Many times our guests and bohemian travelers ask about the norms of Tipping in India. It becomes all the more important for those who visit India for a purpose and stay here for longer durations ranging from 4 weeks to 3 months. This post is also done to help our Expat friends who are constantly trying to understand the culture of India and are genuinely becoming the guides for India to travel back home.
With this post, we are trying to answer the queries like:
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Is it customary to tip in India?
How do you tip a concierge?
Tipping after meals at a restaurant?
Tipping at hotels or Tipping the guides?
Sometimes, knowing the economy of India and the relatively cheaper traveling and living as compared to other countries, people often get confused on what and how much to tip in India.
Tipping in India for a traveler could be of many types. So either you could be confused as to how much to tip at a restaurant (which also depends on the kind of restaurant), or how much to tip the management and helpers at the hotel you decide to stay in, or maybe the taxi driver who very delightfully guided you through the magnificent streets and lanes.
Even though it isn’t an utmost necessity to tip and often they do charge a service charge, but sometimes just out of courtesy towards people that make an extra effort towards making your trip better, you could give them a tip. If you see service charge added on your bill, it stands for tip which definitely must not be confused with service tax.
Guides of all ages could very easily be found at every place worth going in India. Some of them could also be Thugs, but most of them are those who know the inside out of the destinations well. If you find a genuine guide who doesn’t overcharge you, his average pay for one day would be around 100-500. If he does his work well and is nice to you, you could tip an amount of around Rs 50 – Rs 100.
Tipping at Restaurants
The variety of restaurants in India is vast, you could have your food for Rs 300 as well as Rs 3000 for one person. Tipping at a restaurant would primarily be dependent on the type of restaurant. Usually you pay around 5-10% of the amount on bills that are less than Rs 1000. If the amount goes above that you could pay a tip of not more than Rs. 300.
Tipping at hotels
Sometimes you might not be very comfortable tipping at hotels, due to certain reasons including the bell boys or any staff members who decide to wait outside your room for a tip. It isn’t a necessity to give a tip, you might just say a polite thank you and walk away.
We would highly encourage using a central tip box to tip cumulatively.
The total tip should not be more than 5% of the hotel tariff.
In case you’re a low budget traveler you might as well avoid the whole idea of tipping.
If you do not find a central tip box you can ask if they have one, or tip one central person at the reception as a tip for everyone.
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You aren’t expected to tip driver at all when the exact route and timing is prespecified for a short period of time. In cases where you rent a car for a day or more for your expedition you could tip around Rs 100 a day for a satisfactory journey.
If the driver gives you good local tips on places to eat, or monuments to visit and does not take you to tourist-trap shops, you could pay a little more.
In India tipping isn’t very prominent by locals but is mostly expected from tourists. We would recommend a higher tip that the above range only when the services are extremely satisfactory or the person goes out of his way to help you!