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Tipping In India - Few Tipping Tips To Follow When In India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Debapriya Deb, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Tipping in India, or for that matter in any part of the world, can be a tricky affair. India doesn't have a traditional tipping culture, although it is witnessing a change of trends with the tourist influx from the European countries - especially in the popular tourism circuits. In the present day India, it is looked upon as a courtesy to offer tips for a certain kind of services, but that doesn't hold good for all the services and situations. And that's where all the confusions arise.

    While most of us would agree that it's a well-deserved practice to convey your gratitude for a particular service by offering a tip, it does get confusing at times. When it is appropriate and when not - is a daunting question that can have different answers based on the place in concern, the type of service offered or the mindset of the person who is offering the service. Moreover, another awkward perspective of tipping is to figure out what should be the appropriate amount of tip to offer.

    To cut short all such tipping confusions when you are visiting India, here's a comprehensive guideline on the tipping etiquette expected of you from purely an Indian perspective. All you need to do is to ensure that you are following these guidelines while tipping in India.

    Tipping in India at Airports and Railway Stations:

    You are not expected to offer any tips for using the public services at an airport or a railway station. However, when you are taking help of a porter or need some value added service (for example a wheel-chair for yourself or a co-passenger you are accompanying), then you may offer a small tip to the person who is bringing you the service. INR 30 to INR 100 can be a decent amount depending upon how satisfied you are with the service. In case of a porter who is carrying your luggage for a fee, the tip amount can be around 10% of the actual agreed upon cost.

    Offering Tip to a Taxi Driver in India:

    It depends on the kind of trip you have undertaken. For just pick-up and drop, there is no need to pay any tip on top of the actual taxi fare. But if you are using a single taxi to hop-in and hop-out at multiple places and there is waiting time involved between the stops, then tipping does make sense. In such cases, you can offer around INR 100 to INR 200 as tip at the end of your day's journey.

    In-case you have rented out a taxi for multiple days, then there is no need to pay tips on a day-to-day basis. You should, however, offer a tip when you are making the final payment. 100 bucks per day is a decent amount, but if you have hired the vehicle for longer than a week, then you may decide to pay a lump-sum amount of around INR 500 for the entire trip.

    Tipping in India at the Hotels:

    Tipping in Indian hotels is not absolutely necessary as they are already collecting service charges in your total bill amount. If you are a budget traveller, then you may probably do without paying a tip in hotel.

    If you are impressed by the service and want to share a token of gratitude in the form of a tip, then it should ideally be deposited in a central tip box, if the hotel provides such an arrangement. A tip of 5% - 10% of the total tariff is a good amount to pay as tip in Indian hotels. In-case the hotel doesn't have a centralized tip box provision, then you may choose to pay the room service boy. It's absolutely not necessary to offer a tip every time you request for a service. Instead, it's a better practice to offer the tip right before your departure.

    Additionally, if you feel that any particular hotel staff has gone out of his way to help you out, then you can encourage him by offering a tip in front of other staff members. If the guy is not available at the time of check out, then walk up to the manager, convey your message and leave a tip for him.

    Paying a Tip in an Indian Restaurant:

    Restaurants in India often add a 'Service Charge' to the final bill. Don't mix this up with 'Service Tax'. Service Tax is a Government imposed tax which is fixed and mandatory, while Service Charge is more of an in-built tipping system.

    So check your final bill to find out whether you have already been charged for the service offered. If service charge is included in the bill, there is absolutely no need to leave any additional tip. Otherwise, you can offer a tip in the range of 5% to 10% of the final bill amount. For take-aways and self-service food joints, there is no need to leave any tip.

    Tipping a Tourist Guide in India:

    Typically a tourist guide is offering you his services for a certain amount of money, so he should not expect an added bonus unless he is providing you with something that is beyond his responsibilities. Still, the guides in India do expect a tip - almost always. Whether that's right or wrong is a different debate altogether, but if you honestly feel that the guy has genuinely tried his best to satisfy your quest, then it is fully worth encouraging his effort with a small tip.

    The tip amount entirely depends on what you feel about the offered service and how satisfied you are with it. INR 20 - INR 50 is good enough tip for a short guided tour to a particular place of interest. But if it's a longer duration trip, may be for a day or two, then you can probably offer him a tip in the range of 10% - 15% of the agreed upon charges.

    The Final Words on Tipping in India

    Whenever you are in any sort of confusion about tipping in a particular situation, it is a wise idea to be frank and straightforward. Let the person know that you are happy with his/her service and you would like to offer him/her a token of appreciation in the form of cash. Offer him a tip only if he/she is willing to accept it.

    Always keep it in mind that India being such a diversified nation, there are cultural differences among people from different parts of the country. There are people who may not appreciate a monetary tip, but would gladly accept a small memento or souvenir from you. So don't try to force your tip on someone who is not willing to accept it. It may hurt his/her cultural sentiments. A good idea is to observe what the fellow tourists are doing and then decide your course of action accordingly.

    The above mentioned headings cover most of the probable tipping areas when you are visiting India. The amounts mentioned in this article are only suggestive, you may offer a higher tip if you think a particular service deserves more. Hope the article helps in clearing some of the common misconceptions about tipping in India.

    The final and the most important tip - use your own discernment and tip wisely - and you should be perfectly alright during your India trip.

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    Wanderlust and Steve Dawson like this.

  2. integrity101

    integrity101 Member

    Thanks for this enlightening post. I've never really thought of how much exactly I should tip. I just do it spontaneously which is probably why I occasionally get some strange disapproving looks after I give my seemingly generous tip.

  3. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    Thats a great guide. Even though I've spent a large amount of time in India, and have been many times, I never quite understood the tipping culture in India. The cultures who all live there are sometimes so diverse that Its hard for a foreigner to understand all the finer points of some social situations.
    Debapriya Deb likes this.
  4. knitmehere

    knitmehere Member

    I guess I don't really think about it when I'm outside of the US. I tend to just tip the same way that I do here, and they can deny the money if they would like to do so. I've never really had any problems with anyone seeming offended.