TIPPING IN INDIA...Yes/No?
Going by the record, “How much shall we tip here?” is one of the most reoccurring questions from travelers on their India tour. Well, India culturally is not a country where people expect tip from you. People offering services are happy getting the amount promised for a service. A tip however, is always appreciated and leaves the person feeling delighted and content in themselves. Tip in India is not considered as a source of earning more, but a pat on one’s shoulder for a good work.
Before understanding How much to tip let us first know Where and Where not to tip India.
PLACES WHERE YOU CAN TIP
Whether you are booked through an experiential travel company like Vedic Walks or any other travel company in India, each organization has a network of hired guides, drivers, booked restaurants and hotels to make the experience of travelers in India hassle free. Tipping a service provider is a token of gratitude and is directly related to the level of your satisfaction with their services.
Tipping at Hotels
We feel that there are a lot more people responsible for making sure that your experience at a hotel is relaxing & worth every penny you have spent for booking your stay. Rather than tipping each individual (who served you), it is suggested to put the consolidate amount in ‘Tipping box’ which is placed at the reception desk of most hotels. Mostly, the tipping amount is distributed among all the staff members from lower level of hierarchy to top management. Tipping amount can vary between 5-10% of average room night of the hotel.
Tipping to Tour Guides
Most guides are paid at par with their daily fee structure set by ‘Tourist guide federations’. However, tipping them is again a subject of your discretion and overall experience you had with them. Taking you for a city sightseeing and visiting few sites is a broad role of a tour guide, however, to what extend the guide kept your engaged and helped you exploring more site and insights of a city can be considered while tipping them toward the end of the tour. Tipping amount for a regular tour can vary between INR 500-1000 per day.
Tipping your Driver
If you have booked a private tour, unlike hotels and guides, your driver is the only service provider who accompanies you through-out your tour and every minute you spend out of your hotel. Most drivers do not own the vehicle they are driving and unlike most countries, driver in India are not paid well enough for the effort this ‘blue collar’ job requires. Having said that, tipping is not an obligation here as well. However, if you do plan to tip, you can consider some of the aspects like punctuality, knowledge, car cleanliness & hygiene. Tipping amount can vary between INR 700-1200 per day.
""Remember tipping is something which is your personal choice as per one’s pocket size. It is entirely your call on whom and how much you want to tip. Your happiness with the services of a particular place and person is what you can feel and compute; hence it is just for a rough Idea on how much you should be tipping""
WHERE TO AVOID TIPPING IN INDIA
It can be quite confusing to know where and where not to tip in India. Again tipping is entirely an individual’s choice but we suggest avoiding tipping people for below instances.
Random walk on the street and capturing life of local culture & people can only be good when they do it willingly without expecting a reward for their act.
Being associated with non-profits on grass route level, we at Vedic Walks never suggest to tip for your brief visit to NGOs (Unless you are associated with them or sure about their work). Rather, we do not promote visit of NGO unless you plan to bring your skills/expertise and share it with the beneficiaries and willing to ‘work’ rather than just ‘visit’.
It is disheartening to see how many organizations promote visit to rural sites without considering benefits/drawbacks of such visit on the locals. Tipping villagers only bring commercialization around that area and soon this turns into a scene where tourists are surrounded by dozen of locals asking for tip. It is highly recommended not to tip in rural areas unless anyone is engaged in offering any service to you.
Hawkers / Beggars
We believe, it is equally important for travelers to respect what a country (they are travelling to) is fighting against. India, for long has been fighting against poverty and corruption. Tipping hawkers and beggars not only enslave them to keep doing the same thing all their life but also does not bring any motivation in them to change their life or set example for their children.
""Vedic Walks organize a lot of its workshops with community of craftsmen and artists in rural areas. Simply thanking them with a smile is enough. When a traveler goes along the program, one might feel the urge to tip as a way of expressing gratefulness but we do not encourage the idea of tipping people on your site visits or workshops. Instead one can purchase an item as a way of appreciation of the artwork and services."'
TIPPING IN CASH OR KIND?
Cash has somehow become a global tipping standard for most of us. However, there are a lot of us who do not like to tip in cash and then comes the question ‘how can I show my gratitude without tipping?’. Souvenirs are one of the best ways of tipping someone in kind by not evaluating their effort with money but with emotions. Bringing little souvenirs from your country like pen, key-chains, bottle openers, magnets, chocolates, etc. are some of the very fine rewards you can offer to service providers and friendly locals as a token of gratitude.
If you do prefer to 'Tip in cash' but you are not comfortable doing it yourself, ask you tour operator in India to include 'Tipping' in your program price and make sure that all individuals engaged in making your program a success, should get share of this amount from the tour operator.
""Being a Responsible travel company, we felt need of sharing our views on this subject as there is very limited information on tipping in India available for people travelling to India"
For more information on Responsible tour of India & best things to do in Rajasthan, please visit www.vedicwalks.com or www.vedicexperiences.com