How Much Should I Tip a White Water Rafting Guide?

How Much to Tip a Rafting Guide

If you’ve ever been white water rafting, you know the importance of a guide’s job, and you might even know how important it is to tip them when deserved. But just how much should you tip a white water rafting guide?

How much to tip a white water rafting guide? Tip a white water rafting guide between 5 and 20% of the overall cost of your rafting trip. Between $5 and $20 per person, is usually acceptable. Tip your white water rafting guide according to:

  • The length of the trip
  • The level of difficulty of the white water
  • The overall cost of the rafting trip
  • Their professionalism, friendliness and attitude
  • Number of paddlers you bring

The rules for tipping white water rafting guides definitely aren’t common knowledge like tipping waiters. Still, it’s important to make sure you don’t undertip the next time you go white water rafting. To find out how much you should tip and more, keep reading!

Amazon and Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) on the products or services you purchase using the links.

How much should you tip a white water rafting guide?

The amount to tip a waiter or a delivery driver is common knowledge, usually 20% of the bill in the US. However, white water rafting isn’t an activity that takes place as often as dining out.

Come to find out, river rafting guides aren’t paid all that awesomely. So, some people might not even know they should be tipping their guide. So, yes, you should tip your white water rafting guide. All you need to know is how much you should be tipping them.

There aren’t any set-in-stone rules for tipping a white water rafting guide. It’s just like with restaurants where you might give a very generous tip to your waiter or waitress if they do a great job. However, there are a few rules that can help you decide the minimum tip that’s appropriate.

Here’s a quick reference on how I tip rafting guides:

  • I and my family came back alive – Automatic 5% Tip
  • The river guide knew what they were doing and remained calm during the trip – Add 5% to the tip
  • The river rafting guide made everyone feel at ease – Add another 5% to the tip
  • I have a hard rule about being nice to my wife and kids – Add or subtract 5% bonus to the tip

That’s just how I do it with many sports including white water rafting.

Here are some general rules you should consider when tipping white water rafting guides:

  • The first thing to consider when tipping is the cost of the trip. If you paid $150, you could multiply that by any percentage to decide the amount you tip. The usual range is anywhere from 5% to 20%. If you multiply $150 and 15%, you will get $22.50, which would be the tip you’d give the guide.
  • Another thing to consider is the length of the trip. If it was a longer trip, your guide would’ve put more effort into it than a shorter trip. If you think the guide deserves $25, you can give him or her that amount for a long trip. You could give $20 if it was the medium-length route, and $15 would be for the shortest route.
  • The level and difficulty of the river should also influence how much you tip your guide. If the river is one of the higher classes of river rapids, like III – V, you should definitely tip more, as they had to be extra attentive to your safety.
  • You should also tip more if there are more people in your group. You can even tip by guest. The tip can be anywhere from $5 to $10 a person, meaning a group of 10 could be anywhere from $50 to $100.
Read Post  Woodstock on the Water: An oral history of the Ramblin’ Raft Race

Is tipping a white water rafting guide necessary?

When you think of tipping others, you generally think of waiters, waitresses, delivery drivers, and bartenders. However, there are many other people that should be tipped for their hard work. It’s necessary, as a lot of them depend on tips for income.

Since white water rafting guides are in charge of your life, they should definitely be considered for a tip. Most don’t get paid per trip, so getting a tip will make their day. You should also consider the quality of the guide. Some only give the bare minimum that’s required. But, there are also those who show respect, enthusiasm, and even entertainment for guests while also keeping them safe.

Listen, any guide that brings you back alive and unharmed, you should definitely tip! Read my Oregon River Rafting Article for a good example of this.

Speaking of the ones who only give the bare minimum, you’re probably wondering what you should do when you get one of them. Some might not tip them at all. Or they might do what most do with poor service at restaurants, which is to share a small percentage of the bill rather than the usual 12% to 20%.

When and where should you tip your guide?

A day of white water rafting can be pretty hectic. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find your guide after the trip is over, as they are often cleaning equipment and checking out of work.

Depending on the situation, you should be able to give it to one of the trip leaders or find a box labeled “TIPS” near the office. If the outfitter you choose for white water rafting is pooling or collecting tips, the money is usually entrusted in the lead guide of the trip to be distributed to all of the guides later.

If you’d like to be more discreet, you can leave an envelope at the front desk. Leave the money and a note that says thanks to your guide and any other guides or leaders who were on the trip.

How do you tip if you have no cash?

This might be an odd thing to think about, but the truth is not everyone brings along extra cash.

A lot of people don’t think about tipping for something like white water rafting. You might be shocked to learn that tipping with other things besides cash is actually more common than you’d think. There is even a Reddit forum where people share the strangest tips they’ve received.

One pretty common tip that you might be surprised by is beer. Of course, they can’t always accept it, or they aren’t old enough to accept it. It’s the thought that counts, though.

There are definitely some stranger tips out there that you wouldn’t expect. If you go white water rafting after Halloween, you might want to consider tipping candy because everyone has plenty of candy to hand out after Halloween. However, that might not be a good tip for a job like a white water rafting guide as that takes a lot of work.

If you or anyone with you specialize in any service that your guide is in need of, that would be a great way to tip them. For example, if you are a car mechanic and your guide voices his or her concerns about their car not working, you could offer your services as a way to pay them back for their services.

You could also offer your guide a drink if there is a drink machine nearby. Though that definitely won’t match the value of a typical tip for a guide, I’m sure they would appreciate it. There are many other things that could be used as a tip. Some of those are listed down below.

  • Bag of cookies: These would be great for multiple guides and leaders.
  • Gift card: If you have a gift card sitting in your wallet that you know you won’t use, it would be useful in thanking your guide.
  • A vacation: This is probably very rare, but if your guide leaves an outstanding impression on you, you can get your wallet out to book them a vacation rather than give them a traditional tip.
  • Leave a great review. One way to let others know and reward a great white water rafting guide is to give them a good review online.

How much to tip a white water rafting guide – Now you know!

If you ever go white water rafting, you should definitely tip your guide. Considering that your life is in that person’s hands, it’s a small price to pay. However, the amount you pay them depends on many factors such as the trip’s price, the length of the river, and several other important considerations.

Read Post  What to Wear White Water Rafting

You can also tip with non-traditional items or favors. But let’s be honest, there’s nothing like cold hard cash for tipping a river rafting guide.

I’m Steve, the research and technology workhorse behind Paddle Camp. I do tons of research on all our family’s paddling gear before I buy or recommend anything. I grew up canoeing with my dad and brother. A few years ago I bought paddle boards for my daughters, myself, and my wife. Ever since then, we plan most of our vacations around kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding.

Related Articles

Knowing what to bring on a white water rafting trip will not only make your trip more fun and prevent you from getting cold and wet, it could save your life.

If you’ve never been white water rafting, it’s very important that you know what to wear before you go. Because it’s not about how hot or cold it is outside.

About Us

We love paddling! We all remember being beginners and having no clue what kayak, canoe, or SUP to buy. Nor did we understand all the rafting gear, paddling laws, and how-to paddle info we’d need to get started. So we built Paddle Camp to help you navigate the often confusing world of kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, and river rafting.


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Paddle Camp is a participant in various affiliate networks, including AvantLink, CJ, and others. Paddle Camp is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

River Cruise Advisor

Recommendations & Resources for choosing river cruises


You are here: Home / All Inclusive River Cruises / Gratuities / River Cruise Gratuities, Guidelines On How Much To Tip

River Cruise Gratuities, Guidelines On How Much To Tip

When we first began writing about river cruises over six years ago, river cruise lines had a myriad of tipping policies. Few lines included gratuities in the cost of the cruise, and fewer still allowed you to charge those gratuities to your onboard account in order to pay with your credit card.

How much should you tip on your river cruise – or are tips expected at all? Read on. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

But just as gratuities have evolved and changed for deep-ocean cruising, the river cruise industry is no exception. Today, a number of lines offer gratuities included in the cost of the cruise as they attempt to attract an international passenger base that has different cultural customs for tipping. Americans, for example, tend to tip more than Canadians, and both tip more than Australian guests, who are used to having gratuities rolled into wages for service staff. Including the gratuities in the cost of the cruise smooths out the experience, regardless of your customs or background.

Here’s a look at the current river cruise line suggested gratuities this fall:

It’s worth noting that gratuity levels and payment types can vary on more exotic itineraries. A good example of this can be seen by viewing Viking River Cruises in the chart above. The line has very flexible payment types on their European-based river cruises, but both rate and payment type vary on their exotic itineraries. Not only does the daily rate go up, but the type of currency changes too (from Euros to American Dollars). Gratuities for the line’s Egyptian, Southeast Asian, and Portugal itineraries must be paid in cash – and that could mean a trip to the bank prior to leaving home.

For river cruisers, all of this information should be provided by the cruise line with your pre-cruise documentation. It’s important to thoroughly read each and every piece of documentation that the cruise line sends you before your vacation begins; doing so can save you some real headaches when you’re abroad.


good afternoon, I am a former employee of Vikings and I can only confirm that even though they tell you that the tip is included in the price, it is not true, we Vikings employees never receive tip except directly from guests cash in hand Best regards

Jan photog says

Is the per person per day related to the actually crew or to your party?

Georgia Moore says

I’m going on a 15 day UK Viking cruise in 2022. There are many land tours included in the cruise. I’ve never done a cruise before. How do I get Euro dollars for tipping and how much and whom do I tip? I like to tip in cash. So how much should I bring?

Ralph Grizzle says

The best exchange rates and the most convenient are using your ATM or debit card to withdraw euros, which you can do at airports upon your arrival – usually while waiting for your luggage. That’s how I do it. This post does a good job at explaining how it works:

Read Post  How to Stay in a White Water Raft (What if You Fall Out? )

jan photog says

You can also purchase from your bank at home in advance

I certainly wish the tips would be already included and I think vikings are way more expensive than regent

But viking is the best

It is my understanding that Regent prices include the tips.

Joann Daniels says

Going on a Viking cruise, River of Gold cruising Portugal. Is it acceptable to give a gratuity in american dollars or is the euro the way to go. Isn’t the $$ a stronger currency?

Danny Anthony says

No, the dollar is NOT the stronger currency

Carolyn Szekeres says

This chart is really helpful. Another thing to remember; gratuities may be expected on daily excursions for the local tour guides and motorcoach drivers.. Some river cruise lines include gratuities on land as well as on the ship.

Dave Stanley says

If you translate the Euros to CDN$ for two people, it ends up to be about 45CDN$ a day, A ten day cruise, you would add another $500 to your bill. Sure adds up fast. The amenities better be good. River cruises are already way more expensive than regular cruises. We need a comparison of all costs between river cruises and ocean cruises. What is the best for the buck.

Good suggestion Dave. I think ocean cruises would come out to be much less on a per diem basis. For example, I was surprised to see that a Seabourn repositioning voyage that begins October 31, 2015 from Athens to Dubai had a per diem in the lowest category for $222 per person. That’s incredible for what you get on Seabourn. That’s with gratuities included also. How soon can you get to Athens, right?

But you sort of have to compare apples to apples. Most of the River Cruise lines have excursions and beverage included, so the only real ocean going cruise line to compare the river cruises to would be Regent Seven Seas. I believe a couple of the river cruise lines have done side by side comparisons.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

River Cruise Advisor

Recommendations & Resources for choosing river cruises


River Cruise Basics: Tipping on your River Cruise

“What should I tip?”

It’s a common enough question, but one that has many answers, depending on the cruise line you choose, the region you sail in, and your own personal preferences. These days, a “tip” is more of a gratuity, one that is typically charged on a daily, per person basis.

What should you expect to tip on a European river cruise? Read on! Photo courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

But much like our piece on inclusive beverages, each cruise line has its own standards for tipping, which can sometimes vary depending on your destination. Currencies can also vary wildly and may not necessarily be what you are expecting; for example, most European-based river cruises require tips to be made in Euros, while the US Dollar is acceptable for tips in Russia and Asia.

Because tipping is, at its core, a personal decision, this article is based solely off the recommended gratuity guidelines put forth by each river cruise line and deals only with the expected onboard tips; gratuities for drivers, tour guides and so on are not included in our chart.

AmaWaterways€3 per pax, per day for Cruise Manager
€ 12 per pax, per day for Crew
US $4 pp/pd, for Cruise Manager; US $15 pp/pd crew.

Cruise Director – US $2 pp/pd.
Crew: US $10pp/pd.
Cruise Guide: US $2-3 per day in Cambodia and Vietnam

AFRICA: US $65-80 per cabin for 4-day cruise.

EGYPT: US $4 pp/pd for Tour Manager; $6 pp/pd for Crew

EUROPE, RUSSIA, CHINA: Cash or credit card.

Still have more questions? Check out these helpful links outlining each river cruise line’s tipping policies in detail, including guidelines for tips ashore to guides, coach operators, and other individuals you’re likely to encounter during your journey.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *