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

10 Tips for Responsible Travel!

 

Travel is one of the best ways to broaden our minds and enrich our lives, and to do this, we explore our environment in as many places as we can, either on our own or from guided holidays.

It is therefore our responsibility to protect these places we set out to explore, including its communities, culture, and environment.

If we travel responsibly, we leave a positive impact, which creates a positive image of visitors, encouraging the growth of travel and tourism as a whole.

See below 10 tips for responsible travel:

johnhain / Pixabay

 

 

LOVE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

 

1. Book direct flights

Hiljon / Pixabay

A large amount of a plane’s carbon emissions occur during take-off and landing.

 

2. Help towards a cleaner atmosphere.

Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay

Rather than hiring a car, use public transport, hire a bike or walk to explore a new destination.

 

3. Take only pictures and only leave footprints.

Unsplash / Pixabay

Catch memories on camera, not by taking souvenirs from the natural environment which can leave devastating lasting effects.

 

4. Tread lightly as you travel.

Unsplash / Pixabay

Stick to designated trails, leaving structures and the natural surrounding untouched.

 

5. Recycle.

imordaf / Pixabay

Separate glass, plastic, paper and metal and recycle whenever possible.

 

6. Share holiday books and brochures.

cuetor59 / Pixabay

Pass them on to family and friends when you have finished with them, or recycle them.

 

6. Minimize waste.

articonn / Pixabay

Take your own reusable water and shopping bags for the duration of your trip.

 

7. Unplug before leaving home.

kloxklox_com / Pixabay

Unplug lights and appliances not is use before leaving for your tour.

 

8. Use water sparingly.

tookapic / Pixabay

Use water sparingly when showering and brushing your teeth at your hotel.

 

9. Reuse hotel towels.

Pexels / Pixabay

Reuse hotel towels at least for another day instead of having them replaced daily.

 

10. Switch off.

Olichel / Pixabay

Turn off hotel lights and air conditioning when not in your room.

Trafalgar – What Sets Them Apart!

Trafalgar are dedicated to giving you the most enjoyable holiday you will ever experience.

This is because Trafalgar have a passion for travel like no other, from the person who meets you at the airport, to the team who go looking for extraordinary experiences, you’ll see their passion for amazing holidays.

Trafalgar are known for their Insider Experiences whereby you are introduced to local characters; from chefs and artisans to historians, farmers and even taxi drivers. You’ll eat with them, drink with them; listen to their stories. This will allow you an understanding of your destination in ways you never imagined.

Trafalgar offer a hassle free  holiday to cherish. As a VIP guest, you’ll enjoy exclusive access to selected sights, avoid queues at major attractions, benefit from luggage porterage right to your room, and stay in carefully selected hotels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IPJCJr6n2k

To help you do all this are Trafalgar’s Travel Directors, carefully selected for their knowledge and enthusiasm. From checking you into your hotel room to recommending a local eatery, your Travel Director’s aim is to make travelling easy and your trip unforgettable.

Trafalgar have had almost 70 years of knowledge and experience to enable you to have one of the best holidays you ever had. However, although no other guided travel company has received so many awards, what really matters to them is what their guests have to say.

Travel in the lap of luxury with Cox & Kings!

Luxury Tours and Tailor-Made Holidays from Cox & Kings:

You may have heard of Cox & Kings as being the  longest established travel company in the world! You may also have heard that they  offer the  highest quality global tours which include group tours, private journeys and tailor-made holidays to many of the world’s most fascinating regions.  But do you actually know how they actually came about in the first place?

cnk-logo

The year 2008 marked the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Cox & Kings, confirming it as the  longest established travel company in the world. The company’s history stretches back to the summer of 1758 when Richard Cox was appointed as regimental agent to the Foot Guards by his mentor, Lord Ligonier, the Commanding Officer of His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Richard Cox is appointed as regimental agent to the Foot Guards by Lord Ligonier

The role of agent included arranging  payment and providing clothing to officers and men. Regimental agents did not have a very good reputation before Cox, but such was his honesty, reliability and organisational ability that he made it a respectable business and Cox & Co soon became the agent for the majority of British regiments. The company’s business grew hand in hand with the British Empire, becoming involved in banking and shipping.

In the late 19th century, Henry S. King & Co was a rival bank and shipping agency, started by Henry Samuel King and subsequently run for over 45 years by his son, Henry Seymour King, an MP and renowned mountaineer. The company had particularly strong links with India. After the First World War the two companies merged as Cox’s & King’s and moved into grand premises on Pall Mall. In 1923 the business was sold to Lloyds Bank and whilst the banking arm stayed with Lloyds (becoming the Cox & Kings branch, as it is still known), the shipping agency became a separate company, running tours and organising the passage of people and their belongings around the world, notably to Egypt, India and South Asia.

In 1970, Cox & Kings Agency was bought by Grindlays Bank as part of a deal with the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to develop tourism into the country, and so the modern history of the company began.

The company is now privately owned and has extended its travel expertise to cover more global tours including the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, Europe and Australasia.

 

Luxury Tours and Tailor-Made Holidays to Indian Subcontinent

 

 

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

 

 

Translating ‘Itinerary Jargon’ on a Coach Tour!

Have you ever booked a coach tour and then wondered what on earth the difference is between ‘VISIT’, ‘VIEW’ and ‘SEE’ in the itineraries? To be honest I had no idea when first asked this question so decided to find out a bit more on the meanings of words or phrases used in ‘Travel Speak’ for want of a better word.

Trafalgar Tours offer some good translation, so please take a look at the list below and let me know if you can find any more travel jargon out there!

 

Everything else you wanted to know but were afraid to ask – including “itinerary speak”

Visit

This means the tour bus will stop and the groups will visit a specific site. You will then get in-depth sightseeing with a Local Guide or your Travel Director. This includes VIP entry and will vary based on the venue itself.

View

An opportunity to stretch your legs, take in the sights and capture photos with a brief stop.

See

See the sight and its surroundings while driving by on the coach.

Sightseeing tour

A local city guide will accompany passengers on a tour of a city or site.

Orientation tour

Places of interest are pointed out, allowing passengers to then explore on their own.

‘Why not see’ or ‘perhaps enjoy’

These phrases usually refer to optional excursions not included in the tour package, but available for an additional fee at competitive prices. Payments are usually made to the Travel Director by credit card or cash whilst on the tour.

Time to explore and discover

Free time to do as you please.

A day to relax

No planned activities. Time for optional excursions or other independent activities.

Transfers

Motor coach or train transportation from the airport to your hotel or city centre.

Local Guides

Professional guides with specialised expertise in a specific city or region that guide you on a sightseeing tour. They will show you specific sights in more detail while providing vast knowledge on the local area.

Tour Director

Tour escort, responsible to see that your tour runs smoothly. He or she travels with you, helping with everything from co-ordinating hotel check-in, language translation, to advice on best restaurants and sights to see.

 

Hope this comes in handy for some of you travellers out there! Please don’t forget to let me know of any other travel jargon wondering the earth!

 

 

The Queens Diamond Jubilee River Pageant – a flag waving frenzy!

It was a rare 4 day weekend with an extra day off for the celebrations. On the 2nd of June 2012 my wife and I left the Global Coach Tours office and headed to London. We stayed at the Hotel Verta which is a 5 star London hotel at Battersea Heliport by the river which had a good offer and overlooks the Thames. You can read my TripAdvisor review here

After a huge delicious breakfast we were set up for viewing the pageant on June 3rd and we joined the throngs to await the Queen’s arrival. This was going to feature around 1000 vessels of every kind imaginable. The most amazing river cruise the Thames had ever seen!

After standing and waving all afternoon, the brave choirs and bands continued to sing and play, whilst we had the good fortune to head home just as the rain began to fall. We felt proud to be British!