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Egypt currency

I'm planning a trip to Egypt. I know there is a local currency but I wonder if they accept $US or euros as well. I know most people take credit cards but was wondering how much "walking around money" I may need in the local currency

Posted by
1834 posts

We just got back from Egypt 2 days ago. Egypt is a cash society. Most of the local people (restaurants, taxi drivers), would like local currency. Egyptian pound. You will need it, tipping for everything. ATM’s are all over!

Posted by
21264 posts

IF they accept euro or dollars, I guarantee that the exchange rate will favor them by a wide margin. It is not smart to use euro or dollars as a substitute for local currency. Take your debit card and find a bank owned ATM. Take as little cash as you need. Don't know how long you plan to be in Egypt but I would have at least 750 Egypt pounds (roughly $50 US) in my pocket. You can always get more from an ATM.

Posted by
6758 posts

In any country (no matter what it is), use that country's local currency.

Posted by
221 posts

The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (E£) which is divided into 100 piastres. Credit cards are usuallyaccepted only at hotels and expensive restaurants and shops, otherwise expect to pay cash and to have to haggle (bargain) especially at the many gift stalls at the sites. I find bargaining a real pain. Make sure you get lots of E£1 notes to use as baksheesh (tips).

Posted by
21264 posts

Since one Egypt pound is worth about 6 US cents, that is not much of a tip. I don't think I would bother to carry one pound Egypt notes. That is like a few pennies in your pocket.

Posted by
3254 posts

baksheesh I would translate more as "bribe," not "tip."

a small amount of money or a present that is given to someone as a bribe, to persuade them to do something, sometimes something dishonest

"I had to give the train station ticket salesman baksheesh in order for him to issue me a ticket."

"I had to pay baksheesh to get the immigration official to stamp my passport."

Posted by
1191 posts

When bargaining, don’t open your wallet during the bargaining process. If they see how much money you have then they will want more.

Posted by
375 posts

Tom is correct. "Baksheesh" (loosely meant to convey the demand "share the wealth") is more of a bribe. When bicycling the length of the Nile Valley, we were often accosted by groups of children running after us and throwing rocks while screaming for baksheesh. Quite the unforgettable experience.

Posted by
4948 posts

I visited Egypt last was in 1985 and the Egyptian Pound was currency controlled. There was a black market were you could exchange with dollars and get about 25% more pounds for your dollars. Not sure if that is still the case.

Posted by
42 posts

I was just there last month. Many places that deal with tourists will take dollars (and I suppose euros) but as others have said, better to have local currency. Current exchange rate is about 16 pounds per U.S. dollar. There is no such thing as a one-pound note -- the smallest note is 5 pounds. There are one-pound coins but I never saw one in circulation, let alone any smaller piaster coins -- I had to ask my guide to show me one. Normal tip (which you can call baksheesh) for a restroom attendant, hotel bellman or someone who helps you see something special in a tomb is 5 or 10. There are lots of ATMs. Like many other third world countries there seems to be a perennial difficulty for anyone to make change. ATMs tend to give 100 or 200 pound notes which can be hard to break. Do that anywhere you can that seems like a place that should be able to do it (such as in a restaurant), even if they may fuss a bit asking if you have "small money" because businesses like to hoard small bills too, or a bank will give smaller bills for your big ones. The more smaller bills you have (5, 10, 20) the easier it is to make purchases and give the right tip. If you have U.S. cash as well (and not a bad idea to have some of that) then also, smaller bills such as a stash of one-dollar bills is good. Don't try to pay anything with foreign coins, as they can only exchange the bills.

Posted by
3254 posts

Normal tip (which you can call baksheesh)

The fact that tip and bribe, very different concepts in the West, are the same word tells you a lot about the culture.

Posted by
577 posts

What is the tip amount for tour guides, drivers?

Posted by
6763 posts

And have Egyptian coins for tips for cleaners/ attendants to use rest rooms. The only time I refused was in the airport.

Posted by
42 posts

A normal rest room tip is a 5 pound note (about 30 U.S. cents). They do expect it, and not unreasonably in my opinion -- I sure would not like to sit in a toilet all day and keep it clean in the hope of 30 cent tips. For guides and drivers, I think it can vary greatly depending on what you get and the payment arrangement you make with them. For the wonderful, knowledgeable guide who led our group tour for two weeks and provided 24/7 service, I tipped about $200 U.S. at the end (a bit above the U.S. tour company's recommendation of about $10 per person in the group per day). For the great, hardworking crew of a Nile cruise yacht (a "dahabiyya"), about $15 U.S. per day (5 day cruise -- collective tip, for the crew to share per their own arrangements). These were situations where the tour costs were prepaid in advance to the tour company, and much of the normal daily small tipping was covered from that by our guide (tips for restaurant waiters at group meals, for our bus or motorboat drivers, hotel luggage porters, etc.), but the tip for the guide herself and the yacht crew from the tour participants were understood to be an additional customary part of their compensation.

Posted by
31 posts

I was in Egypt May of this year. In major cities & Nile river cruises, U.S. dollars were readily accepted as tips by guides/hotel staff. Since it's difficult to find small bills/coins of Egyptian currency, it makes sense to bring alot of $1 USD bills for tipping. (It's easier than trying to find small bills while there & you'll appear v. generous.) Shops & restaurants wanted Egyptian currency or credit cards. I used Uber to book/pay electronically for transportation around Cairo. Had no problems using credit cards for meals, or using debit card to obtain Egyptian pounds from ATM.

Posted by
6763 posts

We used Egyptian coins for tips in rest rooms. Go to a bank and get a couple of rolls of coins.

Posted by
124 posts

Omigosh, this thread was so helpful! I am headed to Egypt next month.