Currency while on land
Depending on which Arctic route you are taking, different currencies will be required. Norway uses the Krona and Denmark/Greenland have their version of Krona too, while Finland uses the Euro. If your ship’s departure point is in Canada, Canadian dollars will be needed. In Russia, the currency is the Ruble.
Iceland also uses Krona but is almost a cashless society. ATMs are available in all towns and PINs are required for purchases.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in every country in the main tourist areas and cities, and ATMs are prevalent
Things to consider:
- Your card provider may charge you at a higher rate for making payments or withdrawals while abroad, so it may be worth checking these tariffs before you leave
- To avoid any extra charges you could consider getting a card which you preload credit onto
- Although ATMs are widely available in most major towns, make sure you stock up before travelling to more remote areas.
Budgeting & tipping
Travelling to the Arctic can be expensive. Expect to pay around $100-$150 USD per person per day for food, drink and transport. A further $150-$300 USD for fairly basic accommodation (and much more for luxury!).
In the Norwegian Arctic, service charges and tips are included in restaurants and taxi fares, but if the service has been great 5% tips are generally appropriate.
Tipping in Canada is similar to the US. Generally, you can expect to tip around 15%-20% in restaurants and between 10% and 15% on taxi fares.
Tipping in Greenland is not expected, however, due to the scarcity in visitors and the opportunities to raise income it is especially appreciated if you have received great service in either a restaurant or from your guide.
In Iceland, service and VAT are always included in the prices so tipping isn’t required. Rounding up the bill or leaving a small tip for good service is appreciated but not expected.
In Russia, it is customary to tip in restaurants and cafes, usually around 10%, but on other services it is optional.
Onboard the ships, USD or Euros are accepted and you will have an onboard account which is settled at the end of the trip.
If you wish to tip your guides if they have done a great job, $10-$20 USD per person per day on board is appreciated.
It's very much at your discretion, however, there are some great guides out there not to mention the restaurant, hotel and background staff who really go the extra mile to make your trip as good as it can possibly be, and it's nice to reward them.
This is usually collected just prior to the end of the expedition and can be paid on credit card. If you pay in cash, it’s very often an anonymous payment, by credit card anonymity is less easy.