Tipping in India | India Travel Information

Private Travel to India

Tipping in India

 

Travelers take note

 

All our guests and indeed anyone we speak to generally asks us what the ‘regulations’ are on tipping in a country such as India. We have decided to publish an article for you so that you get an idea of what is expected, what should be done, what we recommend and the general situation.

Take note that all recommendations below are completely at your discretion and the difference between someone "expecting" a tip and ‘appreciating’ a tip is great. Although tips are important, people in India generally have a good work ethic and won’t push for extra money. We think you should always keep a few 5rupee or 10rupee notes to hand.

In a Restaurant

With any bill less than 300 or 400 INR then usually you can tip around 10% of this.

If your bill is up to 1000 INR then again, between 7 and 10% is usually appreciated.

Many restaurants, especially in the big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, add a ‘service charge’ to the bill. This means that no tip is expected. Don’t confuse this with a ‘service tax’ which is a direct tax levied by the Government of India.

In Hotels

This is one of the more difficult places to tip as there are many variables and many expectations. If you feel that someone in the hotel has done you a service that exceeded expectations, don’t hesitate in tipping them directly. Sometimes, the management try to discourage tips and so a good method is to pass the tip over covertly. Another approach will be to tip in a central tip box around 5-7% of the cost of your stay. There is no guarantee where this money will go however…

When staying in expensive hotels, generally the systems are more structured and therefore lessen your central tip, or just tip between 3-5%. When you tip centrally, indicate that the tip is to be shared around everyone.

There is always the annoyance of a certain member of staff (usually a bellboy or waiter) waiting around expectantly for a tip. In these occasions it is worth not tipping individually, and instead thanking the person and walking away.

In awkward or uncomfortable situations just keep a few small notes in your pocket that can be used.

Drivers

If your driver is only doing airport transfers, around 30-50INR is acceptable.

If you are renting a car for a tour of the city for one day, then tip around 100-200INR per day. This however will entirely depend on the service you are offered and if the driver knew about the region, the restaurants and monuments and if he took you to commission-based tourist shops.


If you take an auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) it is not necessary to tip. If the driver asks you for a tip, decline politely. If you think he is charging you too much, then simple get out of the rickshaw.

When you have hired a driver over a few days, or for an entire tour, we recommend around 200-300INR per day. Again, all will depend on the service, but generally the longer-distance/time drivers are excellent at what they do.

Guides

Some guides are very good, and some are just good. Occasionally you will get a guide that is pushy and selfish and in these situations don’t tip anything. Phone the office and we will black-list the guide instantly. If it is a personalised tour you can tip around 100-200INR per day if you were happy with the guide. If it is a group tour, depending on the size, tip around 30-50INR.

Travelers take note:

India does not have a strong tipping culture, such as America. On the other hand, it is always nice to tip when you feel the tip will be appreciated, and not expected. As a rule of thumb, anyone who is pushy for a tip should not be tipped.

Always tip higher when you are pleased with the service you are offered. We try to encourage this because it singles out the better guides/drivers/workers/hotels and thus makes tourism in India more complete and welcoming.

 

India Travel Information

 

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