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How Much to Tip Your Driver in India: My Experience With 'Tipping Batta'
Upon embarking on a road trip in India where you hire a car and driver, don't forget that you'll need to tip your driver. My boyfriend and I managed to overlook the tipping thing as we planned a 10-day trip through Rajasthan, India but our loss is your gain because we wanted to make sure that we did the right thing when we tipped.
We arranged our trip through an agency that included pre-booked hotels, a car and a driver. We didn't think about tipping prior to setting off and once we did start considering the idea of tipping our wonderful driver, we had no guidance as to how much the amount should be. We used our best judgment and tipped him $200 at the end, reasoning that he was on the road with us for so long, waking up at the crack of dawn, driving sometimes for eight straight hours (including bathroom stops), and in addition to being our driver, he was also our tour guide and quickly becoming our friend.
Was $200 a good tip? I decided to research the matter to find out and to report to you so that you can have some guidance.
There’s something called a “driver’s batta”, which refers to the expenses that drivers incur while on the road with you. These fees include meals, hotel stays, tolls, and filling up the gas tank. The daily driver’s batta is approximately 200 rupees ($4). These daily expenses are expected to be the daily minimum you pay your driver. If you are happy with your driver, a daily tip of 100-200 rupees is considered a good tip. Usually drivers pay the daily batta amount out of pocket during the trip and you settle the bill by giving him at least his total batta at the end of your trip.
Most hotels have sleeping arrangements for drivers. These cost the driver approximately 50 rupees per night and it’s basically a room with lots of beds where all the drivers spend the night. Restaurants along the highway, or “dhabas” also have separate dining areas for drivers where they are able to eat a meal at a reasonable price for them.
My boyfriend and I were apparently tip happy - very much so. We over-tipped by 500% of the expected amount! Are we angry about it? Absolutely not. Upon conducting some research, we find that typically, drivers make a monthly salary of around $75. They are usually the sole breadwinner and just scraping by on this salary. Think about this when deciding how much to pay.
City Tour Tipping
If you are hiring a driver just for a day or an afternoon for a tour of the city, then a tip of 50-100 Rupees is a good tip.