Gratuities, Tipping, and Your Guides

The service industry is a funny place. Not only does each type of service seem to have a standard for what is an “appropriate” tip, but what more, it can often be vague as to what actually constitutes a fair tip and what criteria you should base your tip on. Most providers in the travel industry have a strong policy of requiring tips from their guests, and many hard-working guides rely on these tips as a major part of their income. At Bike Tour Japan, we have tried this approach in the past, but found it extremely unintuitive, as our guests come from all over the world, and tipping culture varies greatly between regions and countries. So we began to question industry standards.

That is why in 2018, we introduced our new All Inclusive Pricing Policy along with a guarantee for fair pay for all BTJ guides. Simply, we believe our guides are great people and that they deserve a fair wage that does not fluctuate based on arbitrary estimates of service, group size, and societal norms. Our guides, in an average season, make over 2.5x the standard wage of our industry, and 2x the standard wage if you include a 7% tip per guest (the industry standard is often quoted at 5-10%).

So what does this mean for you, our guests? This means that when we say our trips are all inclusive, it’s true–the price you see is your final bill. No hidden fees, no obligatory tips, no extra taxes (all of our prices are always advertised including tax). Simple, clear, responsible.

If you feel so inclined to tip your guides after they show you an unforgettable time in Japan I’m sure they won’t mind, but please do not feel you are obliged in any way or that our guides go home on anything short of a great wage for all of the time and energy they put into making your trip a once in a lifetime tour! And please remember, if you do have an unforgettable adventure with us, the BEST tip is sharing your experience in Japan with all of your family and friends.

[Explore our 2019 Guided Tours]