A Rough Guide to Tipping
* Restaurant: 10% of the bill
* Representative/transfer man: 20-30LE per transfer
* Driver taking you to hotel from airport upon arrival: 10-20LE
* Hotel Porter: 5LE + 5LE per item of luggage
* Housekeeping: 5-10LE per night
* Waiter/waitress at restaurant at hotel: 5-10LE per meal
* Horse Carriage: 20LE
* Driver taking you sightseeing full day: 50LE (Full days are usually only in Cairo)
* Guide taking you sightseeing full day: 80-100LE (Full days are usually only in Cairo)*
* Driver taking you sightseeing half day: 25LE
* Guide taking you sightseeing half day: 40-50LE*
* Waiter at lunch restaurant in connection to sightseeing: 5-10LE
* Felucca captain taking you sailing for one hour: 10LE (if the agreed price for the trip does not include tips)
* Guards around the sites: 1-2LE
* Groundskeeper in mosques (the man handing you shoe-covers, showing you special things etc.): 1-5LE
* Men or women in restrooms handing out toilet paper: 50PT - 1LE (do not tip if restroom is dirty)
* Cruise boat staff: 10LE per person per night. Leave it in an envelope at reception by the end of the cruise and write your cabin number on the envelope. This will be later divided between all the staff (if you feel like rewarding a member of staff with a little extra, do it very discreetly, otherwise he will be have to share it with the other staff).
* Hand the tips over at the end of their services, rather than each day. Put all tips from the group into an envelope and then hand it to the guide. The driver may be changed so give tips each day.
Other Tipping Hints:
Obviously a tip is a gratuity for a service offered/done, so if you were given a good service, you would pay more; if a bad service, than less. As a rule of thumb if you are not sure how much to tip, give 10% of what you paid for the service.
In almost all cases you should tip after you have received the service. In your hotel, rather than tip each member of staff with whom you had contact, it is customary to leave an envelope at reception which can then be divided amongst them later.
Take a box of cheap ballpoint pens. The children (and many adults) are very happy when you hand them out, handy for baksheesh.
Do not over-tip as people will come to expect it. Also be careful when tipping anyone who approaches you saying he is a guide, some of those expect at least 50LE for a service you did not even want or need, and some can be very nasty when you offer up to 20LE. You will recognise them: dirty galabeya and head scarf.
Although Egyptians will accept most major currencies rather than to go without, it is better for everyone involved if you change your money for tipping in Egypt into Egyptian pounds. The reasons are twofold.
You will get a lot more for your money and your tipping will go further.
Egyptians prefer money that they do not have to change. Coins particularly, are almost impossible to change.
It is worth changing some tipping money in advance so you are never without small denominations of notes with which to tip. When you get given small notes in change hang on to them, they are gold dust!
You do not need to tip everyone that asks. If the service has been greatly substandard (do not judge too harshly here, keep it relative to Egypt rather than what you would expect in your own country), or you have not received the service you wanted, feel free not to tip.
It is not customary to tip taxi drivers. If you agree a price for the ride beforehand they will usually factor in their tip to that figure. So you simply need to pay them the agreed amount.
Finally, you are bound to come into contact with children in Egypt holding their palms out to you and asking for baksheesh. Now, there is always somewhere better for children to be than out in the street begging for money and so by giving money to them you are simply reaffirming this pattern of behaviour and encouraging them NOT to be doing something more productive such as studying and learning.
You may find the constant requests for baksheesh is annoying, but remember that Egypt is a 3rd world country and every visitor is thought of as rich. Just say “sorry” and they will normally go away.
If a trader gets annoying, just say "no thank you" and walk away from him.