The issue of tipping in Egypt is very important for your trip, as it will be a constant presence throughout the day. Therefore, in this post, we’ll discuss whether tips are mandatory and what amount is expected from the customer.
Tipping in Egypt: voluntary but mandatory
It can be said that tipping in Egypt is voluntary, yet at the same time, mandatory. That is, there is no rule stipulating it as part of the price, but all professionals in the country anticipate this gesture of courtesy from tourists. Otherwise, an uncomfortable and unpleasant situation may ensue, which is preferable to avoid.
This consideration of tipping as voluntary but mandatory stems from the low wages that workers in the country receive. Therefore, they view this extra compensation as a way to earn a dignified wage.
Thus, it will be useful to know how to say “tip” in Egypt, as it will be a word that comes up repeatedly: baksheesh. In this country, it is believed that nearly all travelers, because of their origin and the fact they’ve undertaken such a long journey, have a significantly higher purchasing power than their own, so a small baksheesh is not a big effort for them, but it is a great help to the workers.
How much to leave as baksheesh
There is no fixed figure when it comes to tipping in Egypt. However, it is estimated that 10% of the total price is a good proportion. That would be the ‘minimum’ expected, but if the customer feels they have received very good service, they may also leave a 15% or 20% baksheesh.
The most common practice is to leave the tip in cash, although if the payment is going to be made with a card, you can ask the seller or professional if there is any problem in contributing that extra also on the card, at the time of payment with it.
For most people, it is preferable for the tip to be in Egyptian pounds, the local currency, but there are usually no objections to it being in foreign currency, especially dollars or euros. However, if the tip is going to be in coins, it should be in Egyptian pounds or piasters, as foreign coins are not typically accepted as a payment method in everyday life (whereas bills are more accepted or easily exchanged).
This leads us to give you a very important recommendation: manage to always carry many coins and small bills with you, otherwise, you will be forced to choose between two undesirable situations: not leaving a tip or leaving a tip too high because you don’t have less.
Examples of some situations
Generally, you will be asked for a tip in many situations throughout the day, probably much more often than in your home country. Specifically, whenever a local professional believes they have helped you in some way. For example, a guard who provides information you’ve asked for, or a cleaner who offers you toilet paper in the bathroom.
Tips are expected whenever or almost whenever a payment is made. For instance, in a taxi or at a restaurant. In stores where the price is already established, a nice gesture is not to accept the change, for which you will have to calculate if that change is more or less the equivalent of a tip. In some cases, the clerk themselves may suggest keeping the change or part of it as a tip.
Finally, there are situations where such a tip is already set, probably to facilitate the transaction or because the customer may not know the exact cost of the service. This happens with cruise tips, which are usually around €45 per person.