How Does Tipping Work In India?

The Short Answer

Tipping wait staff at higher end restaurants, porters, hotel staff, drivers and guides is a fairly common practice in India though not obligatory. Most restaurant bills will include a service charge, but if not, a 10% tip is customary.

The Long Answer

This is a fairly simple question, so there is not much to elaborate on here. It does however permit me to share a deeply held value of Project Mehrauli. Often in our travels we can tend towards a consumerist bent. While there is a financial benefit to people of the host country, we believe in giving respect and honor to those who act as our hosts. So how do we do this? Humbly we are seeking ways to give back to our community, whether that be in our Social Impact or locally oriented business practices. Daily we are seeking ways to do this better, working to restore the honor of this historic neighbor by shedding light onto its people and sites or caring for broken down places. How do you as a traveler do this? Tipping is a minor way of communicating respect and honor. One of our guides received a hefty tip from an American tourist. Though it possessed a high financial value, he chose not to spend it because this money represents a tangible piece of kindness acknowledging his work. Beyond this is paying respect to the religious and cultural practices of the local people. This is not forcing you to believe what they believe but acknowledges their dignity and worth. A guest can do this in a few basic ways:

- Dressing in manner similar to locals

- Removing shoes at religious sites

- Being an active learner

This will create a more exciting experience for you. It will gain you entry in to different sites. And by conveying respect, the locals will be more eager to open up to you. Through this respect you will be able to form a deeper connection and elevate your time in India beyond that of just your average sightseer.


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