel impressed with and those that have gone above and beyond in helping you out in anyway!

Don’t feel the pressure and tip because everyone else is. If your not overly happy with the service, then just move on and let it be. You don’t need to be rude about it, but just say a friendly thank you and move on. And to those that feel like tipping should be done everywhere – that too is completely fine! But please just be caustious, especially when travelling with others, as not everyone is fincallay stable and secure enough to freely tip everyone and anyone.


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