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Tipping in Egypt

Tipping in Egypt: Who to Tip and How Much

When visiting Egypt, one can’t ignore the tradition of tipping, known as “baksheesh.” Tipping in Egypt is a way to show appreciation and an integral part of the culture. This ancient practice of giving gratuity is deeply ingrained in Egyptian culture and plays a significant role in social interactions. To truly understand and navigate the customs of tipping in Egypt, it’s crucial to learn about its history, the dos and don’ts, and its implications on locals and tourists.

This article will explore the art of baksheesh in Egypt and how to approach tipping with respect and appreciation.

Tipping Culture in Egypt

Tipping, known as “baksheesh,” is deeply ingrained in the social fabric in Egypt. It is a way to express gratitude and acknowledge the services rendered. From hotel staff and tour guides to restaurant servers and taxi drivers, a small gratuity can go a long way in brightening someone’s day. While tipping is customary, knowing when and how much to tip is crucial to avoid misunderstandings or inadvertently offending anyone.

Understanding the Value of Baksheesh

Egyptians view baksheesh as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation. It serves as a supplement to meager wages and helps support those working in the service industry. For many locals, tips represent a significant portion of their income, making them essential to their livelihood.

The Art of Tipping: Dos and Don’ts

Mastering the art of tipping in Egypt involves navigating a few essential dos and don’ts to ensure you show respect and gratitude appropriately:

  1. Embrace the Custom: In Egypt, tipping is a nicety and part of their cultural identity. Embrace the custom and understand that it is a way of life for many Egyptians.
  2. Use Cash for Tipping: While credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas, it’s best to tip in cash, as this is the customary practice and allows you to give directly to the service person.
  3. Be Discreet: When tipping, be discreet and avoid making a show of it. A subtle handover or placing the money on a surface is considered respectful.
  4. Offer Smaller Denominations: Offer smaller denominations when tipping. It makes it easier for recipients to divide their earnings and is more practical for daily expenses.
  5. Tip According to Quality of Service: Adjust your tip based on the quality of service received. A slightly larger tip for exceptional service is a genuine sign of appreciation.
  6. Learn Basic Arabic Phrases: Learning a few basic Arabic phrases, such as “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” adds a personal touch to your interactions and is appreciated by locals.
Tipping in Egypt

Tipping Guide: Who to Tip and How Much

In this section, we’ll explore various scenarios and the appropriate tipping practices for each:

Hotel Staff

  • Bellhop/Porter: 1-5 dollars per bag upon arrival and departure.
  • Housekeeping: 5 to 10 dollars per day left on the bed or in an envelope.

Tour Guides and Drivers

  • Tour Guide: 10-50 dollars per day, depending on the group size and level of service.
  • Driver: 5-10 dollars per day.

Restaurant and Cafe

  • Wait Staff: 10% of the bill or 5-10 EGP for small bills.
  • Restroom Attendants: 1 dollar.

Taxis and Transportation

  • Taxi Drivers: Round up the fare or add 5-10 EGP, depending on the distance.
  • Nile Cruise Crew: 5 to 10 dollars per crew member, given at the end of the cruise in an envelope.

Miscellaneous

  • Street Performers: 5-10 EGP for photos or entertainment.
  • Hotel Concierge: 5 to 10 dollars for special assistance.

Remember that these are general guidelines, and tipping amounts can vary based on the level of service and your budget.

Tipping in Egypt

Tips for Navigating Awkward Tipping Situations

Tipping situations can sometimes become awkward, but fear not! Here are some tips to handle those moments gracefully:

  • When You’re Not Satisfied: Consider addressing the issue discreetly and constructively if you encounter poor service. You can still offer a small tip but leave feedback for improvement.
  • When Unsure: If you need clarification on the tipping custom in a particular situation, observe locals or ask your hotel concierge for guidance.
  • Group Tipping: Designate one person to handle the tip in group tours to ensure everything is clear.
  • Tipping at All-Inclusive Resorts: Tipping is generally not expected at all-inclusive resorts, but small gratuities for exceptional service are always appreciated.
  • Tipping at Restaurants: If a service charge is already included in the bill, an additional tip is not mandatory, but you can still offer a small token of appreciation.

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FAQs about Tipping in Egypt

What is the etiquette for baksheesh in Egypt?

Baksheesh, a long-standing tradition in Egypt, carries its unique etiquette. When offering baksheesh, it is essential to do so discreetly and with a warm smile. Rather than flaunting money, present the tip with humility and appreciation for the service provided. Moreover, giving baksheesh in small denominations is customary, as it ensures the gesture is seen as a token of gratitude rather than ostentatiousness.

What are the tipping rules in Egypt?

In Egypt, tipping is deeply ingrained in the culture and is a way to show appreciation for good service. While there are no strict rules, specific guidelines can help you navigate tipping gracefully. For instance, tipping is expected in various situations like hotels, restaurants, tour guides, drivers, and other services. As a general rule of thumb, offering around 10-15% of the bill or service cost is considered a polite gesture of gratitude.

Is tipping expected in Egypt?

Yes, tipping is widely expected in Egypt. It is an integral part of the service industry, and service providers often rely on tips to supplement their income. Whether in a restaurant, a taxi, or receiving assistance from a tour guide, a modest tip shows respect for the hard work and dedication of those who serve you.

Is 100 EGP a good tip?

Indeed, a 100 EGP tip is considered generous in many situations in Egypt. This amount can make a significant difference for service providers and will undoubtedly be appreciated. However, it’s essential to consider the context and the level of service received. For instance, in upscale restaurants or for private tours, a 100 EGP tip would be more fitting, whereas, in smaller establishments or short taxi rides, a slightly smaller tip would still be considered thoughtful.

Do you tip at restaurants in Cairo?

Yes, it is customary to tip at restaurants in Cairo. As a sign of gratitude for the service provided by the waitstaff, leaving a tip is a polite gesture. The typical tipping range is 10-15% of the total bill. However, some restaurants may include a service charge, so checking the account before adding an extra tip is essential. Additional tipping is discretionary but always appreciated if a service charge is already formed.

How much do you tip a driver in Cairo, Egypt?

Tipping a driver in Cairo is common, especially for tourism drivers who provide transport services. A suitable tip would be around 50-100 EGP per day, depending on the length and complexity of the tour. If the driver has gone above and beyond to assist you or has provided helpful information about the city, consider a slightly higher tip to express your appreciation.

How much do you tip tour guides in Egypt?

Tour guides enhance your experience and understanding of Egypt’s rich history and culture. A fair tip for a tour guide would be around 100-200 EGP per day, depending on the length and complexity of the tour. If the tour guide’s services have been exceptional and have significantly enriched your journey, offering a higher tip would be an excellent way to acknowledge their efforts and expertise.

Conclusion

Tipping in Egypt is not just a monetary transaction; it is an expression of gratitude and a way to foster positive interactions with the locals. By understanding the local customs and embracing the practice of baksheesh, you can enhance your travel experience while contributing positively to the livelihoods of those who make your journey unforgettable. So, when you visit Egypt, remember to tip generously and graciously, making your trip memorable for everyone involved.

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About the author

Egypt Planners Team is a highly experienced travel agency specializing in memorable trips to Egypt. The team comprises expert travel planners and tour guides with a deep knowledge of Egypt's history, culture, and top tourist destinations.
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