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Respectful tipping in the Egypt, Jordan, and Israel???

We want to be respectful about tipping on our trip and cannot find straight answers about it - we're told to tip what we think is correct. But what is correct? When should we tip? Who should we tip? What amount should we tip? We have a private guide in Egypt who will be with us on a trip to Luxor all day. How much should he be tipped? We have another guide who will be with us for 6 hours (not the 14 that the Luxor guide will be). How much should we tip? Do we tip the hotel in Petra for arranging a tour of Petra for us? How much should we tip at restaurants? Do we tip the hotel desk in Israel who will be helping us with bus routes and the like? How much do we tip a taxi driver?

As you can tell, we are confused about tipping. If we have good service, how much is the tip? And we don't want to insult someone by offering a tip, when that isn't correct, nor do we want to under or over tip.

Thanks so much for any guidance. We have researched this to no avail. Also, we've been told that US dollars (except in Israel) rule the day. So we place to tip in USdollars in Egypt and Jordan.

Thanks again!

Posted by
4675 posts

General advice for Egypt, although ultimately tipping is a personal choice based on the interaction:

  • Tip in Egyptian Pounds where you can, not any other currency. If you are short of small Egyptian notes at any time then dollars etc are better than nothing but are not preferred. Never tip with foreign coins as they are valueless.
  • Guides: about 100 EGP per day. Your Luxor guide is a bit longer than this, the other shorter.
  • Taxis: not the custom to tip
  • Restaurants: 10% whether or not there is a so-called service charge
  • Hotels: 20 EGP for bags or other service including housekeeping (often an envelope for the latter)
  • Toilets: 1-5 EGP depending on what service you get and how clean they are (!). Usually ends up at the lower end ...

Tips when face to face are generally passed in a handshake, at least between 2 men.

Posted by
3112 posts

When I took a tour of Egypt our guide suggested smaller tips than some mentioned above, and the people providing the service seemed perfectly happy with the amount of the tip. I tipped the bellboy 5 pounds and the going rate for toilets was a half pound (although half pound notes were in short supply). For my taxi from the airport into Cairo, the dispatcher told me not to tip the cab driver as his tip was already included in the prepaid price.

Posted by
4675 posts

My advice is also based on that of a local and not one that relies on tips himself. As I said though in the end tipping is always a personal matter. Inflation may possibly also have an effect as this totals 50%+ over the last three years.

The thing I found the most interesting in a way was no tipping in taxis - simply because there seems to be tipping in every other service, even ones you wouldn't particularly expect.

Posted by
11286 posts

Douglas Duckett is a frequent traveler to Israel who has prepared his own free, non-commercial guide to the country. Here's a direct link to the PDF: https://amateurtraveler.com/travel-guides/israel%20travel%20guide.pdf

In it, he discusses tipping, saying that taxi drivers not only aren't tipped, but are used to exact amounts. In other words, if the fare comes to 59 shekels and you hand them 60 shekels, they'll be fishing for a 1 shekel coin until you tell them to keep it (which most people do).

The one taxi I took in Israel ripped me off, so you may want to investigate the Gett app, which allows you to prepay through the app (no Uber in Israel).

You would not tip the desk staff just for helping with buses. But they may or may not know the bus routes (in Tel Aviv, the desk staff at my hotel did not take buses, so they were of minimal help).

Posted by
14885 posts

Harold is correct about Israel. Taxi drivers don't expect tips. They should always use the meter (except for flat rates to/from the airport). I usually tip them anyway, but I don't take taxis very often. The only tips I leave in hotels are for the chambermaids, usually the equivalent of $1.50-2.00 a day. I do this everywhere and I leave the tip daily and often get better service. 10% is the expected tip at restaurants and is often included in the bill (check it!). If service is exceptional, I leave another 5%.