How much should you tip in India?



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I clearly remember how a westerner tried to tip 10 rupees to a volunteer from INTACH post a Heritage walk in the Chandni Chawk area of Delhi. The volunteer was a History Professor in one of the Delhi colleges. The Professor was embarrassed by the tip offered and he politely refused. He was a well to do volunteer who didn’t need to be tipped!

This clearly was a “Tip Gone Wrong in India” case!

So Should you tip in India?

Tipping in India is not compulsory but tipping Chauffeurs, bellboys, trekking guides & at restaurants is almost customary. If the restaurant has added service charges (not to be confused with service tax) to your bill then you need not pay any additional tip. You definitely do not tip a volunteer.

Clearly, there is more to tipping in India than what I have mentioned above. Let’s explore tipping in India in detail.

While traveling in India, there is a chance that you might be asked to give “Baksheesh”.

Baksheesh is a token amount that should be given as a reward for good service. If you are not happy with the services don’t bother to give a baksheesh.

Since Tipping in India is a way of rewarding good service, it is a baksheesh and there’s no way to say what’s appropriate across the board.

Here is a rough guide to tipping in India. If you feel generous and can afford to do so, don’t hesitate to tip more than the said amount to a deserving individual but remember nobody can ask for a tip as of right in India.

How much do you tip housekeeping in hotels in India?

A bell boy can be tipped around Rs 50 to 100 depending on how heavy and how much luggage you have, a valet can be given around Rs.100 every time he gets your car from parking, and around 50 to 100 per night of your stay is good enough for the housekeeping staff.

In Hotels, bellboys who escort you to your room, get your luggage and show you around the property can be tipped between Rs. 50 to Rs. 100. Tip the same if you request bell staff service while checking out.

Me? I prefer carrying my luggage myself and thus I don’t (have to) pay tip for my luggage.

There will be times when room service personnel will wait at the door for a tip for each and everything they do like bringing in fresh water, replacing toiletries etc. You don’t need to tip them for such services.

If there is a Hotel Courtesy Shuttle Driver (Airport transfer drivers) a tip of Rs 50 to Rs. 100 per person or Rs.350 to Rs.500 per party is a good tip.

A Valet/Parking Attendant can be tipped between Rs.50 to Rs.100 when car is delivered.

If the Doorstaff helps you get a taxi or unloads/uploads your luggage, a tip of Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 is good.

Many hotels have a central tip box. At the time of check out you can leave a tip in the box. In that case you need not pay each person individually.

What is done by the Indians? Most of the Indian tourists prefer to give “baksheesh” at the time of departure to those individuals who made an extra effort to make the guest’s stay comfortable.

How much to tip the helpers at a homestay

The concept of homestays in India has gained immense popularity lately. In a homestay, unless the owner is staying in the same premises, the property is usually looked after by a chawkidar (guard) who is in charge of the property.

Most of the time such care takers are locals. At many places the care taker or his wife does the cooking for the guests.

In such home stays, you can leave a total tip of Rs.300 to Rs.500 for a 3-4 days stay. If there are more than one helper give money to the head helper and tell him to distribute the tip amonsgst all.

You can read more about “What is a Homestay in India & Why Stay at One (with our top 11 recommendations)”.

Do you tip in restaurants in India?

As a general practice, 10% of your total bill is a good tip to leave in restaurants in India. If service charges have been added to your bill, you need not pay any extra tip.

The service tax is a government-levied tax and is fixed in every state of India, at 14 percent.

In recent years, hotels and restaurants in India have started levying service charges which is an extra cost charged by the restaurant, which varies.

The amount of service charge a restaurant levy is usually 10% of the bill, but tax sleuths have found that the service charge is levied on customers after GST is added to the bill.

The Service Charge is supposed to be divided amongst the staff of the restaurant. Therefore, the Service charge is like a ‘forced tip’ that the diner must pay irrespective of the services received.

NOTE: In India, Service charge on hotel and restaurant bills is “totally voluntary” and not mandatory and as a customer, you can refuse to pay it.

I personally do not pay anything over and above the service charges levied but I do pay the service charges and to this date I have not refused to pay the service charges. How about you?

How much do you tip an adventure guide in India?

If you have hired an agent who has provided you the services of a Local Guide and a Porter, the chances are that both the guide and the porter are highly underpaid.

For any trek you will need porters, cook(s) and guide(s). So depending upon the duration, the altitude and the harsh conditions of the trek decide the tip.

For eg., Mount Kanamo is at an altitude of 19600 feet. We were around 10 trekkers in our group. The trek was for around 5 days. Each trekker contributed Rs.1000 so in total an amount of Rs. 10000 was collected.

Going by this logic I would say a tip of Rs 200 per night/trekker is a good tip for the entire staff.

Remember this tip is over and above what you would pay to the porters.

For all my Treks I prefer to carry my own backpack.

Trekkers carrying their own backpacks reduce the number of porters/mules hired on the trail. This means lesser energy consumed, lesser fuel burnt and lesser waste generated. Spending a few thousand extras on a porter does make a trek more luxurious but it greatly increases the ecological impact on the trail (Source).

How much should you tip a private tour guide in India?

If you happen to hire a Guide directly at any Historical Monument in India, pay them the fixed guide charges. You don’t need to tip them in addition.

However, if you are on a group tour or the hotel has provided you with a guide a tip Rs. 100/person is good enough. For a group tour, a tip of Rs 500 for 8 to 10 people is good.

If you are in a group where the guide is a volunteer like the Intach Heritage walks or the walks conducted by the Miranda students at Archaeological sites, you need not to tip them. Instead, you can leave a positive recommendation on their social media pages.

Do you tip uber drivers in india?

No, you don’t need to tip Uber drivers or any other taxi drivers in India. If you are paying cash (and not by Paytm) round up the fare to the nearest multiple of Rs.10.

How much should you tip at a spa?

Personnel at a beauty parlor, spa, and any other individual offering similar personalized services will appreciate a small tip at the end of a job done well.

In India, it is customary to tip the service provider immediately. When in doubt, give a tip of 5% and go up to 10% if you are really happy with the service.

For eg., if you get a pedicure done and the charges for the same are say Rs.500 then you can slip in Rs. 50 in the hands of the person who did your pedicure. After this say you decide to have a head massage also done. If the charges for the same are say Rs. 600, then after your massage you can slip in Rs. 50 to 60 in the hands of the person who did your head massage.

Normally no one tips at the reception counter.

This is a very acceptable and customary practice that Indians do.

Pro-Tips for Tipping in India:

  1. Try to get small change as soon as you land in India. Anything under Rs.100 is a small bill.
  2. Keep Indian notes of denomination 10, 20, 50 & 100 separate in an accessible pocket. That way when you have to tip you are not exposing your wallet full of higher bills.
  3. Beware of porters at Airport and Railway Stations. They will insist in carrying your luggage under the pretext of “helping” you. They will ultimately ask you to pay very high charges. If you want their assistance, fix a price before they lift your luggage. If you don’t want to pay them, tell them politely that you can manage on your own.
  4. In hotels and homestays, preferably leave the tip at the end of the stay.
  5. The messier you are, the more you should tip.
  6. For obvious reasons, do not offer a tip to a policemen or any other government officials.
  7. Tip in Indian currency only. It is ok to leave any other currency in the common tip box kept at the reception of hotels (mostly 5+ Star Hotels).

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