TIPPING IN EGYPT- Please advise!!!!

Mar 10th, 2006, 02:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 113
TIPPING IN EGYPT- Please advise!!!!

Can please anyone let me know if this is an appropriate amount for tipping:

-in restrooms 1LE

-baggage handlers 10LE

-airport representative 30LE

-tour guide (per day) 40LE

-driver during tour (per day) 25LE

-driver during transfer 10LE

-maid service 20LE (per day)

Thanks in advance.
italy2005 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 96
Tipping is tough. The amounts you list seem correct. However, 12% is added in good restaurants for waiters. And, I still think tipping s a reflection of the quality of service received no matter where we are.

I found that too many folks in Egypt expected/demanded money from me for nothing but annoying me. The bathroom attendants in particular got bad.

Often we really just had to go bad, and the lady would hiss and just say "Money", even though we fully intended to tip, on the way out! Then handling the toilet paper as they do is just a very unsanitary practice. We carried out own tissue packs and still paid for the handled paper. With so many virulent strains of virus crossing borders I really think it is a terrible practice to share tissue as this.
The constant demand for tips, hawking all merchandise and general hassel prevented us from "window shopping" or browsing in any fashion. In turn, it prevented us from spending money with vendors who probably could use it. The Egyptian experience was unique. We will not go back. I appreciated it but left feeling ripped off, hasseled, and glad to be home where I can walk down the street undisturbed.
Just my two cents.
fitzpowell is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,823
fitzpowell -
I am sorry you left Egypt with such a negative impresion. Our family lived in Egypt for 4 years and we all loved it.

Egypt is an incredibly poor country and tourism is their main industry. The Egyptian people are some of the friendliest, most helpful people in the world.

They are also some of the best salesmen on Earth! While the persistent and sometimes obnoxious antics of vendors can get very annoying - it can also be very amusing. Some of the tactics for getting you in their shops are quite creative and funny!

The persistence (okay - hounding) of the vendors is just part of the Egypt experience and you need to be prepared for it. While it may take several tries - a firm "la shokran" (no thank you) will eventually quiet them down.

And it's not just in Egypt. I live overseas and have found this same experience (altho without the creativity of the Egyptians) in other places - such as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. You just have to accept that this is part of the cultural experience.

As for the ladies handing out tissues in the bathroom - no, it's not sanitary and it's not the best practice - but that's just the way it's done. Taking your own tissue is the best solution, but keep in mind that the "cost" of the toilet paper at 1 LE is LESS than 20 cents! Try to think of it as supporting a women (probably) with several children.

For italy2005 -
Just a couple of words of advice .....
- keep lots of 1 LE, 5LE, and 10 LE notes individually folded in your pocket in such a way that you can "count" the money you need without pulling out the whole wad. I used different pockets for different amounts. Pulling out a stack of bills or opening a wallet is the surest way to have EVERYONE following you around for tips or to get you to buy something.

- when bargaining, take the price given, cut it in half, and start the bargaining from there. The vendors will NEVER sell anything for less than their cost. Know how much you are willing to spend for an item and be willing to walk away if the price is still too high for you.

- Yes, window shopping in the bazaars can be difficult because the vendors will want you to come in their shop/stall to see more. Be persistent and firm, but kind.

- I always found the shopping and prices better in Cairo's Khan el Khalili than in Luxor and Aswan. But - if you see something you REALLY like...get it when you see it. You never know if you will find the same thing again (personal lesson learned!).

Egypt is a wonderful, magical place. If you embrace the experience with a smile and a (BIG) sense of humor - you will come away with a very unique and memorable experience.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,100
I could not agree more with grc above. It is just part of the culture. And with the right attitude, it is really rather funny. Our son (then 16) started walking around with his pocket linings hanging out, pointing to them saying he had no money - probably some nasty cultural reason why he should not have done this, but it worked somewhat.

Having enough small denomination bills was a problem for us - ATMs dispensed only larger bills and getting change from street vendors just gave them an excuse to sell you something else or at a higher price.

$1 bills from US were second choice substitutes that worked.
gail is offline  
Mar 14th, 2006, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 74
I'm just back from a visit to Egypt, and I must say that the hassles from vendors were not as bad as I expected.

If you are not interested in buying anything, just look straight ahead and keep on walking. The vendor will quickly lose interest in you and go on to someone else.

The bargaining isn't so bad either, just view it as a game. Be prepared for some academy-award caliber performances - these guys are great actors! And it's true, they won't sell to you if they aren't making a profit so don't feel bad about haggling.

As for tipping, it's part of the game. Compare the amount of money you spend on tips to the cost of your trip - it's a small percentage!

Dlemma is offline  

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