Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tips for Tipping in India

Tipping in India is known as ‘baksheesh’. In India, two types of tipping are popular. In one way of tipping, you can pay after you are provided with the services. In the other way of tipping, you can tip beforehand itself to ensure that you are provided good services. Usually in the hotels, the room service attendants and porters are tipped when the guests are leaving the place after their stay. There is however, no fixed amount of tip for anything. This is a way of rewarding a person for his services. You can also call it gratuity or compensation. But, whatever you call it, tipping is largely a voluntary act and as such there is no fixed rule of how much you will need to tip a staff for his/her services. On top of that, the amount of money you are to give as tip depends on the kind of services rendered and also the kind of establishment.

Usually in the restaurant in India, the waiters are tipped around 10-15 percent of what the bill sums up to. Generally, in the restaurants of prestigious hotels a 10 percent service surcharge is appended to the total bill amount. Tipping in these places resides completely on the discretion of the guests. However, the tip is not added with the bill in the smaller restaurants. You can give tips to the waiter depending on how pleased you are with the quality of service.

Tipping is not such a common scene in the taxis and three-wheelers of India though, as much as it is in the hotels and restaurants. This again rests on the discretion of the travelers. But, a 10 percent of the fare is considered enough. You may even consider leaving the change if you wish to tip at all. If you hire a car for a full day service, then Rs. 50-100 a day is good enough to tip the driver, considering the distance traveled. Porters at the railway stations of India can be tipped some Rs. 5-10 per bag. But, do make sure you have bargained the rate beforehand. If you stay at someone’s place as guest, you can surely ask your hosts before tipping their domestic help.

Tips for different services–

•    Car hire – for a full day hire – Rs15-20
•    Car hire – for a long stretch of 2 or more days with same driver – Rs 50-60
•    Restaurant – if not a local restaurant – Rs 15-20
•    Star restaurant in a 5 star hotel – Rs 50-100 (depending on the service)
•    Hotel stay – Normal hotel – Rs 15-20
•    Star Hotel – Rs 50-100

Tipping is purely voluntary and only when you are pleased with the services you reward the service provider. This is not a mandatory act and you are not bound to tip everywhere even when the services do not live up to your expectations. It is just a way of showing your appreciation for the good services.