Tipping Policy in China
Tipping is not expected in China, but it is enormously appreciated. For a person who earns US$ 100 per month, a US$ 10 tip is about 3 days’ wages. Up-market hotels and some restaurants may slap a 5% service charge on top of the government’s 10% value-added tax (VAT). This service charge might be considered a mandatory tip, though it’s doubtful that much of it reaches the employees. In general, if you stay a couple of days in the same hotel it’s not such a bad idea to tip the staff who clean your room ?US$ 2 should be enough.
You should also consider tipping drivers and guides ?after all, the time they spend on the road with you means time away from home and family, especially when they accompany with you at night for overtime. Ditto if you take a day tour with a group ?the guides and drivers are paid next to nothing. Typically, travelers on minibus tours will pool together to collect a communal tip separately for guide and driver.
For group of 1-4 passengers, recommend tipping policy is:
About US$ 5 per day (per tourist) for guide, US$ 2 per day (per tourist) for driver is standard. Of course, give more if you’re feeling generous, but if you find a genuine reason not to tip, don’t.
For group of 5 passengers and above, recommend tipping policy is:
About US$ 2 per day (per tourist) for guide, US$ 1 per day (per tourist) for driver is standard. Of course, give more if you’re feeling generous, but if you find a genuine reason not to tip, don’t.
How to select a reliable tour agency in China
They are plenty of travel agencies in China, both government ones and those privately owned, which can book tours, provide cars and guides, issue air tickets and arrange visa extensions.
A lot of the budget agencies also double as restaurant-cafes, which offer cheap eats, rooms for rent and Internet access. Some agencies capture a large share of the local “fast-food?tourist market, in particular the cheap “open tours? “seat-in coach? or “Join-in tours? which shuttle travelers in buses from different hotels in the city, visit those “must-go?famous tour attractions, it is convenient and safe when you are traveling alone, what you need to do is register in advance, but need to be ready for wasting time for waiting for other passengers, for your shuttle bus picks up passengers from different hotels in the morning, and drop them off one by one when the program finishes.
Many hotels in China also pedal tours, however it is not advisable to book trips through hotels. Though the prices are roughly the same (the hotels collecting a sales commission from the agents), booking directly with the tour operators will give a much better idea of what you will get for your money, who it is you’ll be traveling with, and also with how many other people.
There has been a stream of complaints lately about “Join-in tours?or “Budget tours?in China. The biggest issue seems to be the gap between what they promise and what they actually deliver. Competition is fierce, and cut-throat price cutting among various tour operators has driven the cost of tours so low that in some cases it has become difficult to provide a satisfactory product. Sometimes the profit margin for the tour operator is so slim the only way for them to make any money is to increase the number of customers, and in doing so, lower the quality of the tour. You can do the math for yourself. Usually these customers have booked same tour from a variety of outlets for different prices (usually within a few dollars of each other).
You can indeed buy a two-day/one-night, all-inclusive excursion tour for as little as US$ 48, but do you really care to travel on a 45-seat bus and visit 4 souvenir shops per day? The dollars saved will probably not be remembered as much as the quality of the trip itself. It’s your choice of course, but if you buy the cheapest thing out there, you’ll have to share the blame if you don’t come away satisfied, don’t want to mention the time and money spending on the long distance flight for this holiday?
We suggest seeking out tour operators who stick to small groups, and use their own vehicles and guides, especially the ones who really care for your feelings.
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