All our guests and indeed anyone we
speak to generally asks us what the ‘regulations’ are on tipping in a
country such as India. We have decided to publish an article for you
so that you get an idea of what is expected, what should be done, what
we recommend and the general situation.
Take note that all recommendations below are completely at your
discretion and the difference between someone "expecting" a tip and
‘appreciating’ a tip is great. Although tips are important, people in
India generally have a good work ethic and won’t push for extra money.
We think you should always keep a few 5rupee or 10rupee notes to hand.
In a Restaurant
With any bill less than 300 or 400 INR then usually you can tip around
10% of this.
If your bill is up to 1000 INR then again, between 7 and 10% is
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.
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…
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
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.
If your driver is only doing airport transfers, around 30-50INR is
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
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.
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 we 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.
Travelers take note:
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. We try to encourage this because it singles out the better
guides/drivers/workers/hotels and thus makes tourism in India more
complete and welcoming.