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In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades. In Iceland tipping is not as habitual, and it is not part of their culture. This can leave some travelers confused. In Iceland, tipping is a kind gesture and appropriate in some situations, but never expected. If you are truly impressed by the service, you are welcome to tip and most often it is much appreciated and well received.

This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.

Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use Krona (ISK)?

The currency of Iceland is the króna, written ISK. Some shops catering to tourists will accept payment in US dollars but not necessarily at the best rate. Once you`re in Iceland you`ll need to use the Icelandic krónur in most places. Icelanders are not big on carrying money though so the preferred payment method is either debit or credit cards. There are not a lot of banks outside of Iceland that carry the Icelandic krónur, but there is a bank and an ATM at the Keflavik Airport where you can exchange your currency.

Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?

In general it`s not customary to tip in Iceland, however it is also not illegal or rude to tip in these places either. Often times you will find that many bills already have the gratuity or service charge added into the total. If there isn`t a service charge, then a 10% gratuity is perfectly fine. You will notice many bars and restaurants have tip jars now.

Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?

Tipping in hotels in Iceland is not customary; the services are included in your bill. However, you are welcome to leave a small tip for your maid, they would be appreciative but do not expect it, and the same would be true for other services around the hotel.

Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?

Tipping cab drivers is unusual and never expected in Iceland. The price of the ride will cover any service charge. However, if the taxi driver was particularly helpful you should feel free to tip them.

Tour Guides: Is a tip required?

Tipping tour guides is not expected in Iceland. However, if you had an exceptional experience and felt you wanted to express your appreciation to your tour guide, you can leave around 10%.

Final Thoughts:

Remember it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. Unlike in the US, waiters, tour guides, hotel staff, etc. are paid a decent wage, and tipping is not the standard practice.

When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.