How to Tip to Tibet Travel Service Staff

How to Tip to Tibet Travel Service Staff

Here is some quick travel essentials information on tipping in Tibet travel.

With the upcoming Tibet travel season, we have recently been providing travelers with Tibetan culture tips in an effort to help tourists engage with Tibetan locals. Cultural norms regarding tipping vary all over the world and can be difficult to keep track of when visiting many countries in a short amount of time. While tipping is not expected in most places throughout China such as in Beijing, Shanghai or Xi’an, tipping is expected for a variety of services in Tibet and is a great way to give back to the Tibetan community.

Usually travel service staffs such as Tibet tour guides, drivers, hotel staff, and porters expect to be tipped; this is especially true if they have worked very hard to provide tourists with the best service possible. While cash is very much appreciated, small gifts from traveler’s own country are equally appreciated. These gifts can be a wide variety of items such as music CDs, perfumes/colognes, hats or T-shirts. Many items with brand name labels that are common in the western world can be highly coveted items for local Tibetans.

It is normal to wait until the end of the tour to tip the guide or driver. During the travel season, quality Tibetan tour guides can be very busy and the same guide may not always be able to see their group off at the airport or train station. If a guide mentions that this will be the case, it is appropriate to tip on the last day before departing for the airport or train station. Usually about 55-85 RMB per day is a good tip for a guide and about 40-55 RMB per day is good for a driver depending on the group size. For larger groups, a bigger tip may be appropriate. For a hotel porter, about 10-20 RMB is appropriate for bringing luggage to a room and around 15-20 RMB over a few days’ stay for the maid. For Tibet trekking tours that require yak support, 200-400 RMB is a good tip for the Tibetan yak person from the countryside.

While tourists are not necessarily under an obligation to tip, quality service deserves a tip. Many local Tibetans work very hard to serve travelers; if the service is enjoyed, please tip. The tour season lasts only a portion of the year and many Tibetan families depend on the income from this time to last them the entire year. At the same time, small gifts that can be used on a daily basis are also very valuable. Money given as a tip even helps Tibetans outside the tourism industry. Many Tibetans purchase goods and use services provided by other Tibetans. Those who leave a tip for good service while on a tour of Tibet can leave with the satisfaction of knowing they did their part to give back to the Tibetan community.