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How much money should I give as a tip to a hotel boy in Mumbai / India, for carrying my luggage or to reception girl or restaurant waiter, for being generally nice and helpful? What amount is best to not offend recipient (with to low amount) and in the same time to not make him uncomfortable (with to high amount)?

I started tipping them with 100 INR per each tip. My friend said, that he is giving 50 INR. However, after comparing this to local market prices (20 INR per short rickshaw ride or 150+ INR for burger at Burger King), I feel like 50 INR is way too low amount.

Please note, that answers like "Nothing, this is part of their job and salary" are not interesting for me and please do not put answers like that.

Is there any "uncomfortable" amount at all? Can I give 1000 INR extra for the whole stay (week), if I feel really generous or would that be received like something wrong?

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    "Please note, that answers like 'Nothing, this is part of their job and salary' are not interesting for me and please do not put answers like that." - And yet, how can you avoid such answers. In places (like NA) where tip amounts/ratios are prescribed, it is because prices are not inclusive of staffing costs, and you are paying the staff for the service. Where the staff are paid for doing their job, then a tip is a gesture of personal appreciation, and only you can say how much their service is worth to you. – CMaster Mar 15 '16 at 16:17
  • @CMaster But there's a difference between, let's say in the US, with tipping the hotel maid $1-2 per day and $20 per day. I might do the latter (or more) for a cleaning up after a sick kid or for a lot of trash. $1000 tip if I were a rock star. – mkennedy Mar 15 '16 at 16:52
  • If you see service charge included in the bill, you dont need to tip. Usually about 5% is acceptable. – pbu Mar 30 '16 at 13:14
  • An answer like "Nothing, this is part of their job and salary" COULD be very appropriate since there are regions and countries in the world where tipping is considered RUDE or confusing. – rackandboneman Nov 2 '16 at 11:28
  • @rackandboneman Sure thing. And this question aims to get answer, if India is one of such regions? So we can eliminate "could" from this equation. – trejder Nov 3 '16 at 17:53
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India doesn't have a strong tipping culture. Still tourists are used to tip there, especially when they had a good service. And to be honest, this is a general trend in the vast majority of countries around the world. When you have received a good service, you are encouraged to tip. This is a way to show your appreciation and also to make those people life a bit better. This also encourage them to deliver good service to other tourists. 10 years ago, it was pretty different but with the explosion of tourism in a lot of countries, tipping has quickly become something that is expected and widely accepted.

Now with regards to the amount! This is a key point. You should tip between 3% and 10% of the overall amount. So if this is something "expensive", you'll usually pay around 3-5% and if this is cheap, more around 7-10% (for instance 70 to 100 INR for a 1,000 INR bill).

Then your comment is right, you should also take into consideration the salary. In India, depending on the region, the level of seniority and the grade of the restaurant/hotel, the staff is paid between 7.000 INR and 15.000 INR per month.

So for instance, if someone helps you with your luggage. Let's say that you have 2 large pieces and bring them to your home. If this takes 10 minutes, you could tip him 20-40 INR.

I recently wrote a post about tipping in different countries. It isn't specific to India but you'll find there some good tipping practices.

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    Thank for the great answer. However, it is quite hard to establish tip size basing on your percentage values, if I'm not paying anything (as I don't know, what is the overall amount of carrying baggage to the room or being generally nice and helpful). If you can't be more specific, can you at least extend your answer with a typical monthly salary of hotel boy / room boy and hotel receptionist (I'm staying in 3-4 star hotel, stil not too close to Hilton etc.)? This could be a good stand point for a possible comparison. Thank you in advance. – trejder Mar 15 '16 at 17:26
  • Here is an India specific guide for tipping : indiatravelforum.in/threads/… – PSC775 Apr 10 '16 at 17:27
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Many of the people doing service jobs at this income scale make less than 10000 Rupees / month. I often give 100 Rupee tips for drivers / waiters / hotel workers for routine tasks and 300-500 for unusual or very good work. This practice seems to be appreciated and rarely makes anyone act uncomfortable.

  • But, your answer still suggests (correct me, if I'm wrong), that giving a hotel worker 1000 rupee (10% of their monthly salary) for just being nice and helpful (but with no unusual or extra work done) could be misinterpreted as too generous. Am I right? – trejder Mar 31 '16 at 6:05
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    Yes, I think so. I have never seen someone give such a large tip, but if you do so once in awhile for a special reason, there's probably no harm. – Ru887321 Apr 3 '16 at 11:07

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