Do You Tip Your Zip Line Guide?

Woohoo! You just had the best zip lining ride of your life. The conditions were great, the slope of the line was awesome, and you gained great speed. You have your zip line guide to thank for that, at least in part, and you’d like to make that known with a tip. Are you allowed to tip your zip line guide or is that sort of thing frowned upon?

If you want to tip your zip line guide for a job well done, go for it! You’ll want to tip between 15 and 20 percent, which is around $20 to $25. Make sure that everyone in your party tips the guide and that each guide who helped you is tipped. 

Sure, you tip your pizza delivery guy all the time as well as your favorite gas station attendant, but a zip line guide? This will be your first time tipping them. Worry not, as this guide will provide you with all the information you need, including when to tip, how much, and where to keep the money in the meantime.

Let’s get started!  

So, Should You Tip Your Zip Line Guide?

You would never walk out of a restaurant without leaving a tip (or so we hope), but once you get into adventure activities like ziplining, it’s a whole different ball of wax. You have no idea whether your zip line guide will expect a tip or if you can end your experience without tipping and not offend anyone.

Zipline guides are not expecting tips, so the pressure is not on for you to give them cash after your ride. Guides know that not every zip line rider carries cash on them. Even if a person usually does have cash, they might have traveled light when zip lining so their wallet doesn’t end up in a ravine or lost on a cliffside. They can also have a tight vacationing budget that doesn’t leave a lot of extra room for tips. 

If you decide that you don’t want to tip the zip line guide or you do but you’re out of cash, you won’t cause any hard feelings. You could return to that zip-lining company a month from now and work with the same guide and they won’t hate you. They will still put as much vigor into your zip lining trip this time as they did the last time because they’re not depending on your tip. 

This isn’t like the restaurant industry where tips offset the low income that servers and bartenders typically earn. According to job resource Glassdoor, zip line guides make $42,188 per year. That’s a pretty healthy income in most parts of the country and certainly enough on its own for the guide to live on. 

A zip line guide treats a tip as a compliment because it proves to them that they went above and beyond to make your zip lining experience an exciting, memorable one. They don’t need your tip, but they do appreciate it! 

How Much Do You Tip Your Zip Line Guide?

Today is the day of your zip-lining ride. You’re anticipating tipping your guide, but you have no idea how much money to set aside. We’d recommend deferring to the standard tipping rate of between 15 and 20 percent. Keep in mind that this rate applies to however many guides you had during your ziplining ride. 

All members of your party should tip the guides as well, be that one guide or more. For those who made ziplining a family affair or went with a group of friends and your group comprises at least four people, that means multiplying your tip times four. The average zip line guide tip is $20 to $25 per guide.  

Children as young as seven years old are allowed by many ziplining companies to ride. Obviously, at their age, they themselves will not tip the guide, but you should still chip in the tip money for the child/children since the guide did attend to them. 

What if you can’t tip at percent? You can tip at a lower rate of 10 or 12 percent, but we wouldn’t recommend going any lower than 10 percent. If all you have to offer the ziplining guide is a few crumpled, sweaty bills and spare change, you’re better off not tipping them at all. It can be embarrassing for both yourself and the guide to pass along that kind of cash. 

As for tipping over 20 percent, you can do that if you really want to, although it’s not customary. Remember, no guide is expecting a tip, let alone a ginormous one. Yet if you had a really incredible zip lining ride and you want to show your thanks, it’s not unheard of for some riders to tip a guide about $100. 

Where Do You Keep the Tip Money When Ziplining?

One way that tipping your zipline guide is different than tipping your pizza delivery person is that with the former activity, you’re at least 30 feet off the ground, if not double that. You need your money to be accessible for post-ride tipping yet not so accessible that you lose it while ziplining. Where is the best spot to keep your cash when ziplining?

Put your cash in a fanny pack or belt bag that’s secured around your waist when ziplining. Make sure the bag is completely shut so nothing can come flying out as you achieve terminal velocity during your ziplining descent. 

If you thought a good storage spot is your pocket, that’s not the case. If your pocket zips up, then you might feel better about storing your cash in there, but otherwise, don’t do it. Between your open pocket, the force of you rushing through the air when ziplining, as well as your angle of descent, it’s too easy for your money to come spilling out of your pocket.

By the way, that applies to everything of value that you might carry, including your wallet, your keys, and your smartphone. You might reach the bottom of the zipline only to realize your valuables are gone! 

When Should You Tip Your Zip Line Guide?

Your zipline ride was over before you knew it, but you had such a great time that you’re already thinking of when you can do it again. As you’ve landed and gotten detached from the ziplining connections and taken out of your gear, this is the ideal moment to tip your zip line guide. If you wait too much longer, the guide could move on to the next group. 

You could wait until you pay the cashier for your zip line ride, but again, tracking down which guides you used could be difficult at that point. If that’s your only option, then make sure you tell the cashier who your guides were and how much you want to give them as a tip. The cashier should get the tips to the guides for you. 

Will a Zip Line Guide Ever Refuse a Tip? What Should You Do?

Tipping a zip line guide is a regular enough occurrence that you shouldn’t catch your guide off-guard if you offer to give them money. However, just like it’s your decision whether you want to tip your guide, it’s their choice if they want to accept a tip. 

There are plenty of reasons why your tip might be refused, and they have nothing to do with you. Maybe the zipline company has a policy in place where guides can’t accept tips. Perhaps the guide has nowhere on their person to stash the extra cash, so they turn you down.

In such a scenario, we really advise you not to take it personally. The guide isn’t refusing your tip because you didn’t offer enough money. Rather than try to up the ante with your cash offering, you’re better off leaving well enough alone. Don’t try to tip the guide behind their back either, like giving the tip money to the cashier. Save the money and use it to buy your family dinner out. 

Final Thoughts

Tipping your zip line guide, provided you’re pleased with their level of service, is acceptable but not mandatory. If you do tip, use the industry standard of 15 to 20 percent, which is about $20 to $25 per guide. Oh, and keep the cash (and your other valuables) in a money belt or fanny pack so you don’t lose anything on your way down the zipline! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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