Egypt Travel Essentials: Money Matters


Money Matters

The unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound (LE), which is divided into 100 piasters. Pounds are issued in notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Coins are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 piasters. It is useful to have local currency for tipping or for shopping in smaller souks or local restaurants, and it is easy to change money at any hotel bank. US dollars are widely accepted in major tourist establishments, hotels, and souvenir shops.

There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers cheques, which may be brought into the country. However, passengers entering Egypt with Egyptian currency exceeding 1000 USD must declare this on arrival. We suggest that you only use travelers cheques and change small amounts of money as you go to avoid having large amounts of Egyptian currency left over at the end of your trip.

Currency Exchange

There is one rate of exchange controlled by the government, established daily and available from all banks. Currency may be exchanged through banks or currency exchange houses which can be found in most major cities, and are usually open from 10am till 9pm every day of the week. All major hotels will exchange major foreign currencies at the same rate as banks. You will be issued a receipt which must be retained to permit currency to be re-exchanged when leaving the country and as evidence that exchange of currency has been through official channels. Egyptian pounds may be converted back to foreign currency at the airport if you have kept all documentation relating to any currency exchange transactions, such as hotel and bar bills, shopping and foreign exchange receipts.

Banking hours

Are normally 9am till 2pm, Sunday through Thursday, closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Cairo Airport and the majority of major hotels in Cairo offer 24-hrs banking services. Please remember to have your passport on you as this will be required to effect any transaction.

Major credit cards

Such as MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted at major restaurants, almost all hotels, and many shops. American Express is less common but is still normally accepted at major hotels. Diners Club is hardly known in Egypt.


Tipping or "baksheesh" is a subject that even the most experienced traveler finds difficult. It is a very personal and individual matter and the decision of how much to give is strictly yours.

Hotel service charges and taxes are usually included in your holiday cost together with all portage of 2 pieces of baggage per person and service in bars and restaurants.

Tips to your drivers, guides, staff on board Nile cruise vessels and to your Egyptologist are usually not included in your tour price. We hope that the following guidelines will be helpful to you:

Drivers: You will generally have the same driver throughout your initial stay in Cairo. A tip is usually given on your last day in Cairo of approximately LE 10 per day per person. For drivers in Upper Egypt a tip of about LE 5 per day per person is appropriate.

Staff on board river vessels: Approximately LE 25/30 per day per person is suggested as a total tip to be divided amongst all the staff on Nile Cruise vessels.

Egyptologist/Guide: Approximately LE 25/30 per day per person is suggested.



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