A GUIDE TO TIPPING IN INDIA

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A GUIDE TO TIPPING IN INDIA

Written by our friends over at Xasmin Travels

tipping in india
Take note that all recommendations below are completely at your discretion and there is a difference between someone expecting a tip and someone appreciating a tip. Although tips are important, people in India and Nepal generally have an excellent work ethic and won’t push for extra money. We think you should always keep a few 5 or 10 rupee notes to hand. Note - INR : Indian Rupee

In a Restaurant

  • With any bill less than 300 or 400INR then usually you can tip around 10% of this
  • If your bill is up to 1000INR 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…
  • 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
  • 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
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 (something that is discouraged)
  • 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 the agency you have booked with 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
  • 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. This is encouraged because it singles out the better guides/drivers/hotels etc and thus makes tourism in India more competitive, complete and welcoming

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