How Much Do You Tip A Kayak Guide? Calculation – 2022

If you’ve ever been on a kayaking trip, you know how important the guide can be. They not only help navigate the waters and keep you safe, but they also provide valuable information about the area and its history.

So, how much do you tip a kayak guide? The simple answer is that you tip your kayak guide the same way you would any other service provider.

This article will explore those questions and more. Tips for kayak guides vary depending on where you are, but some standards do exist.

How Much Do You Tip A Kayak Guide?

Many guides will let you know that gratuity is included in the fee you pay for the tour, but tipping your guide is entirely optional. In some cases, a tip is expected and will be considered offensive if you don’t offer one. In other cases, a tip may simply be appreciated because it is not expected.

How Do I Calculate My Tip?

With some exceptions, the gratuity is typically figured on the full tour price including any local taxes. For example, if your trip costs $40 plus 5% tax, you would figure your tip on $40.45 (the original fee of $40 plus 5% of that amount). You can also ask them what they expect or prefer so there are no hard feelings if something goes wrong on the trip.

The following are some good rules of thumb, according to opinions expressed by local guides:

  • For a full-day trip on the water with lunch, tip about $25 per person at your party. You can double that if you have more people or for an exceptional guide.
  • For a half-day trip with snacks or no meal, tip $15-$20.
  • For a two-hour trip, tip $10+ per person at your party.
  • For a land-based excursion, tip $10-$15 per person depending on the length and inclusions.

Do I Tip Before or After the Trip?

When you’re dealing with a guide, tipping before the trip will allow them to purchase whatever supplies they need for the trip. This also ensures that you will receive excellent service on your trip and makes it clear that you appreciate their time and talents.

Tipping after the trip (after everything has been accounted for and money has changed hands) can be a little trickier. In some cases, the guide will have spent more money than they were expecting on things such as fuel or water and can use any extra cash to compensate for that. Outside of this, tipping after a trip is simply a thank you with no strings attached.

Some guides will keep the above information in mind when giving you your pre-trip briefing, but others may not. You can be sure that if it’s an issue of tipping before or after the trip, some other guests on the tour have asked. However, you don’t have to feel pressured into tipping anyone.

If the trip is simply a tour through some local hot spots with no actual kayaking involved—perhaps a bird-watching expedition or a sightseeing cruise—then tipping is entirely optional. In this case, it’s a simple thank you for a fun time and can be given at your discretion.

Of course, even if you decide to tip your guide it doesn’t mean that the gratuity has to be monetary. Gratitude and enthusiasm are often welcomed just as much as cash, so feel free to show off your appreciation in any way you like.

Whether tipping is expected or not, always remember to thank your kayak guide for their time and energy. A quick thank you or pat on the back can go a long way in demonstrating your gratitude. Be sure to smile when you do it, too! Most guides are paid in smiles, so yours wouldn’t be appreciated with anything less than the real thing.

Are There Any Situations In Which You Would Not Tip Your Guide?

Yes, there are situations in which it would not be necessary or appropriate to tip your kayaking guide. These include:

  • If the guide drives you to the launch site, then they are getting paid for their time, so no tip is necessary
  • If your guide does nothing that you would not expect them to do in the kayaking industry, then no tipping is required. For example, if your guide gets you from point A to B and that’s it; there’s no need to tip them because it would be expected.
  • If you did not make a profit from this business venture, then there is no tipping required. If the guide makes more than you do on the kayaking experience, then depending on how much they made compared to yourself, a tip will be appropriate.
  • If your guide provides you with a pre-trip briefing, then a tip is not expected or necessary because doing so is part of their job.
  • If the guide has already been tipped by another client that day. Tipping more than once can be demeaning and insulting to the individual being tipped because it’s as if they were not appreciated enough the first time around.
  • If the kayaking trip was a free service provided in exchange for a review or product sponsorship, then no tipping is necessary.


I hope this article about tipping a kayak guide has been helpful. In short, if you plan on going on a guided kayaking trip the person in charge of your tour is a kayak guide. A kayak guide is responsible for your safety and the organization of the tour.


Q1. How much is appropriate to tip your kayaking guide?

It really depends, if it is a paid group tour, you would only tip the guide a little bit (most likely about $5-$10). If it was a kayak tour that you arranged on your own then tipping would be more. If the guide went above and beyond to give you a good trip, I would tip them more.

Q2. When is tipping not necessary?

Tipping isn’t necessary if the kayak guide is a friend or relative or if the trip you are taking does not involve a profit.

Q3. If your guide provides you with a pre-trip briefing, is a tip required?

No, a tip is not required if the kayak guide gave you a pre-trip briefing.

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