Tipping in India
Tipping in India
We get asked a lot on how much to tip in India at different instances. This can be used as rough guide on how much you should be tipping in India and at which instances.
Tipping after meals at a restaurant
If eating a small meal, breakfast or snack with bill amounts less than INR 300, then a 10% tip is expected/appreciated. If you have small bills handy, you can tip in multiples of INR 10 notes.
On bill amounts ranging between INR 300 to INR 1000, you can tip around 7% to 10% of bill amount. For example an INR 100 tip on an INR 1000 bill is a very good tip, you can also tip about INR 70 and that would be fine.
On bill amounts above INR 1000, tip amount of INR 5 to 7% is sufficient.
Restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai often charge a ‘service charge’, not to be confused with ‘service tax’ (which is a government levied tax). When a ‘service charge’ is levied no tip is expected.
Tipping at hotels
Tipping at hotels in India is slightly confusing and annoying at times.
As a rule we encourage whenever possible i.e. you see a central tip box then tip cumulatively. Cumulative tip should be between 5 to 7% of the hotel tariff per night into number of days.
So if you are at a hotel that is INR 2000 a night and staying for 3 nights, then you should tip about INR 300 – 400 overall. When staying at expensive hotels reduce this to between 3 to 5% of tariff amount.
*Exclude restaurant tips from tips to hotels.
*If you do not find a central tip box you can ask if they have one, or tip one central person at the reception and indicate this is a tip for everyone.
**If you are young budget travelers, you can tip lower or avoid tipping at hotel rooms.
Why tipping at hotels can be annoying?
Not as a rule, but often bell boys will wait outside your room expecting for a tip. If you ask for a small task from room service, the staff might wait outside the door expecting a tip. More so, when there is no central tip box.
We recommend avoiding tipping individually. This might mean telling a bell boy a polite thank you with a smile and walking away.
If in an uncomfortable situation, small notes INR 10 to INR 30 are a good tip for small tasks.
Tipping multiple day car hire drivers, day car hire drivers and transfers from airport or taxis
At instances of Airport transfers you can tip between about INR 30 – 50.
If you rent a car for a day to tour the city, depending on how happy you were with his service you can tip between INR 100 – 250. Base this of if he gave you good local tips on places to eat, or monuments to visit. Did not take you tourist-trap shops.
If you take a taxi or a tuk-tuk (rickshaw) between point a to point b after deciding rate, a tip is usually not expected on these instances.
When you have a driver over multiple days, you should tip him between INR 150 – INR 300 per day. Again base this on how happy you were with his service and local knowledge.
You should tip a guide between INR 100 to INR 300 per day depending on happy you were with their guided tour. If this is a personalized tour. If it is group tour INR 30 – INR 50 is a fair tip.
Good to know
While India, culturally does not have a strong tipping tradition. In most of the tourist towns tips are expected and frowned upon when not offered at all.
We do recommend tipping at various instances as explained above, but tip higher only when you are very happy with the service.
We also encourage tips higher than the range specified if you feel an individual went out of his way to help you and you extremely satisfied.