Tipping Egyptian or American Dollars

Sep 9th, 2005, 05:24 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 268
Tipping Egyptian or American Dollars

When tipping in Egypt is it better to use Egyptian or American dollars? What do they prefer?
anitas is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 07:18 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 74
Just warning you anyone and everyone expects a tip in Egypt. We had some bad experiences with people claiming to be helpful and us saying thank you we were ok and them saying we were rude or didn't trust them. Someone even claimed to be a guide for tours when looking for the bus station and followed us. When we said no thank you he said he wished something bad upon us. Someone else said our tip would not buy a coca cola. I know this doesn't happen all the time, but it was just our experience.
We chose to give tips to those we thought deserving. Otherwise you'd be handing out money all day. I think either currency would be accepted. Didn't mean to be too negative-have fun.
SusanMac is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 10:05 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,240
We brought a bunch of American single dollars for tips and no one objected - small denomination Egyptian currency can be hard to come by. Just don't tip with US coins - they are not readily exchangeable in Egypt.
gail is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 03:20 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 268
SusanMac,

Did you travel independently or on a tour? We are on a private tour with a guide and driver. Did you encounter these issues when walking around by yourself? We have several free days in Cario and we were going to explore the town by walking around.
anitas is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 03:47 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,240
We were on a tour and also found everyone wanted a tip. It was actually rather amusing and we just got used to haning out 1 Egyptian pound (at the time about 25 cents) quite freely. Doors are held open, etc - just to solicit the desired tip. However, we found no one to be obnoxious about a tip - and when someone did nothing, they did not get a tip.

We were at the Pyramids and my daughter wanted to touch a camel - we tipped. She sat on the camel - another tip. The camel guy let us take photos, and gave her a short rise - you guessed it, more tip. Then he headed off towards the desert with her and I had to yell and tip him more to get her back - the whole thing cost us about $2.00 in tips and everyone was happy at the end.

This is all a part of the culture - street crime is very rare, but crimes by scams are common. Just keep a sense of humor, your guard up, and you will have a great time. You can be fairly certain that if you get into a taxi, the price quoted at beginning of trip will be less than cost quoted at end. If you ask someone directions, you will likely be lead to their "uncle's perfume shop".

We found that the culture seemed to be hit up tourists often for tips. But if it cost us 25 cents to deal with this, relative to the thousands we spent on the trip, it was nothing.
gail is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:16 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867

US money is fine in the places that attract many tourists. If you're in a desert Oasis, however, you should use Egyptian pounds.

With a taxi in Cairo, ask your hotel or guide how much it is to the various places you want to go & pay accordingly.
sunshine007 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:37 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 76
They prefer U.S. dollars but for small services, Egyptian pounds are best. For example, the people who stand outside the public toilets and give you paper, 1 Egyptian pound. Helping you on or off a boat, 1le (Egyptian pound) Taking a photo of you and your party, $1. Everyone will except a tip for everything so you just have to decide what it's worth to you. So give some small Egyptian notes for those purposes.
PRchick is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:04 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 74
My husband and I were traveling independently. I knwo this was our experience, but it made getting around trying for us. Mostly in Cairo. We tried to do our best and experience the culture understanding all aspects. We have both traveled to many countries and have never experienced anything quite like we did. We said that if we knew anyone going to Egypt we would recommend a tour. You will be fine just keep your guard up as you would do anywhere.
My fave part of our trip was the Safari in the desert.
SusanMac is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 02:37 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 65
First of all, if you tip in Egyptian Pounds (LE) you are ok. There is nothing special about USD for tipping, and no reason for you to walk around with a bunch of 1 dollar bills for that purpose.

With regards to tipping, there are various situations (and while it is a pain, bear in mind that a lot of the people you deal with on the streets etc.. live on less than USD 150 per month). Here are some situations:

(a) Legitimate tipping (if I may call it that): which applies to those carrying your luggage in the hotel, waiters at the end of a meal in a restaurant, a bus tour driver at the end of your day tour etc... for hotel luggage you may tip LE 10, 15 or 20 (USD 2 on average). In restaurants, you would tip more for A La Carte meals compared to open buffet... as a guideline it would be 10% - 15% of your bill.

(b) on the road 'beggars' wanting tips... these may be for a small service (like allowing you to take a photo of them, handing you tissues etc..) you can choose to avoid them or tip them anywhere from LE 1 to LE 5. They are a disgrace and sometimes annoying, but as I said you can choose to ignore them.

By the way this rule also applies to Egyptian (upper middle class), however sometime tourists are seen to be carrying more cash and a 1 USD for them is pea nuts.
Sherif is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 04:25 AM
  #10  
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We too traveled independently when in Egypt (and Jordan), but arranged for a guide for visiting sights - they were tipped in USD at the conclusion of their services. The night we went to see AIDA, because once in the area, even your drivers (we had one) had to wait for our departure - were tipped when we were returned to our hotel.

We spent an entire day on our own, no guide, no driver - took taxi to the Khan el Khalili and had a great day. We used both Egyptian Pounds and USD as payment for purchases. No one ever had a hand out. In fact, the woman who had worked with us at this great place where you could purchase "real" papyrus at a large out-of-the-way shop in the bazaar, gladly escorted us to a shop where we could find alabaster. We tipped, for no reason other then she left her own shop to help us.

If we didn't want to tip - whether in Egypt or elsewhere in our world travels - leared the "firm" word for "no" or "not interested" in local language and were never bothered any further.

While in Cairo or Luxor or Aswan where it's easier for locals to get to a bank to convert USD (or store under their mattress), or on the Nile Cruise boats - USD; elsewhere at stops along the Nile, we used local currency as it's not easy for people in these towns to have access to a bank at which to convert their income for local use.

It's simple enough to figure out where to use USD or local Egyptian Pounds.

And always approach such situations knowing what to do ahead of time - and, of course, a sense of humor. It's not the comfort of home, rather different, but you'll get so much more in return.
 
Sep 10th, 2005, 05:11 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 555
Very interesting thread. Hopefully we are prepared, mentally for mega-baksheesh. Now here is my question, I am getting the impression that Egyptian pounds in small amounts are somewhat hard to come by. I had planned on bringing a bunch of US 1$ but would like also to obtain a stack of local currency, will we be able to do this at our hotel? (Sheraton) For better or worse, we get in on Friday, when I think banks are closed. What should we do to get us through that first weekend of tipping? Thanks much for your trip... thanks for the thread Anitas, can't wait to compare notes!
Thyra is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 05:17 AM
  #12  
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Whether at an ATM, bank or your hotel's currency conversion window - the rate is set by the government so there will be no diffence in what you receive for your USD. So if banks are closed, use the facility at your hotel which should hold you thru the weekend. And from this currency exchange you should be able to get smaller denominations for tips.

Be aware that the local currency is usually dirty, wrinkled, torn - so have some Purell (or like) sanitizer for your hands after handling these bills.
 
Sep 10th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 268
Thyra,

Wow your trip is getting really close now. Please tell me all about your experiences when you get back. Can't wait to hear from you.

I think we will bring some American Dollars and some Egyptian Pounds with us. This way we can do what is appropriate at the time. Thanks for all your help with this questions.

anitas is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 09:38 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,240
ATM's in Egypt, just like in US dispense larger denomination bills. I once went into a bank to get some small egyptian denominations and they claimed to only have a limited number (had someone with me to translate - so languange was not the issue).

Smaller denominations can be acquired as change in regular stores. On a fewe occasions, street vendors claimed to have no change - this seemed to be most often part of the negotiating process - so item would be rounded up to avoid necessity for change.

And Sandi is correct, Egyptian currency is very old and dirty - looks and smells as if it has been around since King Tut minted it himself.

gail is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 07:14 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 279
Are tips on the Nile cruises given to individuals (waiters, cleaners, etc.) or as a lump sum at the end of the cruise?
Also, if you have the same guide for a few days, does one tip daily or on the last day? We are on a private tour with guides, but think we will have different guides in Cairo, Aswan, the desert, etc.
Conlet is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 07:40 AM
  #16  
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Conlet -

On the Nile cruise boat you can get envelopes for your tips. There's usually a combined tip for the waiters/busboys in one envelope; another for the maitre d'; and one for the housekeeping staff. If you're independent travellers on the cruise boat, they provide an English speaking guide for you (likewise one in French or Italian speakers - depending on the individuals on the boat).. you tip this guide at the conclusion of the cruise which will include visiting the temples between Aswan and Luxor.

In Cairo you tip your guide at the conclusion of the services - day, or a few days - and don't forget the driver who you drives you around while here. If you're actually spending time in Aswan, then you tip as you would in Cairo.
 
Sep 13th, 2005, 07:45 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 279
Thanks for the advice. I can always count on Fodorites!
Conlet is offline  
Oct 15th, 2006, 03:08 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 19
This is an old thread, but I'd like to add a bit of information based on being an American expat in Egypt for over 6 years. For most Egyptians to whom you hand out small amounts, it is much better to tip in the local currency. Every time I go to major tourist attractions, the touts can figure out that I am an expat and are always asking myself and other members of the party to change dollars and euros back to LE (Egyptian pounds). I am scrupulous in giving them the exact exchange rate, but others are not, so they get beaten out of part of your tip in the transaction. In this country, the banks will not give the poor any services, and the vendors from whom they buy their daily bread will not take foreign currency, so they have to have LE. The middle class tour guides can exchange foreign currencies at a bank, so it is not so much an issue for them.

I know that as a visitor, it is often difficult to recieve a lot of small bills when you change money. The shopkeepers usually are short of change as well. So, try and hit the hotels up for every last small bit of currency that you can. The small bills tend to be dreadfully dirty and tattered--do not accept them in change, and have plenty of alcohol based hand cleanser for when you are done handling them!

Fayum P.
Fayum is offline  
Oct 15th, 2006, 06:17 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
Sometimes the taxi drivers will say they don't have change, but they do. If they let you off in a busy area they can ask other taxi drivers for change. And one time I told him I only had a 100 L.E. bill for a 5 L.E. drive, so I told the driver before I got in the car. He said "masfeesh Mushkela" ("no problem") and we drove to a gas station for change. Since the trip took longer than usual I gavehim a couple L.E. more than the 5 I usually paid for the ride.

Also, find out from someone at your hotel how much the taxi ride should be. When you are dropped off at the end of the ride, get out of the taxi, give him the money & walk away. If the driver makes a scene ignore him and cotinue walking. If you do it this way, you should be sure to give him a standard price.
sunshine007 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jahlie
Africa & the Middle East
12
Apr 1st, 2011 12:02 AM
jcasale
Africa & the Middle East
11
Feb 26th, 2010 12:20 PM
wally34949
Africa & the Middle East
8
Apr 15th, 2008 07:59 AM
Max69
Africa & the Middle East
10
Feb 4th, 2007 11:15 AM
italy2005
Africa & the Middle East
4
Mar 14th, 2006 10:02 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:02 AM.