Tipping guidelines in Britain!

DerDani / Pixabay

Tipping has become increasingly widespread in all areas of the service industry, particularly in restaurants, cafes, bars and taxis worldwide.

The UK is no different, but knowing when to tip and how much can be confusing.

See below for some tipping guidelines when visiting Britain:

 

Restaurants

In British restaurants where you place your order with a waiter or waitress at your table, it is common to tip around 10%.

This can be done by either leaving a cash tip after paying the bill or adding an amount to your total bill if paying by credit card.

In some restaurants, a service charge of 10% – 12.5% is added to the bill, and this should be noted clearly on the menu.

Do not leave a tip if you are not happy with the service.

Birte / Pixabay

 

Cafes and Coffee Shops

Similar to a restaurant, if you receive waitress service in a British cafe or coffee shop at your table, a tip of 10% would be appropriate.

In coffee shops, such as Starbucks or Costa, there may be a tip jar on the counter, but very few customers offer tips as you usually collect your own order.

In cafes, where you collect your food, place it on a tray and pay at the end counter, there is no need for a tip.

 

Unsplash / Pixabay

Bars and Pubs

You do not usually tip barmaids or bartenders in British pubs and bars.

However,  you can offer to buy them a drink if you have had great service or are on friendly terms.

Generally though, tips are not expected.

 

 

tookapic / Pixabay

 

Taxis

It is not a requirement to tip in taxis, but most people round up the fare to the nearest £1 as a polite gesture.

If a minicab driver helps with your luggage on a longer journey or from an airport, you may want to tip a little more.

If taking a black cab or licensed minicab in London, a 10% tip is the average amount, although not a requirement.

 

Takeaway Food

When picking up food from a British takeaway restaurant, tipping is not required.

If your food is delivered to your hotel or apartment, although not required, tipping the delivery driver with the change or £1 would be a polite gesture.

 

Hans / Pixabay

 

Hotels

In Britain, if a porter takes your bags to your room, a £2 cash tip is reasonable.

Tipping for food and drinks being brought to your room is at your discretion.

Again, leaving a tip for your chambermaid is at your discretion, but not a requirement.

Coach Tours and Guides

Tips are not included in the price of most tours.

However, it is customary to show gratitude to your tour director and driver for a satisfactory service.

CIE Tours recommend below the minimum amount Per person per day:

Driver/Guide (1 person crew) £5
Tour Director (part of 2 person crew) £3
Driver (part of 2 person crew) £3
Guide for walking or city tour £1
Driver for chauffeur vehicle £12

 

SolotravelTop1

Tips for Travelling to Britain and Ireland!

Unsplash / Pixabay

hbieser / Pixabay

Travelling to Britain and Ireland has become an attractive option for many people since Brexit.

The low British Pound and Euro has made the exchange rates very favourable indeed for those travelling from abroad.

Some may not be quite sure what to expect so see some handy tips below for when visiting Britain and Ireland:

 

chafleks / Pixabay

Coach Tours

CIECoach750

Depending on what coach tour company you travel with, on average, most British and Irish tours have around 40 passengers but can hold a maximum of 50 passengers.

Most tours travel during the daytime only. Departures can be early and are often very early on the first day if leaving from London.

 There is rarely any travel longer than 3 hours without a stop for sightseeing or a break. Tours are all planned and well paced to maximize sightseeing.

Most coaches have restrooms and make frequent rest/bathroom stops, usually at 2-hour intervals or less, for the comfort of all passengers.

The majority of coaches are not accessible for the physically disabled so travellers should be able to get on and off the coach unaided. However, most tour operators allow you may bring a light-weight foldable wheelchair if needed.

Again, depending on the Tour Company, children over a certain age are permitted to travel on coach tours and usually get a discount on non budget holidays.

Hotels on Tour

Olichel / Pixabay

British and Irish hotels usually come in 3 classes – first class (3 star), superior first class (4 star) or deluxe (5 star).

First class tours use these 3 options while budget tours often use hotels away from the centre of towns.

Bedding options are usually a choice of single, twin, double or triple rooms.

You will usually pay a single room supplement for a single room or you can opt for a twin share with another guest of the same gender to save money.

For a twin room you get 2 separate single beds. For a double you get a double bed which is king size or bigger.

If there are three people sharing a room then a triple room will usually have a double and one twin bed.

Most rooms should have TVs and hairdryers plus a shaver outlet in the bathroom.

Check-in times vary between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm depending on the individual hotel.

 

 Documents Needed

jackmac34 / Pixabay

To enter Britain, a passport valid for the duration of your stay is required, except for EU Nationals holding a valid national ID card.

Visas for the United Kingdom are required by many outside of Europe.

Exceptions include Australian, New Zealand, Malaysian, Singapore, Canadian and US citizens.

 If you are not a citizen of the UK or Ireland, then you will require a passport and possibly a separate visa to visit Ireland.

 

 Currency & Credit cards

Different currency is used in Britain and Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland uses the euro, while in Britain and Northern Ireland the pound sterling is used.

In Ireland there are seven euro notes in denominations of €5 to €500 and eight euro coins used.

In Britain and Northern Ireland pound sterling comes in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50 and eight coins including £1 and £2.

High denomination bills are not readily accepted for exchange, even in banks, so it is better to carry smaller denominations.

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Britain and Ireland.

American Express and Diners Club cards are less commonly accepted.

It’s always a good idea to use credit cards to avoid carrying large sums of cash.

Advise your bank that you are traveling overseas to ensure that they don’t block your credit cards as this can sometimes happen.

 

 

10 things to do and see in Paris on Valentines Day!

 FRANCE’S GLITTERING CAPITAL! SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO IN THIS MOST ROMANTIC OF CITIES ON VALENTINES DAY!

 

 

PARIS ILLUMINATIONS

Visit Paris by night in an open-top bus, discover the main monuments of Paris illuminated and listen to a commentary about the history of Paris.

 

 MONTMARTRE

Have an  entertaining evening in the Bohemian Montmartre area. Stroll by the Place du Tertre, famous for the artists painting outdoors, have an enjoyable dinner in a typical restaurant with musical atmosphere.

THE LOUVRE MUSEUM

The Louvre – the biggest and best known museum in the world was once the palace of kings. Follow the  sumptuous maze of galleries to see the main attractions including Venus de Milo, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece – the ‘Mona Lisa‘, and the State Apartments decorated in the style of Emperor Napoleon III.

 

THE MOULIN ROUGE

Spend an evening at the Moulin Rouge cabaret. Dine from the “Mistinguette” menu, and watch the famous “Feerie” show with Champagne.

A TYPICAL PARISIAN LUNCH

Visit a typical French cafe and simply relax as you watch the world go by. Enjoy your delicious lunch served with a wine or two.

  

 DISNEYLAND

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Experience the sheer joy and excitement that is Disneyland Paris!

 

NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

Don’t miss the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral which is particularly a feast for the eyes at Christmas time.

EIFFEL TOWER

Eiffel tower at night

Eiffel tower at night

 See the wonderfully imposing Eiffel Tower – a truly magnificent sight!

CHAMPS ELYSEES

&

 

 ARC DE TRIOMPHE

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Take a walk down one of the most famous streets in the world, the The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. With its luxury shops, cafés full of delicious food, cinemas and  beautifully styled horse-chestnut trees, there is no better way to spend an afternoon. At the western end of the Champs-Élysées, you will find the world famous monument, the Arc de Triomphe to feast your eyes on and explore.

6 Family fun places to visit in London!

 Find fantastic family fun in London!

Believe it or not, London is much more family-friendly than you’d expect  to find in  such a vibrant and busy city. There is so much more to offer so bring the kids along and have fun together. Take a coach tour that will cover London and discover the wonderful sights while there!

 

1.  The Museum of London Docklands is a wealth of history from Roman settlements to the Docklands’ regeneration. Unlock the history of London’s river, port and people in this historic warehouse and discover a wealth of objects from whale bones to WWII gas masks in state-of-the-art galleries, including Mudlarks, an interactive area for kids; Sailortown, an atmospheric re-creation of 19th century riverside Wapping; and London, Sugar & Slavery, which reveals the city’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

FREE ENTRY!! 

  

2.  The Science Museum chronicles the development of science and industry in Great Britain over the centuries, with an extensive collection from biochemistry and photography to meteorology and astronomy.

FREE ENTRY!! 

science

plane

 

 3.  Diana Memorial Playground:

This free playground in Kensington Gardens thrills children of all ages. There is an enormous wooden pirate ship surrounded by a sandpit! The  kids adore this and the bigger ones love to climb the mast for the views. There’s also a sensory trail, an outdoor music space, teepees,  swings, slides and climbing frames to keep everyone happy. The cafe also serves great coffee for the grownups too. 

FREE ENTRY!! 

4. The  Natural History Museum is a centre of scientific excellence in the discovery of taxonomy and biodiversity, this world-famous museum promotes the discovery and enjoyment of the natural world through such exciting exhibits as the Life and Earth Galleries, wildlife garden and geological collections. Absolutely outstanding!!

FREE ENTRY!! 

historymus

 

5. Coram’s Fields:

A free central London playground and park, not far from the British Museum, with play equipment for all under 16’s including a huge sand pit for toddlers, slides and water features. There are even some farm animals and no adult can enter without a child so it’s a safe space to be too. 

FREE ENTRY!! 

 

6. Hamleys Toy Store:     

Hamleys Toy Store is paradise on Earth for children, teens and adults. The magnificent seasonal windows, the displays and installations of various themes and the hundreds of toys create the “myth” of Hamleys and make children from all countries want to visit. You can literally spend hours just taking in all the wonderful and entertaining surroundings.

FREE ENTRY!! 

 

Global Travel with Trafalgar Tours

Trafalgar
Offering first class independent vacations and escorted tours to almost every continent, Trafalgar tours offers custom constructed itineraries to destinations across the globe. With over 200 itineraries year-round, there is a Trafalgar tour for any globe hopper.
Skirt across the globe with week-long treks across Europe, African safaris and Asian cultural history tours. Explore the Great Barrier reef or indulge in the sights and sounds of the Mediterranean with a tour of Turkey. With guided tours, first-class accommodations and specialty journeys, Trafalgar offers everything you need for the perfect expedition.
Great for students, single travelers and families, these once-in-a-lifetime tours allow you to see the world from the inside. No longer do you have to worry about setting up airfare, hotel and sightseeing bookings on your own. With all-inclusive packages, you simply pay one price and go. If cruising is your pleasure, take a river cruise to one of hundreds of exotic ports across the world.
Traveling is an experience that will change your life. With knowledgeable tour guides that will help you navigate the globe, you will enjoy all the earth has to offer. Go diving in the crystal waters of the Caribbean, or explore ancient ruins in Mexico. See the sights of Paris in springtime or take a ride in the canals of Venice. Cruise around Alaska and see glaciers, whales and elk.
With a custom tour created just for your tastes, you will enjoy seeing the globe in grand fashion.
Book your next journey with Trafalgar tours today.

Fun and Exciting CIE Tours

CIE Tours offers the best tours of Britain and Ireland. The company, which has been in business for 81 years, is an industry favorite among travelers. One of the main reasons for this is the high level of customer service provided by the tour guides. These tour guides, who are extremely friendly, work tirelessly to ensure that each tour is a huge success. The tours offered by CIE are guaranteed to start on time and are well worth the money one will pay to participate.

CIE Tours Coach - travel in the height of comfort aboard one of our state-of-the-art touring coaches

Relax and travel in style aboard one of the state-of-the-art CIE coaches

CIE offers tours of many different travel destinations. Some of the most popular and well-known of these places are Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

Each one of these wonderful travel destinations offers visitors a fun and unique experience. People have the option to register for an independent or a group tour. The independent tours are highly organized and give travelers a multitude of attractions to choose from. These tours are customized to meet each individual person’s desires.

The same holds true for the group tours. These tours are classified as either a brochure tour or a customized tour. CIE gives travelers a list of tourist sights and attractions. It is up to the traveler to choose which places they want to visit. The professionals at CIE are always available to help people out with these decisions. They make it a point to do everything in their power to ensure that each one of their clients has a safe and exciting travel experience.

A Cheap Theatre Break in London

There’s no doubt that the West End of London has some of the best theatre productions in the world. Or if you live in the USA, ‘theater’. However the prices can be a little steep. If you are prepared to decide ‘on the day’ what show you would like to see there are bargains to be had in decent seats.

First of all if you don’t live in London, work out how you are going to get there. The choice of show may be spontaneous, but by planning your travel ahead, you can get to and from London for between £3 and £10 return. Try this site for buses and trains at super cheap prices when you book a few weeks ahead.

Secondly, you will need to stay the night. It’s feasible to go home after the show, but more fun to stay and enjoy the buzz of the West End. There are now so many hotel booking websites that it’s very tiresome to compare the prices on all even a few of them. Metasearch to the rescue! Hotels Combined compares hundreds of travel sites in one search to find you the best deal.

Just the Ticket

Now to purchase your ticket. You won’t often find the ‘hottest’ shows reduced like Wicked, but the shows which were hot a year or two back may now have reduced tickets available. Shows like Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys. There’s sure to be something to please you.

TKTS Leicester Square

TKTS latest minute ticket office Leicester Square

I visited the official half price and discount ticket booth of the Society of London Theatre on Thursday 16th May to see what they had on sale. You can also check online via their website TKTS

So you can compare their prices with other booths off Leicester Square, here are three pictures. The first two are TKTS then the next one is another ‘half price’ ticket booth 50 metres away. If the prices are very similar, check where the seats are located. The best seats are likely to be with TKTS

TKTS tickets for sale on 16th May 2013

TKTS tickets for sale on 16th May 2013

TKTS prices on 16 May 2013

TKTS prices on 16 May 2013

Do not buy any kind of tickets from scalpers who may approach you in the street – ticket touts are unfortunately still common around London’s Theatreland. You will almost certainly be overcharged, and could be sold an invalid ticket.

Leicester Square Box Office

Leicester Square Box Office

So you stayed the night in London. Why not extend your stay with some sightseeing?  One of the best value attractions and a great introduction to London is the Hop On Hop Off bus tour – you often save money by booking online in advance. So why not plan all your visits in advance and skip the lines at the more popular attractions like Madame Tussauds and the London Eye? Just click here to book them all

Now for a real example of a 2 night bargain break. Price correct on 18th May 2013

2 guests travelling from Leeds to London via Megabus  just £20 return!

  • Journey: Leeds , Kirkgate, opposite Cross York Street to London, Victoria Coach Station
  • Date: Friday, 14 June 2013
  • Number of Passengers: 2
  • Leaving: 09:20
  • Arriving: 14:00
  • Price: £10.00

2 nights at the Imperial Hotel London with breakfast included £250.00   – This for a central location 15 minutes walk from the West End. You can slash your hotel bill by either staying further out – use the filters in the search to set your own price and area. Or look for hotel bargain rooms with Travelodge and Premier Inn as they have sales every so often for £19 or £29 rooms, but you have to be really quick to get a London one!

2 tickets to Spamalot – estimate £45 – (they have to be bought on the day so we don’t know)

  • Journey: London, Victoria Coach Station to Leeds , Kirkgate, opposite Cross York Street
  • Date: Sunday, 16 June 2013
  • Number of Passengers: 2
  • Leaving: 18:00
  • Arriving: 22:25
  • Price: £10.00

TOTAL FOR TWO :  £315.00

Happy bargain hunting and enjoy your London concert or theatre break

Bed hopping around the world

Double, Single, Queen, King, Twin, Triple, Quad, Suite, Full Size, Wide Double, Olympic, Super King, California King, King Long, Stateroom?
These are all terms used by bed mattress makers worldwide, but when it comes to travel, they mean different things in different countries!

We all like a nice comfy bed after a busy day sightseeing on an escorted tour of Europe or Britain.

A double bed in a London hotel

A double bed in a London hotel

At Global Coach Tours, we are always explaining the terms, so at last, here is the full explanation you wanted, but were afraid to ask.

All these terms are bed configurations within rooms, except did you spot the deliberate mistake?
The word ‘stateroom’ is not a bed, but is a type of room used on board ships and river cruise boats.

Four poster

A romantic four poster double bed in a country house hotel

A single room or bed in North America might mean ‘a room’ rather than a suite, but in Europe it means a room for one or a bed wide enough for only one person to sleep in.

Touring by coach in Britain & Europe you will get a “twin room” as standard. That’s a room with two single beds in it  (approx 90 x 190 cm aka a twin). If you are travelling as a couple, you can request a double (aka a full size bed) but as you will be staying in a variety of hotels, demand may outstrip supply in some hotels. You should get your request fulfilled for most of your tour.  The size of a double will be at least 140 x 190 cm, but you may get a larger bed in some hotels.

Put simply, request ‘double bed’ if you are travelling as a couple and like to sleep in the same bed. This means one larger/wider bed sleeping two, rather than two narrow beds sleeping one person each.

A triple room can either be a double plus a single or three singles. A quad room could be any configuration that sleeps four people, including two separate rooms.

Are you travelling alone? Touring with Trafalgar, Insight and Cosmos, single room prices apply if you want a room to yourself. If you wish to save money, on most tours you are guaranteed to be matched with a room mate of the same gender at the start of the tour and only pay the standard twin-share price. Should there be nobody to share with on day 1 of the tour, you would get a single room at no extra cost, but this doesn’t happen very often. The only way to be guaranteed a room for sole occupancy is to agree to pay the single room price when you book. 

For a definitive explanation with exact bed sizes, please see this Wikipedia article

 

 

5 outstanding romantic honeymoon destinations!

romance Trafalgar

 Getting married this year?

 Looking for a romantic honeymoon  destination?

 Do you want to experience the  romance of travel?

Well, look no further as I have found some of the world’s most traditional romantic hot spots? Fancy the charming streets of Paris or chocolate-box Lucerne, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to associate Europe with love and romance!

Take a look below to discover the romance of travel on a hassle-free award winning Trafalgar coach holiday, brimming with unforgettable moments that will live with you forever.

 

 

 Tour Map

                                     European Wonderland 2016

Get more from your holiday through Europe with this magical tour. Relish a pizza-making class in Rome, decorate your very own Venetian Carnival mask in Venice and enjoy a gelato-tasting class in Florence. Visit stunning Sienna and call up to Juliet’s balcony in Shakespeare’s Verona. In Engelberg, admire the beautiful Alpine views and breathe in the fresh glacial air before walking the Champs Élysées and scaling the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

SEE ITINERARY

 

   Tour Map

                                          Italy Bellissimo 2016

See the thrilling sights of Rome, Pompeii’s ruins, the beautiful Isle of Capri, mystical Assisi, the splendours of Venice and the wonders of Florence, all there for you to explore on this unforgettable trip through the heart of Italy!

SEE ITINERARY

Hope you liked what you found. There are many more outstanding holidays for you to choose from at Global Coach Tours to make that honeymoon the most wonderful experience you could ever wish for.

Just the wedding to get organised first, then ‘the icing on your wedding cake’, when you embark on your truly remarkable honeymoon!

 

 

Explore Ireland and more with CIE Tours

When you travel with CIE Tours, you get an all-inclusive adventure that doesn’t have any fine-print expenses for extra side trips. From the moment you get to your start location, you’ll be escorted by an experienced tour director who has intricate knowledge of the local history while keeping your tour exciting.
With all the attractions to see in Ireland, it can be hard to plan a trip that is efficient while including as much sightseeing as possible. CIE’s 10- or 11-day trip packages are the perfect solution: step back in time in an ancient castle, discover old battlefields, and take in the breathtaking countryside views on the “Taste of Ireland and Scotland” tour, all for less than 100 dollars a day. On the “Taste of Wales and Ireland” tour, you get to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, visit the luxurious House of Waterford Crystal, and travel to extraordinary castles dating back centuries.
If it’s a shorter trip you’re looking for, there’s something for even the getaway traveler. Going by coach allows you to cover a lot of ground in a little time, so that you can soak in as much of Ireland and its surrounding areas as possible, all in only a week. From traditional Irish music and pubbing with the locals on the “Irish Fling” tour, to castle and peninsula exploration on the “Southern Gems” tour, you can’t go wrong no matter which option you choose.
Unlike other tour companies that charge hidden fees, with CIE Tours you won’t have to stress about getting to your location only to realize that you have to pay more to go on additional side trips. Get a discounted rate when you buy through Global Coach Tours.