Now that you have your bags packed and your visa in hand, you’re all set to visit India, and you may need some tips on tipping while you’re visiting this inspiring country and its friendly people. As a rule, to tip in India for service is not so much a given as a gesture of appreciation for a job well done. As a people, Indians did not have a strong tipping culture, that is until foreign visitors started to make it more of a norm in the country. Tips in India are usually referred to as “baksheesh,” a word of Persian origin, which may be often requested, and you should feel free to refuse at will.
The norm for tipping in India is no more than 10 percent. It is important to have your baksheesh easily accessible but separate from your larger currency notes, so as not to tempt thievery.
Tipping taxis or drivers
Feel free to offer for Tuk-tuk or taxi drivers to keep the change when paying their fee, although chances are they will refuse this gratuity and certainly do not expect one. For airport transfers, it would be fine to tip 150 to 200 rupees.
Tipping in restaurants
This very much depends also on the type of restaurant you find yourself in. When tipping at a roadside stall, leaving the change will suffice. In a restaurant, the bill might itemize a service tax. Do not make the common mistake of thinking that this is instead of a tip. It is not. This goes to the government and not to the wait staff. If you see Service Charges, this is the gratuity, but it may not land in the pocket of your wait staff either. The service charge is to be used at the discretion of the restaurant management. Feel free to adjust your gratuity according to the level of service you received relevant to this service charge. Should no service charge appear on your bill, adding a tip of 5 to 10% at a restaurant indicates exemplary service received.
Tipping in hotels
Depending on the hotel, some prefer guests deposit their tips in a receptacle for that purpose rather than giving out personal gratuities. Generally speaking, tip bellboys at least 140 rupees per bag, and porters and the concierge according to the service provided. If you do not require assistance, please make this obvious, or you will be expected to tip for services you did not want in the first place.
Tipping guides and tour operators
Tour guides and operators do expect a tip for good service, unlike tuk-tuk drivers. Expect to part with between 200 and 400 rupees for a day tour.
When tipping, regardless of who or where it is suggested that it be done subtly so as not to attract attention. Employees may have their tips uplifted if their employers are aware of it, and as the tip is a gratuity for the actual service provider, this is not ideal.