Egypt - Money & Costs
Money & Costs in EgyptCurrency: Egyptian pound
Egypt is terrific value. It is possible to spend as little as US$15 a day if you're prepared to stay in the cheapest hotels and hostels, eat local vendors' food, limit yourself to one historic site a day and travel on packed third-class trains. The major expense for the traveller in Egypt is transport and site entry - the latter has taken some severe jumps in recent years. Entry to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo costs around US$10, including entry into the must-see Royal Mummy Room.
Be aware that pickpockets operate around tourist sites, so avoid carrying money in your back pocket. Well-known brands of travellers cheques will be honoured everywhere, although having travellers cheques in US dollars or UK pounds will prove the most hassle-free. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, JCB and Eurocards are accepted at various stores and hotels displaying the appropriate signage. Visa and MasterCard can be used to obtain cash advances at Banque Misr and National Bank of Egypt branches.
A service charge of 12% applies in restaurants and hotels, and a sales tax of 5-7% is also levied. Additionally, you might find yourself paying a further 1-4% tax on upper-end accommodation, so it is possible to find that a 23% tax has been added to the price you've been quoted for a mid-range or top-end hotel room.
Bargaining is a part of life in Egypt and virtually everything is open to negotiation. This includes your room for the night, your lunchtime roadside snack and the felucca you ride down the Nile in. The few rules to observe in the bazaars are these: never offer a price that you're not prepared to pay, get a feel for the real price before you begin haggling, take your time and enjoy the friendly sport of it (which might include a cup of tea from the vendor), and remember that you're never obliged to buy anything - you won't offend anyone.