Egypt Tours, Red Sea & Travel

   

Etiquette Protocols in Egypt

In Egypt, tipping just happens to be a way of life and deeply embedded in the social fabric of the country. Tips are expected for any and all services rendered; it is a major portion of income for many Egyptians working in tourism whereas in other countries, it is a reward for good service. Therefore, the term ‘tip’ does not have the same meaning to Egyptians. Everybody gives tips ‘baksheesh’ to everybody and foreign tourists are expected to observe this custom. Tipping is perceived as a - kind of unofficial purchase tax on all goods and services. Nearly everyone who offers services or sells merchandise expect some form of tip including hotel staff, taxi drivers, security guards, lavatory attendants and shopkeepers.

 

For tourists this can become very tiresome, especially if you don’t have the small change, and it can lead to irritation and frustration. To overcome this problem and avoid obvious embarrassment if you don’t have the correct change, you can choose to pay your tips at the start of your holiday. Then your tour leader or guide will distribute all ‘baksheesh’ along the way, on your behalf, to the local guides, drivers, porters and others who provide services for you. If this sounds like it will work better for you please ask us for an estimated range based on your programs and have this amount ready, in cash, at the beginning of the trip. Please remember gratuity is entirely up to your discretion and basic tips are not included in the price of land tours services unless you request us to do so. It is customary to tip your Tour Leader, at the end of the trip.


Following is a list of estimated amounts for most services if you choose to pay as you go. Amounts are average for per person, (if traveling alone) or per couple, per day. For larger groups, over 4 persons the amounts below are for per person, per day.

 

Tour Leaders & Guides: $5 - $10 US per day * tours & cruise ship guides
Bus & Taxi Drivers: $5 - $10 US per day
Restaurant Waiters: 10 - 15% of total bill if tip's not included *hotels & cruise ships
Bellmen / Porters: 5 LE per bag *hotels & cruise ships
Housekeepers:  3 – 5 LE per room / per night *hotels & cruise ships
Cruise Ship Attendants: $5 US dollars / per night
Dive Guides: $5 - $10 US per day
Dive Boat Crew: $5 - $10 US per day *tipping pool is best
Diving Support Staff: $2 - $3 US per day *office & compressor staff
Lavatory Attendants: 2 LE per service
Tomb Keepers: 2 LE per service
All Others: 1 - 2 LE per service

 

Rule of Thumb

You should keep plenty of small local notes on you at all times i.e., 1, 5 and 10 LE notes. Again, the amount of tip is entirely up you based on how you value the service you had. If any service is done well and to your appreciation, tips are a very nice way to show gratitude. On the other hand, if service in a restaurant for example isn't good, then save the tips for someone who deserve it!

 

If someone tags along with you at a site showing you things without being asked the choice is yours. You can discourage him / her or accept their service in which case you'll be expected to tip him.  If you tell them you don't want a guide and they continue to hang around kindly make it clear it is their choice and you'll not give him money since you don't need their service. You should not tip government officials i.e., customs officers, passport control etc.

 

Some Final Thoughts . . .

It is okay to give to a few beggars each day, it does not have to be much and you'll not miss it.  It is a tenant of Islam to give charity to beggars etc. and although it should be done from the heart it will put you in good esteem and it can help the needy in a country without any welfare structure.