Q: I'm planning to travel to Europe this year. What are the rules on tipping the hotel staff, restaurant, tour guide, bus driver, etc.?
–Elaine, West Palm Beach, Fla.
A: To get the scoop on tipping in Europe, I spoke with Cynthia Lett, the founder and executive director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals. Here are her recommendations:
Hotel Staff: A euro or two, per bag, is generous for the porter. For the maid, a few euros at the end of your stay is appropriate if your room was kept clean. If you give the maid her tip on the first day, service and cleanliness is often improved.
Restaurant: Tipping isn't as automatic or as generous as it is in the United States. The normal rate would be 5–10 percent, if you notice that the tip wasn't already added (check your bill).
Tour Guides: When booking your tour, ask if gratuities are extra. If they are, plan on giving a euro or two, depending on the tour's length (you’re advised to give more to private guides).
Drivers of Tour Buses: If you're taking a bus tour, tip a bus driver about 3 euros per adult per day, unless they're also the tour guide, in which case you should tip them more, about 5–10 euros.
Taxis: Just round up your bill or add 5–10 percent.
Restrooms: Public restrooms in Europe are rarely free. If you see a plate with a coin in it, match whatever that coin is. The attendant may be there handing you a towel or soap. About 30 euro cents would make an appropriate tip for him or her.