Big Groups and Tipping
You can buy one of three kinds of walking tours:
- “Free”: You pay what you think is fair at the end of the tour.
- Low Cost: You save on the price of the tour, but it may not be a great tour.
- Us!: Pay a fair price for a small group experience with no tipping accepted!
There are a couple things that disappoint me with most walking tours…
The first is the size of the groups on some tours. The photo on this page, from April 2022 shows an average group size of over 30 people with their costumed guide (that fellow in the tricorne hat in the center). Occasionally, you will see a guide with a little amplifier so he or she can blast their narrative to everyone in earshot. I think a good maximum size is 14 guests. So, unlike the couple on the far left of the photo who probably can’t hear a word the guide is saying (and have lost interest), you’ll always be close enough to hear clearly, and even ask questions!
The second is tipping your guide. A big group size means more tips for the guide, so whether you’ve joined a low cost or “no-cost” tour, the bigger the group, the better the pay for the guide. And, this seems to lead to that uncomfortable moment. Do you have the right denomination? Is $3 enough, $10 too much? Ugh! Had you included tipping in your budget? Would you have taken the tour if you had known the real cost?
Let’s dispense with all that….
After years of guiding, I’m convinced that most people will be happy pay a little more for a great tour with limited attendance so you may easily enjoy the experience, hear the narrative and join the discussion.
I charge a little more for my tours, but the price you pay is “all inclusive”… the only tip I’ll accept is an online review or a referral to a friend.
Your Boston Guide