Let’s start by addressing the second part of the title – you tip literally all the time for everything. If someone helps you back up in a parking lot, tip. If someone points out an interesting hieroglyphic, tip. If someone puts your bag on the security belt, tip. Egypt has a very manual and big tipping culture.

While it is a part of the culture, it is important to have a healthy sense of skepticism while visiting historical sites in particular. There are guards and police everywhere, and while they may encourage you to look at a particular nook or room, they will then hold out their hand for a tip while holding an automatic rifle. It is a bit unnerving at first, but you get used to it. Once you pay your ticket into a site, generally speaking all of it is available for free. With few exceptions, you should have total access. The police and guards are just trying to make a few extra bucks with the “value add” of pointing something out to you. Just say no when the hand comes out or avoid the spots where they try to lure in tourists.

Aside from that tipping quirk, see below what we tipped based on recommendations from our local guide:

Nile Cruise Boat Staff

Instead of tipping every time you get a drink, our guide recommended leaving a tip for the entire staff (chefs, servers, housekeeping) in the envelop at the lobby desk. The rule of thumb is $10 USD per person per day. We had a 4 day Nile Cruise so we left an $80 tip at the end of our stay. It was worth it too, as they did an amazing job and the service was fantastic on the cruise boat.

Tour Guides

A really fascinating part of Egyptian work culture, is the fact that all of our tour guides have masters in Egyptology and have to be certified by the board of tourism. Talk about a wealth of knowledge they were able to impart on us. The recommended tip for tour guides is $10 USD per person per day. It is important to know the last day with your tour guide as they occasionally trade off during the trip, so we had to give 4 separate guides tips throughout our 12 day stay when we were anticipating only one at the very end. Again, cash is king, so plan ahead and bring a lot of it or know where to get to an ATM easily.


If you have a private driver or a big bus driver, the tipping rule of thumb is $3 USD per person per day. It isn’t just tipping for them to drive you around, what we found is that they are more concierge with their work. They offer water every time you get back in the vehicle as well as tissues, wet wipes, hand sanitizer and sometimes sodas. You’re also tipping them to guard the vehicle if you want to leave backpacks, cameras or purses inside. We loved our driver in Cairo and on the last day when he took us to the airport he gave us some Egyptian Coffee to bring home and brew since he knew how much we loved coffee.

Tour Manager

Honestly, $0. I was annoyed with our tour managers because they rode shotgun to/from the airport and upsold us. That was all they did. We gave ours a $20 USD on the first night then stopped. They likely get kickbacks for selling things like the Pyramid Light Show and Luxor By Night attractions. No thanks, no value add worth tipping.


What is very common is for entrepreneurs / photographers to hang around the pyramids and use your phone to do a whole photoshoot for you. Our guide had a favorite person, and what we expect to be a quick Christmas card photo op turned into a 20 minute photoshoot and videographer session. The guy staged us, had us do silly things with our hands and did many Instagram worthy shots, assuming we were into that thing because we are young. We roll our eyes and laugh at 99% of the pictures, but it actually was pretty goofy and fun. We paid the pyramid photographer $20USD and a guy that took our picture outside the sphynx for 3min we paid 50EP.

Horse & Buggy Ride

If you travel to see the temple in Edfu, chances are you will take the 5min horse and buggy ride from the boat to the temple. After a fail (and way overpriced) horse ride in Luxor “Luxor by Night” at $35/person we were expecting this to be American prices. Not the case – it was just 50EP round trip paid when we were dropped off at the boat. Easiest tip ever.

Camel “Driver” Guy

Let me just say, the Camel ride was 100% worth it. I think it was $50-80 USD for two people that we has to pay the “boss man” and then the younger guy that took us on the riding tour we gave another 150EP to because he also did a 15min photoshoot with us and the camels. These people are hustlin’ us! This was worth it though, because how often are you going to ride camels around the pyramids?

Public Bathrooms

Yes, even the bathrooms at gas stations, museums and temples. There is always someone holding the toilet paper hostage before you enter. Keep small bills on hand because the going rate to “go” is 5EP and can scale up to 10-15EP. Rarely did I see the higher end, it was mostly 5EP.

Any other people you ended up tipping in Egypt?

Posted by:Allie

7 replies on “How Much and When to Tip in Egypt

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