Tipping is expected everywhere in Egypt – it is not just for tourists. Tipping is an expression of your appreciation for another person and their efforts on your behalf. While you are told it is at your discretion – it is actually expected and depended on.
Wages (where they exist) have always been very low. However, since the lack of tourism in Egypt from 2011, it is normal for many workers to work for little or no wages, just to keep their positions.
Nov 2017 – This is an update on what tipping is now expected due to the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound by almost 50% in 2016, followed by severe increases in the cost of fuel, transport, electricity and even basic food items as the government subsidies are quickly being decreased in the move towards total removal. The currency change has been wonderful for tourists but devastating for the Egyptian population.
Over the years I have noticed that the tipping annoys some people. In an effort to alleviate the burden I have written the following guideline giving the Egyptian and US dollar equivalent. The expected tipping is not huge but means a lot to those working with you.
Guidelines to Tipping Amounts in Egypt:
Minimum recommended per person – family is of course not expected to tip these amounts per person
Tipping can be in Egyptian pounds, Dollar or Euro NOTES – Please note foreign coins cannot be exchanged so it is a useless tip.
Tour Guide US$10 = 175LE (le is Egyptian Pound) per day
Bus/Taxi Drivers for tours US$5 = 70LE per day
Hotel Housekeeping US$2 = 35 LE per day
Restaurant Waiter not less US$2 = 35LE ~ 40LE
Porter or Baggage Handler US$1 = 20LE
Toilet Attendant 5 le = US cents 25 = 5LE
END OF STAY TIPPING – Cruise Boats based on an average stay of 4 days
Cruise Crew (most boats have a tip box in reception) not less $5 per day per person so for a couple it should be minimum $10 per day. This is divided among all the crew/staff you do not see such as laundry, sailors, below deck etc. but not managers.
If the cleaner attached to your room has been pleasing to you – an extra tip of $3 = 55LE on leaving your room on departure day is appreciated.
If a specific waiter, housekeeping, restaurant or another manager in a Hotel or on a Cruise Boat has been especially helpful to you a tip is also appreciated – usually they would be tipped about $20 = 350LE.
To help tourists put tipping and baksheesh into perspective a friend suggested I update this section by including the 2016 cost of some items in Egypt – note some items vary on time of the year and availability.
How to Tip?
The tip, if not included in money you are handing over for a service, should be folded in the palm of the hand and quietly passed in the handshake while expressing your thanks. Some Egyptians consider it good manners to quietly decline the tip once or twice so it is considered good manners on your part to insist (with sincere thanks).
One of the highlights of your Egypt's tour can be the look on people’s faces when you tipped them over the norm expected. That can be the best memory of Egypt – making an instant difference in the lives of the people who were making your holiday comfortable and enjoyable. It made him feel really good to make somebody else’s day a good one so easily.