Memphis Tours Tipping Guidelines

‘Baksheesh’. The word roughly translates to English as ‘tips’, but its meaning is much more nuanced in Egypt culture and tips are common in many situations. This guide is designed to help you get more comfortable with tipping customs in Egypt.
A water Pipe Waiter
A water Pipe Waiter
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While in Egypt, you will inevitably encounter requests for ‘baksheesh’. The word roughly translates to English as ‘tips’, but its meaning is much more nuanced in Egypt culture and tips are common in many situations. This guide is designed to help you get more comfortable with tipping customs in Egypt.
Baksheesh 1, 2, 3...
 
Baksheesh can refer to three types of transactions: an additional payment for services provided (traditional tipping), a bribe for bending or circumventing the rules, or a charitable gift. Tips in Egypt often provide a vital supplement to low wages and it is part of the culture to provide a small tip for a number of simple services. As a result, you may see requests for a tip in some unexpected situations.

As mentioned earlier, baksheesh can be both a payment for services and a payment for bending the rules. A small tip might be able to make the keys to a locked tomb appear or cause a security guard to change his mind about closing time. However, it is wise to remember that an unsolicited offer to help seldom comes without the expectation of a little baksheesh, especially at tourism sites.
When to Tip
 
Tipping can have a big impact on your experience here. Don’t hesitate to tip generously and you will be sure to get some special treatment. Below is a list of common situations where it would be appropriate to provide a tip and the appropriate amount.

  • Restaurants: It is still customary to leave a 5-10% in addition to the service charge included in the bill. If you smoke shisha, give 2-4 LE to the man who tends the coals.
  • Hotel Staff: 5 LE is enough for bellman and other service employees.
  • Tour Guides: approximately 20 LE a person for a full day tour is acceptable, but only if you feel comfortable with the quality of the tour. Drivers can be tipped half that amount.
  • Bathroom Attendants: 1 LE is appropriate
  • Attendants at Archeological Sites: 5 LE is appropriate for any extra favors you receive. Only tip if you have specifically accepted an offer or asked for something.

When Not to Tip
 
In general, providing a tip is completely up to you. If you feel that exchanging money in a given situation is inappropriate or if anyone is pressuring you to pay, then do not hesitate to refuse. Below are some situations when tipping is not necessary or appropriate.

  • In exchange for directions or an answer to a question. You will likely find it impossible to give someone money for helping you find your way. This is just Egyptian hospitality.
  • If someone asks you to pay for something you have not asked for.
  • In a taxi. Follow the meter and refuse if the driver asks for more. If there is no meter, agree on a price when you get in.
We hope this guide answers some of your questions. Feel free to ask your Memphis Tours representative if you have any more. The most important thing is that you enjoy your time here!
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