How to Tip like a Pro in India
Remember the best trip of your life? Remember how everything was just perfect with pin point precision? What a great time, right? (Glad you’re in a good mood by now).
But what makes a trip great? Maybe we don’t realize sometimes, but there are people like Driver, Valet, Guide, Waiter, Porter; syncing the gears for us in the best possible way, knowing that there might not be a compensation for that. But because they deserve it, we Tip them. Tipping is actually a way of appreciating the services offered and shows that you hold a high opinion of what they offered. If you were not satisfied with their services, there is no point of Tipping.
Remember: It’s a token of appreciation, not an obligation.
India is one such destination where you’d find yourself in a moral dilemma regarding tipping because in most of the countries, tipping has some common implications. But India has its own way in everything. Many tourists are often confused how much to Tip in India. Here’s a quick insight in the same regard, so that you neither end up tipping more than you should, nor leaving anyone disappointed:
From Airport to your Hotel room, you have to include the Porter, Cab driver and the Room Service Guy in the consideration for tipping. To be honest, you don’t have to tip the pick-up cab driver. It is included in the bill you’re going to pay anyway.
In case of Porter, although not really necessary, but in case you want to, don’t go shoving big notes in their pockets; Rs. 20 INR would suffice.
The Room Service Guy has the most crucial role in making your stay comfortable. A good room service guy is like Alfred to your Batman. But then, don’t go tipping every errand they run for you. In case of a 5-star hotel, 3% of the accommodation charges at the time of Checking-out would be enough and legit. In a 3-star and below rating hotel, Rs. 100 INR is quite much for the guy. Beyond that, practice your free will.
Among all the people involved, your guide is the one who is responsible to get you to see the best of what’s around. It is they who take you to the best eateries, avail the best photo opportunities and site-seeing. They form a big part of the memories you cherish. Hence, at least 10% of what he’s charging you, shall be Tipped.
Private car with Driver
Your Driver is the person you totally depend upon while travelling. Most of the times, the driver is the local guy and hence, also acts like a guide. The more they know, the more you see. Taking breaks for snacks, stopping at scenic spots for a moment, taking the detour; it is all possible if your driver co-operates. And these things do matter when you’re the type who likes to customize their trip as per their suitability. This is how your ‘Driver is Important’. The same applies to a Houseboat Captain if you’re sailing in a boat.
When touring around by a private vehicle with driver, a tip of Rs. 80-100 INR/day per person would suffice. If the group is more than 5 people, we would advise to Tip lesser: Rs. 50-80 INR/day per person.
Tipping in a restaurant depends upon how much your bill is. The standard tip for Waiters, around the world, is 10% of what you incurred. However, it is advised to tip not more than Rs. 100 INR if you are in moderately priced restaurant. Also, you need to check whether any service charge has been included in the bill. Don’t confuse it with service tax. Service tax is the cut you give to the government, whereas the service charge is actually the tip waiters deserve. You can even refuse to pay the service charge if you are not satisfied with the service and you have valid reasons for that. If you’re paying the service charge, then there’s no need to tip at all.
In Standard Lavish Restaurants, you can follow the same universal tipping rule of 10%.
There are times when the food is so good, you feel like kissing the Chef. Go ahead, but make sure you do that along with a nice tip; at least double the waiter’s.
Activities are numerous in India. Few like Camel riding, Elephant riding, Boating and so on are not very pricy ones. So keep in mind while you tip; don’t tip more than Rs. 20. In case you’re extra generous, buy some fruits or food for the camel or elephant, with the animal owner’s permission.
Adventure Sports do cost more than usual activities, but then there is no point of tipping here, because you’re not exactly getting a service here. So, tip as you like.
When you go to India, the urge to visit a temple is inevitable. There is a term called “Chadhaawa” (offering) that you give to the priest of the temple in the form of some money. No matter what they tell you, don’t give away more than Rs. 50.
In India, you’ll find a beggar at almost every traffic light. And you might feel compelled to give them money, but trust us you don’t always have to because some are beggars by choice. You can give some money (Rs. 5-10INR) to the needy ones with disabilities or amputations. And if you really feel compelled to do that, there are Non Profit Organizations in India for their welfare. You can donate there.
Bargaining in India is an art. And if you could master it, you’d save a lot of money. And the concrete fact about Indian markets is that, unless a product has a price printed on it, there’s always a wide scope of bargaining; about 10-70%. You might be shocked to hear that, but it’s a routine for Indian people.
The Process of Bargaining in India goes like this:
Roam around the place and get an estimate of the item you want to buy. Then approach the shop and check out the item you want to buy. You have to look like you don’t really like it. Then ask for the price and make a sad face. (This step can be skipped). Suggest your proposal regarding the price and make it final. Try to convince him for about 5 minutes and then start walking away like you can’t afford it. The shopkeeper would start calling you from behind. Just wait for him to finally accept the proposed price. Most probably you’ll win the deal. This procedure works in 80% cases. Some people just don’t fold under any circumstances. You can bargain at almost everything except food.
If you believe in Tipping, it may infer that you’re a grateful person and understand the human values. But always be careful about Tipping so that you don’t end up disturbing your plans. A well prepared plan shall also consider Tipping if you believe appreciating one’s service is something that you’re always feel compelled to do, as it is equally important to realize that good deeds deserve a good overall effect.