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ChoralNet: Tipping the bus driver

Dear List,

Thank you to all who responded to my query regarding gratuity for motorcoach drivers in Ireland. Below I've copied my original question as well as all of the responses.

Many thanks,
Briana Bailey

Our youth choir will complete a 10-day concert tour of Ireland this summer.
We have hired a motorcoach for the entire trip, and we're wondering--
what is the appropriate gratuity for drivers on a trip such as this?
Does anyone have any guidelines or suggestions?


We generally give $1-2 per head per day. That is pretty standard...but it should all be based upon the service that they give you as well.
Our experience tells us that you should plan on about $15.00 per person as a tip for the bus driver. If you have a tour guide who is with you for a length of time you will want to do the same. If you are using a tour company to put your tour together, they should have information regarding tips as a part of their price package. Let me know if you need other touring assistance.
We've done one dollar per person, per day, which in your case would equal $10 per
person. It seems high, but that's what we've been told by travel companies.
The company that we use recommends $100/day, which comes out to about
$2/person/day. I find that excessive on long trips, particularly one of your length,
but I'm not the driver! I guess it also depends on the service that you get.
The usual gratuity seems to be: Adults - 1 euro a day, Kids - 1/2 euro.
If he or she goes above and beyond their 'driving' duties tip accordingly - are they acting as a tour guide, pointing things out, etc.
I never was able to figure out what was the "customary" or "appropriate" amount, but after a couple trips where none of the kids had any money left on the last day or so, I learned to build into the cost of the trip an amount equal to whatever we would give. I would then give that at the end of the trip and not make any attempt to pass an envelope around the bus for kids to drop in their left-over change. That was a whole lot less embarrassing, and I didn't end up having to run to an ATM to try to make up for what appeared to be a slim tip. For short trips of a couple days we generally gave around $50.00. I've been retired from that sort of thing for a few years now, but when I did a trip of similar length (also in Ireland and England, by the way) I think we gave the driver about $100 and the guy who was our guide/escort another $100. (That was probably on the low end given the terrific service we had and given the fact that both of these guys were really personable and
made everyone on the trip feel really special. Our fund-raising efforts weren't as good that year as they might have been, and we had to make the personal contribution part of the trip higher than usual, so there wasn't much left over for the tip.)
I used to have a whip round when we toured in Ireland, about £2 per person on the coach is usually good. (from Belfast)
Check with the folks at Witte Travel in Grand Rapids. They are the best!
I don't know about abroad, but domestically we tip $10 per day to the driver. Hope that helps. Please post a compilation with would be very helpful!
We suggest $1.50 per day per person.

If it's part of a package OR a tourist deal, it's usually already included. Check your bill.

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on February 24, 2007 10:00pm
I have been in this business for approx. 12 years. In truth I have come to learn that some people are just not appreciative of service. "If" we have money left over we tip X amount. That is bogus. These are the same people who will complain if the driver is not "professional". But they do not respectfully treat him as a professional at the end of the trip. They do not realize that for the most part a driver is paid on the low end of the wage scale - simply because of the anticipated tips he is "sure" to recieve from the tour groups. He spends a week away from his family for less money than a fry cook makes. I deal with shoe string groups and I deal with professional organizations -what I have learned is: if a driver is only basicly proficient at his job the tip should be a minimum of $1.00 per day per person. If he is a cut above, make it a $1.50-2.00 per day per person. And if your driver really is all that a driver should be then the driver (man or woman) deserves $3.00 - 5.00 a day per person -Not per couple. The driver will use the "tips" recieved as an indication of what is right and what isn't.