We mainly give tips in the hospitality and service sector if we are satisfied with the level of services provided. However, it is not obligatory. This rule applies not only in Egypt, but all over the world. We get used to tipping the waiter in the restaurant or cafe, the porter in the hotel, and housekeeping, who clean our hotel room. In Egypt, people who work in the service and tourism sector and earn very little, expect a tip and therefore try to do their best to deserve a tip from the customer. Find out about Egypt tipping culture, and who and how much to tip in Egypt.
Tipping is a very emotional and personal subject, and every one has their own thoughts and process on how they tip. Tipping in Egypt is a standard practice that is found in every store, restaurant, or at every monument you visit. It's a way of life for the Egyptian people. How to tip in Egypt is a question that every visitor asks, and we will try to help you understand the Egypt tipping culture and what is expected with our suggested tipping in Egypt guide.
Tipping in Egypt: to give or not to give a tip? If so, to whom and how much? These questions arise very often when planning a trip to Egypt. And although the subject is quite trivial, it is worth knowing something about the Egypt tipping culture.
Check out what you need to know about tipping in Egypt and the rules of the game, by reading our Egypt tipping guide.
Occasionally, voices of indignation may be heard when the topic of tips arises. "Why should I give extra money when I have paid for the service ?!" There are many reasons for this approach. However, it is worth remembering that this is not always the case. In Egypt, for example, waiters and lower hotel service staff receive a very basic salary and the tips they receive from customers are considered part of their salary. Therefore, in Egypt, the tipping culture is very developed. Their assumption is to motivate the employee to provide each guest with the best possible service.
However, this is not the only reason why tips are given. It is worth remembering their cultural and symbolic significance. In Egypt, the small sums given to your attendants are tradition. These are called backsheesh and are simply welcome - as a sign of your appreciation, for good service. The tip is also a form of support for the local community. Remember that the amount that is very small for you, for Egyptians, the value of money is completely different and it can be a significant help in "completing" the monthly household budget.
Of course, the tip should not be confused with the handout! Therefore, you should not overdo the amount - it is only a polite service fee.
In Egypt, it is better to tip in the local currency, i.e. in Egyptian pounds (LE) because it will cost you less, or possibly in US dollars. In Egypt when tipping in dollars, it is best to prepare banknotes of low denominations such as $ 1, $ 2, $ 5 $ 10, or a maximum of $ 20. However, for the recipient of the tip in Egypt it does not matter what currency the tip is in - the important thing is that it is given.
Who can expect a tip from you? In Egypt, where tipping is a highly developed process, the number of service workers to be tipped will be larger than in countries where this tradition is not well developed.
Most often, tips are given:
- waiter service in the restaurant and cafes,
- hotel employees, and, above all, baggage handlers and the cleaning team,
- the Nile River Cruise crew,
- coach and bus drivers during round trips,
- Egyptian local guides,
- service of Egyptian monuments, Coptic churches, mosques, museums, if they show you some important details in these attractions, they tell you interesting facts, they help you in some way.
- a tip may be expected e.g. for opening the door, showing the way or taking a photo at a tourist attraction,
- bathroom attendants,
- SPA employees,
- the supermarket employee who packs your purchases at the checkout, in a situation where you do larger purchases; leave a 5-10 LE (1$) tip,
- gas station pacemakers who serve you when you fill up with fuel (the person who refuel the car, the person who will wash the car windows, wipe the car bonnet), the person who checks the tire pressure) - leave a 5-10 LE (1$) tip.
The tip is usually a small sum, although the amount is ultimately dependent on each person, and the service received.
In higher class Egyptian restaurants and cafes, service is automatically billed - you see it as a separate item on your receipt. When this happens, an appropriate percentage of the basic fee is usually charged - usually no more than 10-15%. However, this service charge goes to the restaurant or cafe and not to the waiter, so be sure to tip the waiter or waitress in addition.
In restaurants and cafes where service is not automatically added to the bill, the amount of the tip is discretionary and usually 12% or more is expected.
In Egypt you will be expected to tip anyone in your hotel who assists you. Tip the luggage man at the hotel 20 LE (1-2$) per bag both, as he walks them in and as he walks them out. Give housekeeping 20 LE (1-2$) per night. If you eat breakfast or dinner at your hotel, plan on tipping the waiter or waitress a gratuity of 20 LE (1-2$) per meal.
Going on tours is one way to experience Egypt to its absolute fullest, therefore, you should tip generously. If a driver is taking you sightseeing for the day, plan on tipping him around 100 LE. If he takes you for a half day, 50 LE is a good amount.
If your guide takes you sightseeing for a full day, plan on tipping him around 150-200 LE. For a half-day, leave a gratuity of around 100 LE. On sightseeing tours, give your Egypt tour guide a tip on the last day of the tour, at your discretion.
In addition, please be aware that you should leave 5 or 10 LE for bathroom attendants.
Tips for employees of hairdressing salons, beauty salon, SPA & health club salons
Generally, in Egypt, you should tip between 10 and 15%. If you are pleased with your time at the spa or health club, tip closer to 15%. If you are not pleased, tip closer to 10% or even a bit less. Feel free to voice any concerns you may have had during your visit to appropriate management. It's better to do this than to not leave a tip. If you don't leave a gratuity the staff may just assume you forgot.
Should you tip Nile River cruise staff? On average, there are around 60 people working on a ship during a cruise along the Nile. During your stay, you only see 5 or 9 crew members that are all in customer facing roles. With this in mind it's unfair to tip only the people you see yourself, forgetting about the other workers on the ship. Therefore, on all Nile cruises, there is a rule that all tips from guests must be given at the end of the trip rather than tipping individuals during the voyage. Tips should be placed in an envelope with the amount written on the back, and left at the reception desk on the ship. All tips will then be collected from guests and shared between all cruise staff. This makes it a fair solution, where everyone benefits.
Gratuities are around $ 5- $ 10 per person per night. For example, if you are a party of two and spend 5 nights aboard a cruise on the Nile, your tip amount will be:
$ 5 x 5 nights x 2 people = $ 50.
You would leave $ 50 in an envelope at reception at the end of your Nile cruise.
The travel agency with whom you will travel in Egypt during the Nile cruise may propose a different form of giving a tip or cover the tips for the service of the ship with the money you paid for the all inclusive Egypt vacation package.
In Egypt it is not customary to tip taxi drivers. You will agree upon a price prior to your taxi ride and the tip should be included in the price. However, if traffic is bad or the taxi driver offers you knowledge of the culture or is extra friendly, you could always leave a little extra money, or round up.
Unfortunately, in Egypt, it can appear an aggressive request for a tip (backsheesh) for services which the traveler did not ask for, e.g. for placing luggage on the conveyor belt at the airport check-in desk. In such a situation, it is worth saying a firm "no"!
As you can see, when and how much to tip is not as easy as it may seem. One thing is certain: when traveling to Egypt, it is worth planning a budget for your tips. Usually, a good solution is to spend about 5-15% of your funds taken for the trip on tips.
If you are planning a trip to Egypt with Inside Egypt and you want to understand more about how much money to take with you, feel free to call or email us - we will be happy to help you!