Often known as 'backsheesh' in parts of Asia and the Middle East, tipping is standard practice in Egypt. If you’re happy with services provided by waiters, drivers and other workers, leaving a small tip is a good way to show your appreciation. Tipping 10–15% of your bill total is customary at cafes and restaurants, and loose change is acceptable for food purchases from street vendors and markets. For smaller purchases, rounding up the bill or not asking for any change is an appropriate way of leaving a tip. If you are at a restaurant or hotel, check if a 10% service charge has already been added, and think about tipping a little extra for the wait staff who will likely not receive any of this charge.
You should also tip drivers and tour guides, as well as other service staff who look after you on a day-to-day basis. The exact amount will differ depending on the level and length of service, but as a general rule of thumb, consider tipping a driver EGP 50 and a tour guide EGP 80–100 for a full day on top of the base costs. You could tip as you go, or leave a lump sum when you say goodbye to your guide. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers, but you can round up your fare if the ride was particularly good.
While it may not be customary to you, tipping is of great importance to the people who take care of you during your travels. It also encourages excellent service in the future and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Carrying small notes in the local currency will make tipping easier in Egypt.
Participate in a tipping kitty
On the first day of your trip your local leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, which everybody contributes an equal amount to at the start of the tour. Your leader then uses this to tip drivers, local guides and hotel staff on your behalf. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent, which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassle of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty is optional, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.
Tipping your local leader in Egypt
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however the equivalent of USD 2–4 per person, per day, is a commonly used guideline. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Our tours in Egypt