For international visitors to Egypt, the currency is an important part of planning the trip. Egyptian money can be obtained from banks and exchange bureaus in most countries, as well as at airports and in Egypt itself.
The essential things to know are what the currency of Egypt is, how much it is worth, how much travelers will need, and the best way to obtain more Egyptian money while in the country.
What Is the Currency of Egypt
The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, variously abbreviated as E£, £E, EGP, or LE (livre égyptienne).
The Egyptian pound is made up of 100 piastres/piasters or 1,000 milliemes.
At the time of writing, 1 EGP is worth around 0.06 USD. This means for US$1, you will get around E£15.
Bear in mind that exchange rates fluctuate over time. This is intended as a rough guide. Travelers should always check the current exchange rate before changing currency.
How Much Egyptian Money Do Visitors Need?
Each traveler has a different budget, but estimates of daily costs in Egypt for 3 price ranges are listed below.
- Basic double room: EGP 170
- Food, e.g. a falafel sandwich: EGP 2.50
- 1st-class train ticket from Cairo to Luxor: EGP 113–203
Midrange options for a budget of between E£600 and E£800 can expect the following approximate prices in Egypt:
- Midrange double room with air conditioning: US$30
- Two sit-down meals: EGP 120
- Car and driver: EGP 350
- Flight from Cairo to Luxor: from EGP 650
Top-end prices for the services of Egypt, for travelers whose budget is over E£1800, are around the following on average (but can vary—luxury services can cost almost anything, depending on exclusivity and prestige):
- Luxury hotel room: US$150
- Two sit-down meals: EGP 300
- Personal tour guide/driver: EGP 100 per hour
- High-end Nile cruise: from US$175 per person per night
Admission to major tourist attractions can cost between E£60 and E£200 depending on the site.
Can I Withdraw Money in Egypt
For travelers who need to withdraw currency in Egypt itself, ATMs are readily available in most major Egyptian towns and cities. Visitors to Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria, and Sharm El Sheikh can expect to find cash machines relatively easily.
Some ATMs have a limit on the amount of money that can be withdrawn at one time. This limit is typically E£2,000. ATMs belonging to the Banque du Caire allow the user to withdraw larger amounts.
The most reliable cash machines for withdrawing money in Egypt include the following:
- Banque du Caire
- Banque Misr
- Egyptian American Bank
It is worth noting that in smaller towns and more remote locations, it may be difficult to find a cash machine. It is advisable for visitors heading to destinations in Middle Egypt and the oases, for example, to withdraw a sufficient amount of Egyptian currency before traveling to these locations.
Can You Pay By Credit Card in Egypt?
Similar to the situation with ATMs, credit and debit cards will almost certainly be accepted in major cities and tourist resorts, but remote areas often lack the technology to use them.
In urban areas, most mid-range and high-end hotels, restaurants, and other services will accept all major cards. It is not uncommon to be charged a service fee per transaction.
It is recommended that international visitors keep receipts for all transactions, as there have been reported cases of Egyptian businesses, particularly shop owners, adding zeros to the charge.
Where Can I Exchange Egyptian Pounds?
There are various places where currency can be changed into Egyptian pounds:
- Amex offices
- Travel Choice Egypt (formerly Thomas Cook) offices
- Commercial banks
- Foreign exchange bureaus
- Certain hotels
Some of these may charge commission; however, exchange rates no longer vary.
British pounds sterling (GBP), euros (EUR), and US dollars (USD) are the easiest currencies to change into EGP and back again at the end of the trip.
How Easy Is It to Change Money at the Airport?
Changing money at major Egyptian airports, such as Cairo, is very easy and the exchange rates are similar to those at banks elsewhere in the country. Few travelers report having any problems changing currency at the airport.
Advice for Travel to Egypt on a Budget
Foreign nationals on vacation in Egypt often find it useful to be aware of certain local customs with regards to money. Haggling, for example, is a way of life when it comes to shopping in souqs and markets.
The fact that everyone bargains over prices should be treated as a game rather than a battle or an annoyance. The basic “rules” of haggling are:
- Decide how much you are willing to pay for an item
- Express a casual interest
- Offer a lower price than the vendor offers
- Do not display any sign of excitement/feign disinterest
- Walk away if you cannot agree on a price with the vendor
It is a good idea to compare prices before bargaining to give yourself an idea of the retail value and price range.
Walking away when an agreement cannot be reached may well lead the vendor to accept your offer.
Buying a memento of an Egyptian holiday by haggling gives the traveler a great story and an authentic experience.
How Much Should You Tip in Egypt?
Tipping, known as “baksheesh”, is customary in Egypt. Most restaurants, cafés, guides, and certain other services will expect a certain amount, and small change tips are given almost everywhere.
Some approximate amounts for tips at different locations are as follows:
- Cafés: E£5–10
- Restaurants: 10–15%, depending on how fancy the establishment is
- Metered taxis: Round up the fare on the meter or offer around 5% extra
- Guards at tourist sites: E£5–20
- Mosque attendants: E£5–10 for shoe covers; more if they provide a guide service or allow you to climb a minaret.
How Much Cash Can I Take to Egypt?
Egyptian customs regulations stipulate that no more than EGP 5,000 can be taken in or out of the country by each individual.
In terms of other currencies, there is no limit to the amount that can be brought into Egypt, although anyone bringing over USD 10,000 must declare the money on arrival at customs.
Some valuables, such as electrical equipment and cameras must also be declared.
Travelers should also ensure that they have any necessary authorization to enter the country and present valid documentation to prove this at border control. For all but a select few nationalities, this will mean some sort of visa.
Citizens of various countries, including the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, and all EU countries can apply in advance for an Egypt eVisa.
The quick and simple online application process means that the traveler avoids having to go to an embassy or stand in line at the border waiting for a visa on arrival. It takes around 10 minutes to complete the Egypt eVisa application form.
Travelers can check the eVisa requirements for Egypt to see if they are eligible.