Albertans confused about international tipping etiquette

- TD First Class Travel International Etiquette Poll finds 77% of Albertans are travelling this summer but 56% are unsure about tipping etiquette  -

CALGARY, May 17 /CNW/ - Whether they're relaxing on a beach in Mexico or dining out in New York, the majority of Albertans admit they are apprehensive when it comes to understanding cultural idiosyncrasies and tipping etiquette when holidaying overseas, according to the TD First Class Travel International Etiquette Poll.

The poll found three quarters of Albertans (77%) are planning on travelling this summer, with 27% vacationing outside of Canada. Despite their love for exploring new places and cultures, many Albertans confess gratuities, tipping and service fees on vacation leave them feeling unsure and confused (56% and 15% respectively).

"While travelling is an amazing life experience, surprises on your bill or in your budget are not," says Stacie Pearson, Associate Vice President, TD Credit Cards. "A good travel rewards card will give you the freedom and flexibility to redeem points for all travel-related expenses, including fun-filled excursions or unanticipated airport taxes and tipping."

The poll suggested that staying on budget while travelling is important to Canadians: 71% of Canadians who redeemed or used travel rewards points in the past 12 months say those travel rewards helped them afford their travel plans this year. Understanding local customs, such as tipping, can also help to maximize a travel budget.

Tipping while travelling

Perplexed about tipping standards, 56% of Albertans admit they err on the side of caution and tip service providers overseas what they would at home: 10-15%.

"Leaving a gratuity in an unfamiliar currency can be confusing and frustrating, because every country has a different standard. For example, it's customary to tip wait staff 15-20% in the US, but in Europe service charges are often included in the bill and in Australia you're not expected to tip at all," says Pearson. "Before you travel overseas, you should always check to see what is customary. Under tipping can be embarrassing, but over tipping can really impact your budget."

Avoiding a cultural faux pas overseas

When asked to identify cultural faux pas in foreign countries, many Albertans were mistaken. For example, three-quarters (74%) thought Argentineans ate early dinners and 53% thought it was okay to split restaurant bills in Paris. But the majority knew it's illegal to chew gum in Singapore (76%) and offensive to smile in some historical sites in Vietnam (87%).

"Local customs vary widely from country to country, so it's important to learn the social etiquette before you go," say Pearson. "In countries like Mexico, it's common to barter with merchants when shopping at local markets, but in some places, like Paris, discussing money is considered unsophisticated."

When it comes to cultural immersion, Albertans are divided. Many (72%) admit they like to experience the sites of a new country without giving up the comforts of home, 10% like to immerse themselves in the local culture, and 18% aren't as interested in experiencing the culture as they are in relaxing at a resort.

"Whether you like to travel off the beaten path or relax in a resort, ensure you get the most out of your travel rewards program by using a credit card that gives you the control to redeem your points for any travel booked with any travel provider and the flexibility to redeem your points towards whatever type of travel you prefer, whether it's on a train, plane or automobile," says Pearson.

About the TD First Class Travel International Etiquette Poll Survey:

From March 30 to April 5, 2011, Research House conducted a national online omnibus survey of 1,000 Canadian adults, including 126 Alberta residents.

About the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card:

The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card gives cardholders the flexibility to get the travel deal they want and use their TD Points earned to pay for it.  Whether that travel is booked through their favourite travel agent, online website, a last-minute deal, or through the TD Travel Rewards Centre, you can use your TD Points to pay for it. With no blackout periods or restrictions on airlines, earning and redeeming points on your TD First Class Travel Card is even more rewarding. It goes beyond any seat or any airline, it's any travel. And, while many competitor programs require their cardholders to reach point tiers to travel to specified destinations or limit the number of seats available, with the TD First Class Travel Card, redeeming points is simple and easy to understand. For every $1.00 in purchases made using the card, cardholders earn three (3) TD Points which can be redeemed starting with as little as 10,000 TD Points.  That's the equivalent of $50 in travel value, redeemable towards any travel, anytime to anywhere.
For more information about the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card visit: http://www.tdfirstclasstravel.com

About TD Canada Trust:

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches - most open 8 'til late and many now open Sunday. For more information, please visit: www.tdcanadatrust.com. TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

SOURCE TD CANADA TRUST

For further information:

Liz Christiansen / Steve Presant
Paradigm Public Relations
416-413-5188 / 416-413-5194
lchristiansen@paradigmpr.caspresant@paradigmpr.ca

Jeff Meerman
TD Bank Group
604-654-0324
Jeff.meerman@td.com

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TD CANADA TRUST

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