Tipping In IndiaCreated by Harsh Sonawala,
Last Updated on September 29, 2023
India is a confusing country, and tipping in India is a big question for travellers. We at India Someday have now planned nearly 2000+ trips for people travelling to India. Our expertise has helped us put together a rough guide on tipping in India in various circumstances. This article tells you how much you should be tipping in India depending on the situation or service (like at restaurants, hotel staff and your car drivers). If you do need help with planning your trip, we are happy to help you with candid advice and our own travel experience.
The currency in India, commonly known as the Indian Rupee (INR) (Photo Credit – Shameer Pk)
TIPPING IN India AT A RESTAURANT
India has some great food and you can choose from street food stalls and small restaurants, to high-end experiences. Each of them have a distinctly different tipping etiquette, making tipping in India at restaurants a bit of a confusing challenge.
For street food, no tipping is required. When you pay for a small meal, breakfast or a snack that costs less than INR 300, a 10% tip is appreciated. If you have small bills handy, you can tip in multiples of 10 Rupee notes.
On bills ranging from INR 300 to INR 1,000, you can tip around 7% to 10% of the bill amount. For example, a tip of INR 100 on an INR 1,000 bill is a very good tip. You can also tip about INR 70 and that would be fine. On bill amounts above INR 1,000, a tip of 5% to 7% is sufficient.
Restaurants now often include a ‘service charge’, not to be confused with ‘service tax’ (which is a government-levied tax). No tip is expected if this type of charge is levied. It’s normally capped at 10%.
Fine-Dining Restaurants in India are quite swanky (Photo Credit – Blake Wisz)
TIPPING in India AT HOTELS
In general, hotels have a vast staff that you don’t necessarily get to meet or cross paths with. For that reason, we do always recommend leaving a tip for the entire staff. On average you can tip INR 100 per person/per night at the homestays or hotels you are staying at. So, 2 adults staying in Delhi for 3 nights can tip 2 adults * 3 nights * 100 = INR 600 (Note: Exclude restaurant tips from the general tips to the hotel). Normally at the reception, you would find a central tip box or you can ask if they have one. If not, then tip one central person at the reception and indicate you want it to go to everyone in the staff. If you are young budget travellers/backpackers and want to tip even lower for hotel rooms, you can.
Homestays and B&Bs will usually bill you for meals and extra services at the end so you can tip them then. Do let them know this tip is for the staff, who do the cooking, cleaning etc. Always leave the tip at the end of the stay. Again, a little more than INR 100 per person/per night is enough. Additionally, in India, there will be times when bellboys (individuals who will carry your luggage to your room) wait for a tip at the door. In these cases, you can give them a small tip of INR 10 to 20.
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A beautiful hotel in Kochi, Kerala, offering spectacular views
TIPPING CAR HIRES AND GUIDES
Pick up/drops and day tours
When you are being picked up from an airport/railway station or just being dropped off at an airport/railway station you can tip INR 50 to 100.
If you have a car for a day touring the city, depending on your happiness with the service you can tip between INR 200 to 400. Base this on whether he gave you good local tips on places to eat or monuments to visit and whether he avoided tourist traps.
Tipping in India can be bypassed if you take a taxi or a tuk-tuk (rickshaw) from point A to point B after a rate has been negotiated. If you’re interested in more info in relation to tuk-tuks, check this guide out.
Multiple day car hire or guide
Many of our trips include multiple-day car hires with their own drivers, who accompany you anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.
Base your tip on the number of passengers in this instance:
For 1 or 2 passengers, tip between INR 300 to INR 600 per day. So if you had a driver for four days and were very happy you can tip him INR 2,400.
For 3 to 5 passengers, then tip between INR 500 to INR 800 per day.
There have been instances when our drivers have absolutely delighted our guests. The driver has taken them to their village or house, told great stories, and overall taken great care of them. Do feel free to tip above this guideline if you feel like your driver deserves it. There is absolutely no issue with that!
You should tip a guide between INR 100 to INR 300 per day. This depends on your level of satisfaction with the guided tour. If it is a group tour then per person INR 50 to INR 100 is a fair tip.
In terms of tipping guides for a more personalized tour, it really depends on how happy you were with the tour and the service. We suggest a wider price range of INR 300 to INR 1,000 (happy to absolutely delighted).
Travelling in an auto rickshaw is a total must for an authentic Indian experience
Tipping in India: TO KNOW
While tipping in India isn’t necessarily a cultural tradition, people expect you to tip in most of the tourist towns. We do recommend tipping at various instances as explained above, but tip higher only when you are very happy with the service. For a more general look at budgeting for your trip to India, this link is a good place to start.
We also encourage tipping higher than the range specified depending on your satisfaction level. This could be in cases where an individual went out of his way for you or in general, you feel like the service was excellent and the increase is more than deserved.
Explore More: Assessing the Monetary Aspects of Traveling in India
We recommend tipping at various places depending on your satisfaction level (Photo Credit – Dan Smedley)
If you are in the planning process or are thinking about a trip to India, or it’s already planned but need some help with it, do let us know and we can help you plan your trip.