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How Much to Tip Your Driver in India: My Experience With 'Tipping Batta'

Updated on June 20, 2013
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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.

Driver’s Batta

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.

Tip Happy

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.

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    • carhireindelhi profile image

      carhireindelhi 2 years ago

      But car rental is best option for traveling in India, hire personal car and enjoy.

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      rLcasaLme, it was awesome but yes A LOT of time on the road, which was indeed tiring.

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 5 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      There's no way I could have known this.

      Very useful information. Oh! it must've been a tiring 10-day trip, huh? I'd bet you've enjoyed it.

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 5 years ago from Mumbai

      I am an Indian. I live in Mumbai. Good to know that you want to revisit India once more.

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Aww, thanks kannanwrites. Our trip to India was absolutely fantastic and my boyfriend and I definitely want to return to India within the next 10 years. It was our favorite part of a trip that took us across the world, with India being the last destination and a cherry on top :) Our driver was a big factor in making the trip awesome. Hopefully the extra tip will help his family a little. Have you been to India?

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 5 years ago from Mumbai

      Hey Anna, you might have gave a bit extra money as tip but you definitely earned a lot of praise from him and his family.

      How was your trip to India?

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks, philipuae!

    • philipuae profile image

      philipuae 5 years ago from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

      Batta is a Hindi word meaning Allowance. If possible tourists try to use local government tourist department taxis.