Currency while on land
Major credit cards are widely accepted in every country in the main tourist areas and cities, and ATMs are prevalent in most major towns. However, make sure you stock up on cash before travelling to more remote areas.
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.
Depending on which countries you will be passing through, you will need different currencies:
- Norway - Krona (Norwegian)
- Denmark & Greenland - Krona (Danish)
- Finland - Euro
- Canada - Canadian dollar
- Russia - Rubles
- Iceland - Krona, however it is almost a cashless society. ATMs are available in towns and PINs are required for purchases.
To avoid any extra charges at ATMs, consider getting a currency card which you preload credit onto.
Budgeting & tipping
On board your ship
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.
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!).
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.
Canada: Similar to the US. Generally, you can expect to tip around 15%-20% in restaurants and between 10% and 15% on taxi fares.
Greenland: Tipping 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.
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.
Russia: it is customary to tip in restaurants and cafes, usually around 10%, but on other services it is optional.