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Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

Bangalore
Level Contributor
33 posts
95 reviews
Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

We took a private day tour out of Palermo. When we stopped to buy breakfast , the driver cum guide had coffee and asked the guy at the till to add that to our bill. When we went for lunch, he tagged along, sat with us and ordered food, and wandered off when the bill came. I did not mind buying coffee or lunch for him, but is it not unusual for him to impose like this? Never seen anything like this in Europe before, and we have taken quite a few private tours. It was not just a matter of money, but of privacy as well. I thought in these parts of the world no one joined you at your table unless invited.

40 replies to this topic
Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
Level Contributor
115,291 posts
1. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

Typically a guide is invited as a guest for lunch during the tour, and typically you would cover the cost of lunch.

But it would be you who would extend the invitation, and you who would initiate the payment.

You really should have spoken up at the time this all occurred.

Surely you (justifiably) resented this behaviour, and this guidenegatively impacted your enjoyment of the tour.

Was the guide a fully licenced guide?

If you don't indicate the guide's name on this forum, please submit a review chastising this outrageous behavior.

This guide probably made a determination from your location.

I'm so sorry!

Vagabonda

Edited: 14 May 2018, 07:44
Bangalore
Level Contributor
33 posts
95 reviews
2. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

Thanks Vagabonda for the quick reply.

On previous few occasions when we had hired a private tour, couple of times in Italy and once in Austria, the guide left us for an hour to have lunch. I honestly did not know we have to invite them.

Anyway, a lesson learned

Thank you again.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
Level Contributor
115,291 posts
3. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

You surely don't have to invite the guide to lunch.

But typically the guide would join for lunch as by mid-day there would be a bonding and friendship with the guide, and it's also a valuable time for queries, and to further expand your knowledge of local and cultural experiences.

It's just a courteous gesture to invite the guide to lunch.

Vagabonda

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
Level Contributor
115,291 posts
4. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

And also note that not all guides would accept the invitation to lunch, and would prefer the time off to check emails and handle business as well as enjoy some downtime, but if you're paying for a full-day tour, the guide is really still on your clock.

Vagabonda

Australia
Level Contributor
4,724 posts
62 reviews
5. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

In other places we have invited the guide to lunch and indeed asked the guide where she or he would prefer to lunch.

On a private tour a guide is giving you 100% and it’s a small generosity, a democratic gesture and a learning chance to offer lunch.

Bangalore
Level Contributor
33 posts
95 reviews
6. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

I understand. Thank you very much vagabonda.

Bangalore
Level Contributor
33 posts
95 reviews
7. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

Thank you Dennis.

The coffee incident which happened in the first five minutes of the tour kind of put us off. It was only 2 euros but if he had not done it, we would have offered to pay.

And yes, Vagabonda, on previous occasions the guides had left us to have lunch , telling they had calls to make, we felt they needed a personal downtime. So I had assumed that this is the usual practice.

Anyway, I will take note in the future.

FF
Milan, Italy
Destination Expert
for Milan, Genoa, Valle d'Aosta
Level Contributor
13,074 posts
111 reviews
8. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

In a full day, private tour with a professional, licensed tourist guide it is understood that the guide's meal will be paid for by the clients, unless the guide prefers to have some personal downtime at lunch time.

pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
Level Contributor
40,528 posts
18 reviews
9. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

**it is understood that the guide's meal will be paid for by the clients, **

It might be understood by the guide but it's not understood by the client. If this is the case it should be written into the contract or mentioned on their site somewhere so clients know what to expect. Clearly the OP had no idea as I'm sure many others don't. Most people will offer because they dont' want to seem rude but I don't think this is something that is "understood" to happen.

Donna

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
Level Contributor
115,291 posts
10. Re: Should we be buying lunch for the tour guide?

You don't write these things in contracts! It's just decent and courteous that come time for a meal, you would invite someone to join you. A guide's job really doesn't stop during lunch. Lunch is a great time for conversation, and a time for learning more about the local culture.

Guides might make the gesture, and offer to pay for their lunch, but what your guide did with the coffee was forward, presumptuous, and rude. He was clearly sending a message of his expectation.

Vagabonda

Edited: 14 May 2018, 21:56
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