Is tipping customary in India?
Yes, it's customary to tip in India. While travelling through India, on a tour or otherwise, travellers are generally expected to tip porters, drivers, restaurant staff and other service workers given the low wages they earn. Some restaurant bills will have a service fee added, but otherwise, a tip of 10–15 per cent of the bill is considered reasonable. For luggage porters, a small tip of USD 0.50 or so should suffice, and USD 2–3 for a private driver or tour guide each day. The tipping amounts we've mentioned above are guidelines, but you're more than welcome to tip more if you're extremely happy with a service – there are no doubts it'll be warmly welcomed!
Using a group kitty to tip
If you're travelling in a group or on an organised tour, your local leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty on the first day of your trip. In a group tipping kitty, everybody contributes an equal amount of cash at the start of the tour that your leader uses to tip drivers, local guides and hotel staff on your behalf as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent, which can be checked at any time. Any cash remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members.
A kitty is often the easiest way to avoid the hassle of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty is optional, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.
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