Money, haggling & tips
Our General Information on Egypt guide explains everything you need to know about paying for goods and services in Egypt. As a rule, the best exchange rates are found once you've arrived in Egypt - US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros are the easiest currencies to convert, and you can take cash out at the majority of ATMs. Prices are relatively low in shops and restaurants, and haggling is the norm in souks (markets) - decide how much you want to pay, offer the vendor slightly lower, and then banter and barter until you both agree! Finally, it's useful to keep small change on you, as tipping, locally known as baksheesh, is expected in cafes and restaurants, and for guides and taxi drivers.
Save time & money on trips
In general, you should have no problem chatting to friendly local guides to reserve your tours and day trips when you arrive in Egypt. However, tour operators often charge high prices for activities and excursions, and it can be very daunting trying to book a day trip once you're already abroad. If the idea of trying to decide which of the local vendors is offering the best value, safest and most interesting tour is stressful, save time and money by booking tours in advance online.
A moderate Islamic country, Egypt is a relatively conservative nation, and travelling there - as anywhere - you should do your best to respect local customs and norms to avoid awkward moments or offending anyone. We recommend...
- Dressing modestly: we know it's hot, but making sure shoulders and knees are covered, especially in rural areas and religious sites, is important. This doesn't apply when in resorts or on the beach, and larger towns and cities are usually more relaxed. Loose cotton or linen clothing will be more comfortable in the heat.
- Respecting religious sites and holidays: mosques are considered sacred ground, and you should remove your shoes before entering - most places provide foot covers and shoe storage, just follow what everyone else is doing! On Ramadan and other fasting days, refrain from eating and drinking in public out of respect.
- Watching your body language: it is considered disrespectful to show the soles of your feet. You should eat with your right hand, as the left hand is used for washing. It is not usually acceptable to touch a member of the opposite sex in public.
Before you go...
Before travelling to Egypt, make sure to:
- Read your government's latest travel advice.
- Ensure your passport has at least six months' validity left.
- Buy comprehensive travel insurance.
- Tell your bank you're going abroad.
- Check your mobile phone will work abroad.