Tipping in India – Is it Customary to Tip in India?

Tipping in India

Famous for its bustling bazaars, ancient temples, and vibrantly flavoured cuisine, it’s easy to see why India often sits at the very top of many explorers’ wish lists. But when it comes to navigating social and cultural norms, it’s important you know what you’re doing before you head to this magical place. To make things easier, the team at Crown Currency Exchange have put together this complete guide to tipping in India, making it easy to avoid any social faux pas and blend in with the locals!

What is the Tipping Culture in India?

As with many other countries, tipping in India varies widely depending on the region and its local customs. Generally speaking, however, tipping is appreciated as a sign of gratitude for good service, but it isn’t mandatory or expected.

However, due to the influence of tourism, tipping is becoming an increasingly common practice. This is especially true in restaurants, where leaving a tip of between 5%-10% of the overall bill is quite a usual thing to do.

Why is Tipping so Common in India?

Why is Tipping so Common in India?

One of the reasons why tipping is so common in India nowadays is because service workers are paid quite low wages, and by earning tips, they are able to supplement their income. In some cases, service providers such as waitstaff and hotel staff rely almost entirely on their tips to bring their earnings up to a level that meets the cost of living.

Another reason why tipping in India has become so common is because the country’s growing tourism industry has influenced tipping customs. As visitors from countries where tipping is second nature visit India and bring their own customs with them, tipping has become more prevalent, especially in popular tourist towns.

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?

As tipping is becoming increasingly common in India, there are several instances in which you should consider leaving a tip if you feel you’ve received good service. These include:

Tipping Waiting Staff

You should tip your waiter following a meal in one of India’s restaurants, as well as any staff working in a cafe. The exception to this rule is where a service charge has already been added to the bill, in which case you are welcome to leave an additional tip, but you aren’t expected to.

What is a Fair Tip for Waiting Staff in India?

Tipping waiting staff around 5%-10% of the total bill is customary in Indian restaurants and cafes. So, should your meal come to ₹5,409 INR ($100 AUD), a tip of ₹540 INR ($10 AUD) would be acceptable.

Tipping Tour Guides

One instance where tipping is becoming increasingly expected is after guided tours, especially if you received a private tour or had a package tailored to what you want to see and do.

What is a Fair Tip for Tour Guides in India?

The typical tip for a tour guide in India is around ₹400 INR ($7.50 AUD). This is for full-day tours, while shorter tours will warrant a small tip.

Tipping Hotel Staff

It is becoming customary to tip in hotels in India, although the only staff members you need to tip are porters, housekeeping staff, and concierge. The amount you’ll tip will also vary, depending on who the recipient is.

What is a Fair Tip for Hotel Staff in India?

For porters, a tip of around ₹20-50 INR ($0.30-$0.90 AUD) per bag is acceptable, while housekeeping staff should be tipped between ₹50-100 ($0.90-$1.80 AUD) per day. The concierge can be tipped whatever you feel is appropriate in line with your request and the service delivered.

Tipping Salon & Spa Staff

Should you feel like getting your hair done or enjoying a relaxing massage while in India, you should also be prepared to tip your stylist or therapist following your treatment.

What is a Fair Tip for Salon & Spa Staff in India?

A tip of around 10%-15% of the total bills is considered fair for salon and spa staff in India. This means if you spend ₹2,700 INR ($50 AUD) on a massage, you should leave a tip of ₹270 INR ($0.50 AUD).

Tipping Taxi Drivers

Tipping taxi drivers is also common in India, especially if they have provided excellent service by helping you with your luggage or getting you to your hotel without hitting any traffic.

What is a Fair Tip for Taxi Drivers in India?

You should tip drivers around 10% of the total fare, although many people choose to round up to the nearest Indian Rupee and then add 10% extra on top of that.

India Tipping Etiquette: How to Give a Tip?

India Tipping Etiquette

As with tipping in most other countries, it’s important to act respectfully and not make a big show of the fact that you’re leaving a tip for the recipient. This can make you seem quite crass in Indian culture, and you also run the risk of embarrassing the person you’re tipping.

So, make sure you act discreetly by handing the tip directly to the service worker. It’s also best to use cash when doing this, as not only is it the preferred method of tipping in India, but it also prevents any additional costs from being charged to your card.

Top Tip: Make sure you have plenty of cash on you when in India to avoid being caught short when you want to leave a tip! You can find the best rates on AUD to INR here.

Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in India?

While you can tip in any of the circumstances we’ve listed above, there are some instances where you don’t need to worry about tipping at all.

The first of these is in places that provide public services, such as hospitals. This is because fees are typically fixed here, and tipping is also not a part of the cultural norm.

You also don’t need to tip when ordering in fast food restaurants, shopping in local markets, or when using public transportation.

Heading to India? Get the Best Rates of Indian Rupees at Crown Currency

Make sure you have plenty of Indian Rupees on you ready to tip with by sorting your spending money before you visit India. Head to Crown Currency Exchange for the best rates on AUD to INR with zero commission fees and no hidden costs. Find your nearest Crown Currency Exchange store here and speak to our expert team today!

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