Our guide on Tips and Tipping in India
Our advice on how to leave tips in India – is based on speaking to Indian
friends of ours and our own experiences on tipping. As one Indian official said to us over tipping does not do anyone any favours as it leads people to expect they can receive these high rates from all tourists.
The first rule when leaving a tip India is do NOT calculate the value of the tip in your own currency.
You need to work out the value of the Rupee or a better way to do this, is to calculate the buying power of the rupee compared to your own currency, before even considering leaving a tip. Do this away from an up market or tourist location, as these will often be charging you at western rates which can be as much as ten times what ordinary Indian will pay of the streets. We suggest that you look at the price of a cup of tea or coffee in rupees and equate this to your own currency. What would would a cup of tea cost you back home, what does it cost in India?
In 2009 we can purchase a cup of tea for 5 Rupees a cup of coffee for 10 Rupees, a main course meal for anything from 50 to 85 rupees. The pound buys 70 Rupees In Britain a cup of tea or coffee will cost 2 pounds a meal will cost anything from 8 to 12+ pounds. So the buying power of the Rupee is at least ten times and more of the pound equivalent. We operated on 10 Rupees having the same purchasing power as a pound.
We asked the young receptionist in our hotel and she said leave 10 or 20 Rupees is plenty for most tips. Think of 10 rupees as one pound sterling and 100 rupees as 10 pounds sterling equivalent.
In Agra we purchased some fruit from a vendor away from the tourist frequented locations. We purchased a huge bunch of bananas for 40 rupees, a kilo of oranges for 60 rupees and a Papaya for 30 rupees. (See photo). This demonstrates the buying power of the rupee compared to the pound sterling.
It is important to have a sensible policy for tipping and when to leave tips in India.