Tipping Basics for Your Trip to India

Whether you're traveling to India to experience historical sites such as the Taj Mahal, check out the bustling markets of Delhi, or partake in a peaceful yoga retreat, it's important to have an understanding of how to tip. The amount that's appropriate to tip—and whether you should tip for common services at all—has some similarities and differences to tipping in the United States; a basic knowledge of the approach you should take helps ensure that you meet the country's etiquette rules while also helping you avoid overspending. Here are some general rules.

Taxis And Travel

TripAdvisor recommends that you shouldn't feel obligated to tip taxi drivers in India, as doing so isn't customary. However, if you use a tour guide to drive you around the city, About.com suggests tipping as much as 200 rupees for the entire day; if you use the driver for half a day, aim for closer to 100 rupees. During your travel, you'll often encounter baggage handlers at the airport and hotel. It's appropriate to tip those who assist you with your luggage about 20 rupees per item. As is conventional in the United States, if you do not wish to tip for this service, it's best to hang onto your luggage yourself.

Dining Out

If you're used to tipping between 15 and 20 percent of the bill when you dine at a restaurant in the US, it's best to change this approach when you travel to India. There, it's proper etiquette to tip closer to 10 percent of the bill, notes About.com. Always check to see if the restaurant has added a gratuity to the bill; if this is the case, it's not necessary to give an additional tip. Many upscale restaurants in India have washroom attends whom you should tip a maximum of five rupees, according to travel writer Chris Chopp. He also advocates tipping one to two rupees if you buy food from street vendors.

Tips For Tipping

It's helpful to carry low-denomination bills while you travel in India to allow you tip the desired amount and to do so in a timely manner. Tip with a smile and a genuine expression of thanks. As with all travel, it's best to avoid flashing large sums of money or walking around with a stack of bills visible. India tourists must also get used to the number of street beggars asking tourists for money. You're under no societal pressure to tip such people, as they haven't provided a service.