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If you are staying in a private room are you tipping the help?

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Many of us have tried to help those albergue owners by sending contributions, here and there.

I am wondering, if any of you that are staying in private rooms at private albergues are or might consider leaving a tip for the cleaning personnel, as we might do at home? Are you tipping at restaurants?
 
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Having travelled in the US and being aware of the wages which housekeepers get there, I have a natural tendency to leave a small tip (50c or a euro). It is not customary in Spain, and not necessary as staff are decently paid and have benefits (in larger hotels they are unionized). However, I don't feel particularly guilty if I forget. My approach suffers from a lack of logic.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Having travelled in the US and being aware of the wages which housekeepers get there, I have a natural tendency to leave a small tip (50c or a euro). It is not customary in Spain, and not necessary as staff are decently paid and have benefits (in larger hotels they are unionized). However, I don't feel particularly guilty if I forget. My approach suffers from a lack of logic.
You might want to consider this article about the plight of housekeepers in Spain and how the pandemic made the situation worse. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...f-working-conditions-on-new-hotel-booking-app
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
You might want to consider this article about the plight of housekeepers in Spain and how the pandemic made the situation worse. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...f-working-conditions-on-new-hotel-booking-app


I already read the article some time ago .I honestly don't know what is the best way to approach this in general.Choose for an independent small hostal/hotel where most often a family runs the place entirely themself or where they hire some local person?
Or choose a bigger and more fancy hotel ( if ok with the finances ) and that way enable the " Las Kelly's " to earn a decent living?

In general I never tip housekeeping but I do round up at a bar or resto.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I already read the article some time ago .I honestly don't know what is the best way to approach veshis in general.Choose for an independent small hostal/hotel where most often a family runs the place entirely themself or where they hire some local person?
Or choose a bigger and more fancy hotel ( if ok with the finances ) and that way enable the " Las Kelly's " to earn a decent living?

In general I never tip housekeeping but I do round up at a bar or resto.
Apparently, as I understand the article, the hotels are cutting salaries by making the housekeepers meet unattainable standards. If one has to clean between 25-30 rooms per day, that means that each room has to be cleaned and sanitized in about 15minutes. If they can’t meet the standard, the workers are receiving reduced salaries. Not a living wage…

I generally tip whether it is a hostal, an albergue with a private room or a hotel. Even if it is a family run place. My experience is that generally (not always, of course), the family hires someone else to do the cleaning.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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In the US I always tip 20% in restaurants unless really unfriendly waitstaff, then I lower it accordingly. I tip hotel cleaning staff by leaving a bill or two on the bed each day I am there.
In Spain and Portugal I tip approx half those amounts in bars/restaurants if food is brought to me at a table.
(I have not yet read the article.)
 
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wayfarer

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Past OR future Camino
2012
Many of us have tried to help those albergue owners by sending contributions, here and there.

I am wondering, if any of you that are staying in private rooms at private albergues are or might consider leaving a tip for the cleaning personnel, as we might do at home? Are you tipping at restaurants?
Yes, always for both.
 
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Many and many more.
Many of us have tried to help those albergue owners by sending contributions, here and there.

I am wondering, if any of you that are staying in private rooms at private albergues are or might consider leaving a tip for the cleaning personnel, as we might do at home? Are you tipping at restaurants?
Yes. Modestly, by American standards, in bars and restaurants. 10% +/-. Housekeeping, I leave €5-10 cash per night - handed over personally if the opportunity arises.

My first job was washing dishes deep in the kitchen. None of the front of house tips ever came my way…
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I am wondering, if any of you that are staying in private rooms at private albergues are or might consider leaving a tip for the cleaning personnel, as we might do at home?

In my misspent youth I hitchhiked around Europe, instead of going to university, and worked for a month or so in hotels in different countries as a chambermaid (are they still called that?) to earn more cash to keep travelling.

I really appreciated the tips that were left to me then, so I’ve seen it from the other side, so to speak, and so I still tend to leave something for the room attendant when I can, but not always.

If I do, I leave a note slightly hidden under the pillow, so that the only person to find it is the one changing the sheets. Other staff members – porter, housekeeper, manager, receptionist - may also have access to the room before the cleaner can get in there.

However, I don’t think tipping the room staff in Spain is expected, anymore than it is in the UK.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
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(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Rules vary. In Europe, tipping is not expected, but of course welcome. I am a pensioner, but even so, coming from a rich country, my pension is way above average salaries in countries like Spain. So yes, I tip. Not big time, but I most often do. I have enough, so why not share a little...

From my many work related travels in USA (many years, 25 diff. states), it's a totally different culture there, and very strange to me: You are expected to tip 15-20%. It is a completely different demand on people like me, coming from another cultural background, but ok; When in Rome, do as the Romans... I have come to understand it is bc of low wages.(?)
 
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2012
Similar: I've worked bars and sweaty kitchens, beaten Pheasant and Grouse for the Nobs to shoot and held horses for the Hunt. €5 for the porter (if there is one), €5 a day to housekeeping, 10% to waiting staff (unless I’ve hit hard-core on the wine list), round-up for bar staff.

That said I once left €10 on the bedside table in a little hostal in Espinama in the Picos de Europa. At Fuente De a small boy on a bicycle caught me up. Waving my €10 note he panted "mamá dice que no..."
 
Past OR future Camino
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You might want to consider this article about the plight of housekeepers in Spain and how the pandemic made the situation worse. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...f-working-conditions-on-new-hotel-booking-app

I now recall having read this. I'll now err on the side of leaving a euro or two for the cleaner-- a Spanish friend told me that this is considered very generous in the backwater Caminos I tend to frequent.

Noting @Tincatinker 's anecdote, I have had tips returned to me by waiters, presumably the owner. It's not happened often (IIRC about 2 or 3 or 4 times over 20 years), but it has happened.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I now recall having read this. I'll now err on the side of leaving a euro or two for the cleaner-- a Spanish friend told me that this is considered very generous in the backwater Caminos I tend to frequent.

Noting @Tincatinker 's anecdote, I have had tips returned to me by waiters, presumably the owner. It's not happened often (IIRC about 2 or 3 or 4 times over 20 years), but it has happened.
Imagine, if we all left €2 a night for the chambermaid/housekeeper on Caminos…If one’s budget could financially afford it, that is. We might make a big difference to some people’s lives. Even in a small establishment 5 rooms would be 10 euros a day it would boost their income $250 euros per month. If there were 10 rooms then they would get €500 per month. Of course it is seasonal work. I like @jsalt idea of putting the money under the pillow.. This way we are pretty darn sure the person cleaning the room gets it.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
In Spain, what would the average Spaniard do?

And if you are doing something different, is this a good thing?
Helping those chamber personnel who are being taken advantage of by the tourist industry which is inflicting ridiculous standards on its workers after many workers went unpaid during the shutdowns Is likely without precedent. Nevertheless, I would , like to think, and certainly hope those Spaniards who can afford to vacation, would consider helping out their fellow country men and women. .
 
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Camino Chrissy

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In Spain, what would the average Spaniard do?

And if you are doing something different, is this a good thing?
I think in the context of this thread, being generous is usually considered a good thing by the recipient...in my experience anyway, even in Spain.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have mixed feelings about this. I know many Spaniards who are quite distressed at the way in which the US tipping culture has infiltrated Spain. Waiters, they tell me, typically have secure contract jobs with benefits and a living wage. Tipping erodes the importance of that and may provide an incentive for bosses to reduce wages.

That Guardian article shows how the housekeeping staff is now in a very different position than the wait staff in restaurants. I wonder if the app it describes can really be expected to have any impact — now if booking were to add that feature, it’d be a game changer, I think.

Since I am not in a position to advocate in any meaningful way for improved working conditions for housekeeping staff in Spain, I think that in my case “acting locally” and giving a tip is the way to go. It’s like the dilemma of — should I give a panhandler a few euros? Well, it would be better if the state intervened to end homelessness, but if that’s not going to happen, isn’t the more humane solution to give a few euros?*

Buen camino, Laurie

*With thanks to @Rebekah Scott for the profound way in which she has changed my thinking on this topic during many camino encounters over the years.
 

jltheobald

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Many of us have tried to help those albergue owners by sending contributions, here and there.

I am wondering, if any of you that are staying in private rooms at private albergues are or might consider leaving a tip for the cleaning personnel, as we might do at home? Are you tipping at restaurants?
We left something for housekeeping (like one euro) whenever we stayed in a private room. It's an old US habit. Generally, we left no tip at restaurants.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
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Rules vary. In Europe, tipping is not expected, but of course welcome. I am a pensioner, but even so, coming from a rich country, my pension is way above average salaries in countries like Spain. So yes, I tip. Not big time, but I most often do. I have enough, so why not share a little...
Well said, Alex; makes sense to me.
 
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JLV

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I've spent a lot of time in Peru South America, in the early 2000's. Tipping was not a cultural deal. I'm from the states. When I would leave a tip at a restaurant, usually the waiter or waitress, would be surprised at the gesture. Once I went to a big chain supermarket where I bought a gift for a friend gift wrapping was a free service. I gave the young fellow a 3 soules tip, his immediate reaction was to quickly cover it with the wrapping paper. He told me that he could be fired for taking the tip. Therefore I was very discreet after that. I would not let anyone see what I was doing when tipping. I know this is off the subject a little bit. But as to tipping the cleaning staff I do leave a few dollars on the night stand.
 
Past OR future Camino
2020
This summer on the Camino Frances I frequently noticed that very busy bars or cafes would have only one person attending to all the outdoor tables.I suspect these waitstaff would walk at least the equivalent of one etapa during their shift and they were walking much faster than I do! Maybe the summer is busier than other times I have walked or maybe covid reduced the staffing but I was moved by how hard they worked and tended to tip more.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
No. It isn't because they do not work hard or give good service, and typically in the US I will tip a minimum of 20%. It is because tipping or gratuities are discouraged or have been turned down when they have been previously offered. It left me feeling a bit 'Scrooge-ish' at first because of US sensibilities; but then I reconciled that with the fact that I had to adjust my American sensibilities to many different things in Europe/Spain that are done differently.

What I always can do, though, is to be patient when service is slow, act grateful for a service given, and treat the person providing that service the way I would treat a friend. Smiles and small courtesies cannot be refused :)
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Generally, I think that it's not a good idea to impose the American tipping culture onto other countries. During recovery from a pandemic? I don't know.
In places like Mexico it can sometimes put locals at a disadvantage. While tipping restaurant and hotel staff there is common, tipping taxi drivers is not. I have read of locals being unable to get a taxi because the drivers will pass them by to pick up a tourist instead, hoping for a tip.
I agree with @davebugg. Show your appreciation through your actions - patience, a smile, and muchas gracias. Tip an appropriate amount for the culture of the host country.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
Hi,

Not sure about Spain, but in France, a "service" amount is included in the bill (through menu price or otherwise). This amount (generally 10 to 15%) is distributed to the staff, in addition to their wages.

i.e. a difference with the US practice. So tipping at 15-20% would be excessive.

A tip on top of the service amount should indicate (only) that the care you got was beyond your expectations.

Rounding up is possible, but tends to disappear if you pay by card. The government is considering a new rule, which would ensure that rounding up a card paid amount is 1) possible, 2) tax-free for the receiver. A means of securing more applications for this type of jobs. A bit of controversy has followed, as the workers have rather a pay rise...
 
Past OR future Camino
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Those in the UK, USA, Oz and some parts of Europe who have worked in the industries will know this, the rest won't. Most of the "industrial" restaurant industry operates a Tronc system. All those "discretionary" 10 - 12 - 20% service charges are aggregated and shared under the Tronc system between all staff on a fractionated basis. So Head Waiter gets 15%, Chef gets 15%, Sous, Commis & Sommelier 10%, Wait staff will get variables of between 5 & 10 and the poor Kitchen Porters & Plongeur 1- 5. There is an argument for the Tronc. Customers come for the skill of the Chef and the oily charm of the Maitre D'. The sweating kitchen crew never get the opportunity to impress the customer with their charm and enthusiasm. All the Waiters do is carry the plates and the Sommelier gets to drink a drop of everybody's selection.

Where that all falls apart is when the management, the owners, allocated themselves 20 - 50% of the Tronc before anyone else gets a sniff.

And in Spain, where places are family owned & run. Where a competent employee is happy with their role and will probably progress with the business....

AS I said above, I leave a tip whether its expected, required or not
 
F

Former member 98859

Guest
I might consider the type of accommodation you are staying in before tipping the housekeeping/wait staff. In any chain or large hotel (i.e. Pamplona, Leon, etc.), your choice will be guided by standards for such places.

In small, family run pension, casa rural, hostal types of accommodations, pilgrims become "part of the family" for the night. It is the owner's honor and privilege, if you want to call it that, to welcome pilgrims as friends. They themselves are proud pilgrims, members of confraternities, etc. and in such situations tipping seems inappropriate. However, a certain level of decorum is definitely in order.

Food for thought, and, no, no tipping necessary for this meal. After all, you're part of the family ...
 
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Jodean

Active Member
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22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
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17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I have always left a small tip for housekeeping when staying in a hotel. It doesn't have to be much. Would rather tip them than a bartender who has just poured a glass of beer or wine. (yes I have worked as a bartender and also in a hotel)
 

BigT

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2020)
Please no judgements, as I came from a very poor family.
We live in the USA, and I use USA standards for tipping and if it is declined, I try to explain that it is a way to "pay it forward", and please accept the tip and if they feel the need then they too will find a way to pay it forward.
As we get older, we tip over 20%, and look at it as spending our beer, bowling, casino, and other money for activities we never did or don't do by choice.
My brothers and I caddied for 10 years each (carried the golfers equipment), and the club had a firm no tipping rule.
And in 10 years, no one ever broke it.
For me, I appreciate what people do, Camino or not, and try to show it. They might be a mother or father with no spouse and trying to make ends meet.
It works for us.
 
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Interesting thread. Personally, I tip well, especially at local restaurants that we utilize frequently. People work hard. I hope my tips help them. I assumed I would tip in Spain. After reading the above comments, I think I will tip on the camino, but I now know the issue is complicated. Perhaps I will tip less. I hope more people comment on this thread so I can learn more. I would not want to cause problems while trying to help.

Ivar, I believe you lived in the USA for years before moving to Spain. What are your thoughts? What recommendation would you give an American heading for Spain?
Bob
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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For me, I appreciate what people do, Camino or not, and try to show it. They might be a mother or father with no spouse and trying to make ends meet.
It works for us.
You speak for me. I think to quibble and worry about giving "too much" of a tip in Spain (or elsewhere) is petty. I doubt the generosity of a few will damage their industry's "rules". I give tips for good service provided, no matter the country.
 
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Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Past OR future Camino
April-May 2019
I don't normally tip hotel housekeeping staff.
I guess I see it a bit differently. I try to see myself as a goodwill ambassador of sorts when traveling—representing all the good things of the people and places I come from, all that I was taught as a child, all that I’ve learned by experience which includes washing dishes, bussing and waiting tables, and the odd minimum wage jobs. Leaving a tip for the person likely making the least amount of anyone I encounter today is a way of giving back to those who are supporting my travel. It also is an opportunity for me to exercise generosity, which is a gift I give myself. For much of my life I’ve seen myself as a miser, cheapskate, as a poor person. It’s part of my therapy of rewriting the narrative.
 

alexwalker

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This thread is also about a culture clash. I try to tip in Spain, but not making a big deal about it. I have never felt any pressure for tips in any country in Europe, and I have visited most of them.

As I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, I have visited USA many times and traveled the country more than most Americans (25 diff. states). On my first visit, in San Fransisco, at the end of a long day, we 3 guys went to a sports bar and had some chicken nuggets and 2 beers each. We paid as each serving came. As I mentioned earlier, Europeans do not have a 20%(!) tipping culture, and the US way/custom was completely unknown to us.

When we tried to order a last beer, the waiter just looked at us, and shouted so all the guests could hear: "You guys never give a tip! Get out of here!"

A shocking experience that I have never experienced in any other country. But I learnt my lesson. Different cultures and habits/customs/rules.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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When we tried to order a last beer, the waiter just looked at us, and shouted so all the guests could hear: "You guys never give a tip! Get out of here!"

A shocking experience that I have never experienced in any other country. But I learnt my lesson. Different cultures and habits/customs/rules.
That was indeed rude and I do not believe representative of our country...I see that buffoon as a loudmouth exception. Most people tip what they choose and servers get what they get...whether it is generous or not.

Edit- Possibly he was drinking on the job himself.😐😏
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Past OR future Camino
April-May 2019
This thread is also about a culture clash. I try to tip in Spain, but not making a big deal about it. I have never felt any pressure for tips in any country in Europe, and I have visited most of them.

As I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, I have visited USA many times and traveled the country more than most Americans (25 diff. states). On my first visit, in San Fransisco, at the end of a long day, we 3 guys went to a sports bar and had some chicken nuggets and 2 beers each. We paid as each serving came. As I mentioned earlier, Europeans do not have a 20%(!) tipping culture, and thie US way was unknown to us.

When we tried to order a last beer, the waiter just looked at us, and shouted so all the guests could hear: "You guys never give a tip! Get out of here!"

A shocking experience that I have never experienced in any other country. But I learnt my lesson. Different cultures and habits/customs/rules.
A horrible experience!!! I’ve worked in restaurants and bars and our culture always was that we give the best service without expecting tips, treat each customer equally, provide an excellent experience for each customer. And then at the end of the night count up the tips. I’m sorry you experienced such horrible treatment in my country and in my state. If you return, I hope you have a totally different experience.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
IMHO, tourist tipping is not the best way to fix the social conditions of a country. It seems to exaggerate the perception and focus on who has the economic advantage, and that is why it can seem patronizing.

When I currently know that, some of the women who are making the beds and cleaning the rooms I am sleeping in, are being cheated out of a living wage by the tourist industry, I am infuriated! In a time, when housekeepers/chambermaids should slow down, and carefully, clean and sanitize rooms, while putting themselves at risk , the industry in Spain is putting pressure on them to speed up. They are asked to go into a room where someone else has slept all night, air it out, sanitize it, and do it faster than ever before. And if they can not do it faster than pre-covid, they will earn less money, or be fired. IT IS OUTRAGEOUS! Ultimately, this industry practice puts the tourist in the room at risk as well.
But each of us, must answer to the drummer inside themselves.

Btw….I have always tipped the housekeepers, it is a custom I do not think most housekeepers, in any country, find condescending or patronizing. It may be putting an extra loaf of bread on the table for some .
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
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I already read the article some time ago .I honestly don't know what is the best way to approach this in general.Choose for an independent small hostal/hotel where most often a family runs the place entirely themself or where they hire some local person?
Or choose a bigger and more fancy hotel ( if ok with the finances ) and that way enable the " Las Kelly's " to earn a decent living?

In general I never tip housekeeping but I do round up at a bar or resto.
I’m an American who can’t keep European rules straight so I tip everyone…I’m sure many laugh at me for many reasons including this. I figure that’s better than being cursed if I should have tipped but didn’t. This may be influenced by having been a Denny’s waitress for a summer.

Edit: I also always leave a note thanking them in general, and if possible for something they did in particular to make my night better. I do this in Europe and at home.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
Tip an appropriate amount for the culture of the host country.

I completely agree with this. I think a good lesson from this thread is to keep as the first point of reference the host country you're traveling to. Learn as much as you can about tipping in the host country, and like @firstshirt did, it's OK to ask.

If in the US, it's good to know that tipping 15-20% is expected, and can be confusing or disrespectful if it doesn't happen. Of course, if you don't want to tip that much, it usually sends the message you found the service lacking. But it's good to know that people are working for tips there.

In contrast, in my experience living in Spain, it's more of a mixed bag. Tipping is not expected, and in some cases giving extra or tipping is NOT appreciated. I have had the baker/ clerk/ waiter/ bartender absolutely and strongly insist on giving back my change. What I thought was generosity, or being helpful, ended up being a point of conflict and actually UN-desired. This was shocking to me the first couple of times, but it helped reinforce that I'm a learner in this culture, and that what I thought was the good way to do something actually wasn't appreciated. I had to figure out why! :)

In restaurants in touristy areas it's a bit different; one can round up a modest amount, but the wait staff really do not expect it nor are they counting on it (whereas in the US they're counting on it).

In hotels in Spain, I sometimes leave a few euros for housekeeping...but not always.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
In Spain, what would the average Spaniard do?

And if you are doing something different, is this a good thing?
That’s a good question and I’d love to know the answer but I’m not sure it would modify my behavior.

When I was stationed in the Balkans I accompanied the security team providing coverage for a supply convoy. After dropping them off, on the way back to base we stopped for food. The entire time I dreamed of eating in a restaurant but the enlisted men were excited about McDonalds. We stopped and their Captain and I agreed to stay with the vehicles and weapons while they went in to order. I pulled out my wallet and handed my local currency to the senior NCO, telling him to buy whatever they wanted and bring back something to eat for the Capt and me. The captain told me later his men talked about getting free McDonalds for days, that usually officers in their service (as opposed to mine) wouldn’t do this. Had I known that, I’d still have bought dinner.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
When we tried to order a last beer, the waiter just looked at us, and shouted so all the guests could hear: "You guys never give a tip! Get out of here!"
My mother was a waitress in her younger years. I did it for a summer. The waiter was out of line and I would have done what my mother taught me to do for something so outrageous: tip a penny. If you leave nothing they will assume you forgot. One penny on the table says you didn’t.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
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Learn as much about tipping in the host country, and like @firstshirt did, it's OK to ask.
Faith, I never gave a thought about needing to learn about tipping, but you make a good point and you certainly know more than most of us; living full time for a number of years in Santiago.
I do not tip the business "owners" if I am aware of who they are at home or abroad, whether restaurant, bnb, or hairdresser.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I completely agree with this. I think a good lesson from this thread is to keep as the first point of reference the host country you're traveling to. Learn as much about tipping in the host country, and like @firstshirt did, it's OK to ask.
I always find it difficult to reconcile my view that tipping should be unnecessary and what I see as the practical necessity for US workers in the hospitality industry to have their appalling wages supplemented by diners rather than their employer. Add to that the irony that many from the US, a country many see as the paragon of egalitarianism, are now actively promoting the practice to areas of the world where it was once perhaps just a patronising gesture of the nobility and wealthy.

I will continue to give back, but certainly don't believe that tipping is the best way to do this. And as @natefaith suggests, I try and learn and apply the practices of the country that I am in, and not to export what might be aspects of my own culture that are inappropriate to the circumstances where I am at the time.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
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I will continue to give back, but certainly don't believe that tipping is the best way to do this.
I do not tip to "give back". It is to show appreciation for a service rendered...nothing more
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
When I was 19, I spent a summer as a volunteer in S. Africa. We arrived at Johannesburg after a grueling 30 hour trip and were taken to the Jan Smuts Holiday Inn. The porter was a small fellow but masterfully carried the 10 suitcases of our traveling party up to our set of rooms. I gave him the equivalent of $1/bag, considered customary by my parents when we were traveling in the US. The next morning, the fellow was asleep in front of my room door. I stepped over him and went down to reception to inquire as to this strange custom. The night clerk asked me how much I tipped him and I told her. She then told me I had paid him the equivalent of a week's wages and he'd most likely be sleeping there until we departed the hotel. Lesson learned and my friends had a good laugh at my expense.
Now I consult Rick Steves or similar guidebooks to see what is expected for gratuities in whatever country we are traveling to, before we embark on our journey.
I still overtip the hotel maids as they are generally the least well paid and work very hard for what they earn. Just a personal preference and I've never had anyone complain or reject the gesture.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Chrissy, that's so interesting! I've never heard this.... Curious what the reasoning is behind this.
Well we tip the owner's employees of an establishment, at least that is how I was raised in the Midwest. It could be a "pride thing" for the owners, I'm not sure, but is what seems to be a normal practice in my area...I only speak for myself.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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I think that the reasoning behind it is that it is they are who setting the prices of the business, and are not just "hired help."
Good point, Trecile. That makes sense and I'm sure that is a big part of the reasoning.
 
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AnnabelP

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Those in the UK, USA, Oz and some parts of Europe who have worked in the industries will know this, the rest won't. Most of the "industrial" restaurant industry operates a Tronc system. All those "discretionary" 10 - 12 - 20% service charges are aggregated and shared under the Tronc system between all staff on a fractionated basis. So Head Waiter gets 15%, Chef gets 15%, Sous, Commis & Sommelier 10%, Wait staff will get variables of between 5 & 10 and the poor Kitchen Porters & Plongeur 1- 5. There is an argument for the Tronc. Customers come for the skill of the Chef and the oily charm of the Maitre D'. The sweating kitchen crew never get the opportunity to impress the customer with their charm and enthusiasm. All the Waiters do is carry the plates and the Sommelier gets to drink a drop of everybody's selection.

Where that all falls apart is when the management, the owners, allocated themselves 20 - 50% of the Tronc before anyone else gets a sniff.

And in Spain, where places are family owned & run. Where a competent employee is happy with their role and will probably progress with the business....

AS I said above, I leave a tip whether its expected, required or not
Australians don’t tip unless exceptional service is given, and then maybe $10 or $20. Many wouldn’t even tip then. Certainly not a percentage and it needs to be exceptional. All our employees are paid good wages with overtime and penalty rates for public holidays, etc. We are not a tipping society. 😉🥰

On the other hand, my niece in Canada has found herself losing out under the Tronc system if a large table doesn’t tip a suitable percentage or for some other reason she doesn’t get enough tip! She still has to pay out the other staff. 😞
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I always find it difficult to reconcile my view that tipping should be unnecessary and what I see as the practical necessity for US workers in the hospitality industry to have their appalling wages supplemented by diners rather than their employer. Add to that the irony that many from the US, a country many see as the paragon of egalitarianism, are now actively promoting the practice to areas of the world where it was once perhaps just a patronising gesture of the nobility and wealthy.

I will continue to give back, but certainly don't believe that tipping is the best way to do this. And as @natefaith suggests, I try and learn and apply the practices of the country that I am in, and not to export what might be aspects of my own culture that are inappropriate to the circumstances where I am at the time.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Happy to be on another, fair, planet. Decent wages, fair working conditions, and honesty.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
given, and then maybe $10 or $20. Many wouldn’t even tip then. Certainly not a percentage and it needs to be exceptional. All our employees are paid good wages with overtime and penalty rates for public holidays, etc. We are not a tipping society.
Very interesting how countries are so different one from another. I personally see "exceptional service" as highly subjective.
In recent years in the US, I have been part of a group of 8 or more friends or family eating at the same table, and are sometimes charged an additional 20% added to the final total bill to cover the tip. I can only assume it happens as a result of waitstaff feeling short changed often by large groups.
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Chrissy, that's so interesting! I've never heard this.... Curious what the reasoning is behind this.

I'm not sure of the reasoning, but my (Italian) barber in Ottawa declines tips, giving them to the assistant who washes my hair. However, leaving a bottle of some decent wine at Christmas is acceptable but so is a formal greeting, with shaking of hands etc. Mentioning this to a friend who used to serve in her father's restaurant, she told me that this was considered much more polite than tipping the proprietor. Friends with serving experience who were from non-Mediterranean backgrounds found this astonishing.

In Spain, I have followed the advice of Spanish friends, who told me just to round up the bill and perhaps, just perhaps, leave a euro or two if I was really really happy with the service. If the bill was 16 euro, leave 1 or 2 euro, but if the bill was 18 or 19 euro, just leave the 20 euro note. North American friends who had worked as servers were shocked to disgusted when they learned of this vicious parsimony-- one still doesn't talk to me.

One friend in Ottawa working her way through her MA by waitressing, hid her knowledge of Spanish from the restaurant manager, as otherwise she would be steered to the non-tipping Spanish and Latin American clients. I have heard so many tales of ploys to increase one's tips that I find the entire system of supplementing poor wages to be unfortunate.
 

JLV

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I live in the states, I have been to one of the local big chain restaurants. When talking to a good waitress I asked if she fared alright. Then she told me if she does not receive tips she makes very little. She told me at that time her hourly wage was $3.00. I gasped and said seriously! She said yup. I also was standing waiting to pay at that same location, at another time and one of the waitresses was cashing out. She told the cashier my $3.00 wage isn't cutting it. I don't know how they get anyone to work. This is South Carolina by the way.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
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(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I live in the states, I have been to one of the local big chain restaurants. When talking to a good waitress I asked if she fared alright. Then she told me if she does not receive tips she makes very little. She told me at that time her hourly wage was $3.00. I gasped and said seriously! She said yup. I also was standing waiting to pay at that same location, at another time and one of the waitresses was cashing out. She told the cashier my $3.00 wage isn't cutting it. I don't know how they get anyone to work. This is South Carolina by the way.
Make America Great Again. Pay ordinary people. Tax the billionaires.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
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In my US small village outside a nearby city, I was recently told the fast food chain workers get $11/hr. Not a great wage by any means, but it's not $3.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Fortunately, the minimum wage for restaurant servers in many states is the same as for any other worker. Years ago I worked as a waitress in California, and we always received the standard minimum wage. However, in those days 10-15% was a standard acceptable tip. 20% was rare.
Fast food chains here in Oregon are offering $15 and up to attract employees.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
How much a server makes in the USA varies from state to state, but also from the type of food establishment.. If one works in a coffee shop or diner and a customer has a breakfast special and coffee then bill for that one worker may be about $7-8 dollars depending upon the area. The customer sits there for about a half hour to 45 minutes on his/her way to work. If the customer leaves 20 percent. The server makes about $1.50. Usually better if there are more people at the tablefor the server. If you are single and are able - be more generous if you can be. There is usually more turnover at diners table but the servers in these establishments would have to work very hard to make $15 in tips per hour. Most establishments in USA give that second or more cup-of coffee for free so it is not added to bill. The server makes nothing on running back and forth with all those cups of coffee the customer is drinking. On the other hand If one serves at a higher priced restaurant, in a weathlier area, a server can make a descent living, if s/he has enough tables…and there is more than one sitting.

I thought this was an interesting, but old article on waiting tables. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/01/fired-applebees-waitress-needs-tips

My mother spent most of her lifetime working at restaurats…working weekends, Mothers day, valentine’s day, New Years Eve.. Those holidays people tipped well! and were generous. she worked till 10pm on Chirstma Eve. So we started celebrating Xmas when she got home at 11pm when I was growing up. Xmas her restaurant was closed!

Yes,we should all be mindful of tipping practices, but we all know that these women in theUSA , Spain and many counties are not earning a living wage. I do hope the national systems change, but in the meantime, can we remember the people who are waiting on us, or changing our sheets also need to put food on their tables.
 
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Trude

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
Many of us have tried to help those albergue owners by sending contributions, here and there.

I am wondering, if any of you that are staying in private rooms at private albergues are or might consider leaving a tip for the cleaning personnel, as we might do at home? Are you tipping at restaurants?
I don’t tip housekeeping but I do leave my room immaculate and take my rubbish with me.
 

Bart Johnson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Portuguese
I guess I see it a bit differently. I try to see myself as a goodwill ambassador of sorts when traveling—representing all the good things of the people and places I come from, all that I was taught as a child, all that I’ve learned by experience which includes washing dishes, bussing and waiting tables, and the odd minimum wage jobs. Leaving a tip for the person likely making the least amount of anyone I encounter today is a way of giving back to those who are supporting my travel. It also is an opportunity for me to exercise generosity, which is a gift I give myself. For much of my life I’ve seen myself as a miser, cheapskate, as a poor person. It’s part of my therapy of rewriting the narrative.
In a country that typically doesn’t tip, it can be awkward to tip. I learned this in a grocery store in the US when a European colleague tried to tip the cashier. (Because he thought we tipped everyone in a service position.) She was totally surprised and insisted that he take it back. Made her feel very uncomfortable.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Always the loose change in rooms , it’s not much but enough for a few coffees.
Restaurants different as we normally dine out in family run “comadors” at lunch time. The food and service we receive will normally get a few dollars as I am thankful for what we get for the prices charged.
You know immediately if the owner/ staff care about you and what they provide.
Laurie and Reb are correct though , let’s not change a culture .
 
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WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I spent many weeks in a non-profit albergue. We didn't often get tips, but if we did, they went into a box that we used for an occasional treat for the whole staff or to help out a pilgrim in a particularly tight spot. Once when I was leaving for a bit, they gave me a fifty-pound note (British)—hard to spend in a tiny village!

(Another time, I mailed a package, and the postal lady gave me a bag of pre-Euro coins from Denmark and Netherlands. Said "What am I ever going to do with these?")
 

Jodean

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
You may think you left your room nice and tidy but the housekeeper still has to change your sheets, scrub your toilet, dust all the furniture, run the sweeper, mop the floors, clean the sink and the bathtub.
Leave a few coins.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Let’s get the nomenclature correct here ;).

The Housekeeper is the person in charge of the cleaning staff – room attendants, housemaids, chambermaids, houseboys, etc etc.

When I was working as a “zimmermädchen” in Germany in the 1970s the Housekeeper’s office was referred to as the “Bunker”.

I kid you not 😃.
 

witsendwv

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2015)
I don't normally tip hotel housekeeping staff.
If we are staying in the same place for a few nights we try to seek out the person who has been taking care of our room. Less than two or three days I don't think it is possible. If more we leave a gratuity no matter where we are, the US, Spain, Ireland etc. There has been someone coming in each day to make our bed and clean up and leave fresh towels etc. They are making our stay more enjoyable.
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
In Spain, what would the average Spaniard do?

And if you are doing something different, is this a good thing?
The *average* Spaniard if travelling the camino, is likely to be doing it pretty frugally--so perhaps would not tip.

"If something different, a good thing"? The average salary for a North American, northern European, or Antipodean (?!) is likely substantially higher than that for the average Spaniard. I know that's definitely true for Portugal, where the minimum wage is about 600 euros--maybe US $800 or 500 pounds?--a month.

How can it not be a good thing to express your appreciation and help out someone who likely is making only the minimum wage and, as others have noted, may be supporting others? Life in Iberia seems very reasonable to us, but many of the Iberians have a very hard time getting by, particularly now.
 
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Jodean

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
We used to say chambermaid or maid, but because guys are doing this job too, switched to saying, housekeeper.
At the hotel I worked at in Germany, those who cleaned the rooms were housekeepers, the one in charge was "head of housekeeping".
 

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