How much to tip tour guide in Korea? - Tipping Etiquette in South Korea

How much to tip tour guide in Korea? – Tipping Etiquette in South Korea

What you think about tipping probably depends on your viewpoint on the world – whether you’ve worked in a service job that only paid well if you received tips, whether you have a lot of money, whether you don’t. You may tip out of due diligence, but get no pleasure or pain from it. You may loathe the very concept of paying extra for a service and never tip. Or you may feel good about tipping, and see it as a way to pay it forward and keep the economy’s engine humming.


Wherever you stand, if you’re wondering who to pay and how much, here are our tips on tipping.

How much to tip tour guide in Korea? - Tipping Etiquette in South Korea

Tipping Etiquette in the United States
References: TripAdvisor

While tipping is not mandatory in most of the United States, it is customary in many circumstances for service, especially at almost all sit-down restaurants which offer table service and many food servers depend on tips as an essential part of their wage. Some states allow a “tip credit” to count as part of the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25/hour so tipped employees may be paid as low as $2.00 an hour plus tips.  Generally, the average tip is 15% to 20% of the total meal cost.


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Keep in mind that those who provide service are often dependent on tip income and generally are grateful for any tips received, especially when prompt and exceptional service has been provided.  Tipping is the means by which to acknowledge good service.

In the tourism field, if the tip is not already included, give 10-15% of the tour price. No less than $1-2 for a half-day tour, $3-4 for a full-day tour, and $5-10 for a week-long tour. This is a per-person rate. Tip private tour guides more. If the bus driver is particularly helpful with bags, then tip $1-2 per bag.

How much to tip tour guide in Korea? - Tipping Etiquette in South Korea

Tipping Etiquette in South Korea
References: Time Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler 

Korea is basically a no-tip culture. Cab drivers don’t expect any reward for their services and it’s pretty much the same for staff in local restaurants as well as hotels. Even porters and bellboys don’t expect a tip.

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However, tour guides are accustomed to tip culture, and tips are considered part of the income of tour guides. So Korean travel agencies are recommending tips for guides between $ 4 and $ 10 depending on the length of the tour and type of tour (group or private). It is generally recommended to give more tips for a private tour guide.

Hotel porters should get the usual $1 per bag, says Walter L. Keats, president of Asia Pacific Travel. “Most Asian countries don’t tip, and Korea is no exception, but guides, drivers, and bellmen who are used to dealing with Americans have come to expect a tip, and understand it is for good service, but not required…. One can also just tell a taxi driver to keep the change on a fare as well.”

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