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Question on tipping tour guide

I read both Rick's book and another on Iceland and both said, "no tipping." But I have a tour guide who will be helping us for three days. I splurged, but I think it will make the trip more enjoyable for my elderly mother.

Anyway, I am trying to figure out if I should tip him or not. And if so, how much cash I need. He owns the tour business himself, so he's not an employee. Would doing something like treating him to lunch each day be a good tip (he will be with us at lunchtime each day he's with us)? Or should I give him cash? If so, how much? If he's good, a positive review on TripAdvisor or other sites is a given. That's how I found him in the first place. Thanks!

Posted by
628 posts

If you decide to tip it would probably be easiest to provide a cash gratuity. How much to tip tends to be personal and based upon your thoughts of his/her service. If the guide is with you for several days I would tip at the conclusion of the final day. In some situations during the course of your time together you may get a handle on whether or not a gratuity is preferred. I’ve experienced times when the guide or service provider did not want additional compensation.

Posted by
15383 posts

Tipping a tour guide in Iceland is not required nor expected. However, if you felt a need to do so, no more than 10% the cost of the tour.

Since he's the owner, and tipping owners is not usually done, buying him lunch and leaving a great review will be very nice.

Posted by
8980 posts

Yes to the lunch!
For those who say not to tip the owner, why not? We are working just as hard to make your trip memorable as an employee would, if not harder. The success of our business depends on you, our guest, having the best time. So, yes, we do welcome tips. It doesn't have to be a lot, just something to let us know that you appreciate us going above and beyond to insure you had a great time.

I saw a lot of people tipping the guides in Iceland on the 3 tours I took there and the guides seem to accept the tips as though it was normal. What they also did a lot of, was ask for reviews, about themselves personally, not just the company.

Posted by
2108 posts

I would not tip. We have been there many times and only tipped once, not realizing. The guide was surprised, and was really unsure of what to do. He was the owner of the company. After that, I asked a couple locals and they said do not tip as they do not want that culture brought into their country, and so I stick to that. A good review will reap more for a guide than a tip will.

Posted by
76 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. I am still at page one. I wonder if it would too awkward to simply ask the guide on the first day. I will buy him lunch each day no matter what though, that's a given. It would feel too weird not to.

Posted by
2141 posts

You’re hiring a private guide for 3 days and he’s helping out with your elderly mother. I’d give him $20-$50 and say it’s for gas money.

Posted by
76 posts

I ended up tipping a little more than 10%. He was a great guide and very helpful. There is no way I couldn't tip him. I also left very long, positive reviews on Trip Advisor for each of the tours we took.

I need to go back to Iceland. The trip was just right for mom, but too short for me. I need to go back. I am thinking August 2026.