Why should I never visit Cairo

Dos and Don’ts in Egypt: A little holiday etiquette

Our Holiday Checkers Astrid and Andreas speak plain text today. Because they too have already witnessed how one or the other vacationer has behaved wrongly. Whether you have reserved loungers for hours or romp at the breakfast buffet - find out in your latest article what is not possible, especially in Egypt (and actually everywhere else).

One would think that everyone who goes on vacation has a good mood, respect and manners in their luggage. But sometimes it is really ashamed of others. Is it simply ignorance, carelessness or do some people have different values ​​on vacation than at home? Here are a few thoughts under the aspect: "As guests, we travel to a different culture that we should respect and respect."

Language in Egypt

Egypt is in North Africa and colloquial Arabic is spoken here. Schooling is still in its infancy and only wealthy families can afford private foreign language schools. We find these trained offspring less in restaurants and hotels. People from simple backgrounds all over the country work in tourism: They come from Aswan, Luxor, Qina, Mansura, Cairo or Alexandria and want to support their families with their work in tourism.

When someone in Germany goes to the supermarket, phone shop, bank or restaurant and says: “Andak Maja wallah fi fahar?”, Then I want to see the employee's face. He will say: “What do you want?” Or “Ha?” Or “Künste det mal uf German sachen?” But never: “Wallah, andi, elhamdullelah!”

Why do the guests come here and speak to the receptionist, the bus driver, the tour guide or the restaurant manager in German? Just because we have a holiday area here that is loved by Germans, can we expect to be able to speak their mother tongue? Even if the Egyptians teach themselves languages ​​quickly, neither English nor any other language is compulsory in schools here.

Note: Many hotels have adapted to German guests and have a German-speaking tour guide and / or guest service. Nevertheless, you should always speak to the staff in English first and ask who speaks German if your English skills are insufficient.
tip: Salam aleikum (hello), aleikum salam (reply), shukran (thank you) and minfadlak (please) are empty phrases that show that you are aware of being a guest in a foreign country.

This is how payment works in Egypt

Yes, we are in a third world country where the costs for a foreigner living here are much cheaper than for a tourist. But the costs are significantly lower for both compared to Germany. That's why I find the tiresome discussions on the Internet or, even worse, on-site, very tiring and embarrassing, such as: "What can Antinal cost in the pharmacy or a taxi ride?" should be taken into account.

Converting the local wage to euros does not provide any insight into the value of the money. Basically, for an Egyptian, one pound is about the value of one euro in terms of earnings. So here, too, between £ 1,500 and £ 4,000 is earned.

But the cost has risen dramatically since the pound fell and subsidies were cut on staple foods and gasoline. So five pounds for petrol in Egypt is like paying five euros per liter in Germany. What do you think would happen in Germany if petrol had risen to five euros within 18 months?

Let's stick with the examples: In Germany, a kilometer journey by taxi costs between one and 2.50 euros, depending on the city, plus a flat-rate travel fee of around 1.50 euros. So I pay around 40 to 90 euros for a trip from Makadi to the airport (around 35 kilometers).

In Egypt the kilometer costs four pounds. If I can get this trip for ten / 15 euros, then both will have a win-win situation. Significantly less than in Germany, and the taxi driver earned a little more from it.

If I buy the Antinal in the hotel in Makadi, I don't have to pay the ten euro taxi. That is why the Antinal in the hotel costs 10 euros. The service of providing an entire pharmacy for 500 guests also costs money. And do you really think other customers come to these hotel shops? He has to live from those who are there.

So leave the church in the village and pay a little more than in the shop on a shopping street, which has more customers and pays less rent. Convenience is also a kind of luxury one can afford.

Note: In many hotel complexes, public taxis / minibuses are not allowed to pick up guests. The guest has to walk to the next public street. The reason? Every hotel has a private chauffeur service that has to pay a lot of rent and is guaranteed to have guests as customers.

Is it customary to tip in Egypt?

Already at the airport you are confronted with the topic of tips: you are literally forced to carry your suitcase or your hand is held up just to load your luggage into the bus. Of course, as in Germany, the tip is included in the salary determination in the service professions.

But here too, tips are voluntary and should be earned through special service and friendliness. So you don't have to be afraid of giving someone nothing if they provide a service without being asked or even unintentionally.

On the other hand, you should like to thank friendly people who sweeten your holiday with generous tips.

Note: When paying in a restaurant, the same rule of thumb applies as in Germany: You give an additional ten percent of the invoice amount.

In a hotel with all inclusive you should tip "your waiter" or the cleaning staff in your room a dollar per person per day. And just give something to particularly friendly staff, for example the gardener or the cook behind the buffet, that's fun because you simply do something good for people who really have to work a lot for low wages. Also a kind of development aid!

On the cruise ships, five euros per person per day are mandatory and will be collected by the tour guide. This “compulsory tip” is included in the salary of the staff and has nothing to do with the “normal” tip. Just add this commitment to the travel price in your mind and then delete it from your mind.

tip: Coins in foreign currency are not exchanged by banks anywhere, so it would be great if you either already exchange for Egyptian pounds at home or take one-dollar bills with you for tips. In the meantime, tons of coins from Germany are likely to be in circulation in Luxor and Hurghada, which can no longer find their way home, as the guests who exchange also leave the change there as a means of payment.

What do I wear best in Egypt?

I still remember the Bavarian village where I grew up as a teenager (40 years ago). When the neighbour's grown daughter had put on tight, white jeans, the underwear of which could be seen quite clearly, her mother greeted her with horror. Bavaria is still pretty conservative even today in the country, also when it comes to clothing. Egypt too.

Clothing is always a controversial topic in forums and social networks. It's warm and you want to dress like summer, say some, you are in an Islamic country and have to cover yourself appropriately, say others.

Does summer clothing always have to be provocative at the same time? Also: tight, short clothing is often not irritating. Why not wear a chic swimsuit instead of a bikini and then in the evening wide pants with a shirt blouse? That is why I think about what to wear depending on whether I am protected from heat and mosquitoes and what fits my figure loosely and looks nice. Believe me, I've now bought a Galabea too!

Note: Nudism and topless are not allowed in Egypt, not even in the sauna. If you do not want to wear swimwear in the sauna for hygienic reasons, you should put a bath towel on your head and sit on the other bath towel.

But even outside of the hotel complex, I sometimes ask myself, have the personal shame and dress code really been forgotten at home? By the way, this often applies to men!

When I sit down in any street café in Germany in midsummer to watch the hustle and bustle, I see mini skirts, shorts, T-shirts. Have you ever seen a man walking around wearing only swimming trunks, buying drinks in the supermarket on the corner? Are women sitting across from you in the café, dressed only in bikini, drinking their cappuccino or eating a salad? No.

If I sit in Hurghada, I see men coming out of the shops who only go shopping in bathing trunks; and in the bars the women sit in bikini tops. By the way, what is the difference between a bikini and a bra? You could then walk around in your underwear right away.

Note: Street clothes for sports, swimwear for the street, sportswear in restaurants - find the mistake!
Tip: For shopping or strolling around town, just dress like you would in your hometown.

Alcohol in Egypt

You might think that a vacation only deserves the title “valuable” if you start drinking alcohol in the morning. The saying: "You should start with what you left off with in the evening" is taken very literally here. Do you really need alcohol for breakfast in order to be able to enjoy your vacation in a good mood?

At Oktoberfest you glow before, on vacation you glow afterwards.

Alcohol disinhibits some, makes others aggressive, others just fall asleep. In any case, it changes the receptivity and reaction time. The particular disadvantage of all-inclusive vacations is that people drink a lot more because they think they have not otherwise used everything that has been paid for.

Note: Everyone should know for themselves how they react to which amount of alcohol. An all-inclusive vacation is not a license for alcohol inappropriate behavior. It is inappropriate if I disturb someone else, regardless of whether they are a guest or an employee, whether verbally or physically. And if many a body defends itself against too much alcohol by throwing up in it, it is at least that you clean up your dirt yourself.
tip: At the latest when I notice that people are whispering or laughing when I appear, I should drastically reduce my alcohol consumption.

In Egypt, imported alcohol costs more than in Germany, so this all inclusive is not included. The local beer Stella and Luxor tastes good and is a great thirst quencher as a cyclist.

All Egyptian wines served in the hotels come from the El Gouna press, which fills 2,400 bottles an hour. If you want to treat yourself to a special drop with a good dinner, buy a bottle of Bursollei or Jardin, the bottle costs around 17 euros in the hotel.

tip: Sparkling wine is produced in Egypt using traditional bottle fermentation. The rosé in particular tastes excellent.
Note: As a thirst quencher, I recommend still water or lime juice. The chilled drinks in particular are often a reason for diarrhea in the heat. It's not because of the ice cubes, but rather because of the strong temperature differences.

A few rules of conduct for the pool or beach

The most famous morning sport is probably the "couch reservation"! You can see how busy tourists set off at sunrise to reserve their favorite spots. Of course, everyone gets upset about it and nobody admits to it. Particularly selfish guests even reserve two loungers, one on the beach and one by the pool. I find the variant that several loungers are reserved next to each other even more interesting, with sunglasses, a book and the pair of shoes you can use two more loungers.

I personally use Loungers on which just towels are deposited. I then gladly face the complaint why I dare to lie on "his couch". I then reply: "There are still so many loungers that are reserved and not used that you can use one of them." If you want to start a discussion with me, I will explain to you that you can use the loungers with the price of the trip paid but didn't buy the lounger.

tip: Of course, nobody will admit that they also reserve loungers. So try it my way and really don't reserve. If you are not as aggressive as I am, you can go to the guest service or bathing supervisor and ask to remove the towels from reserved loungers.
Note: In Egypt, money is quite consistently posted on the room bill for a lost towel, sometimes up to 20 euros. Personally, it would be too expensive for me to leave my bath towel unattended on a lounger for hours. If an angry guest steals this, you run out of loungers and pay for the towel.

In the pool / beach section, I would like to take up the topic of clothing again. It should go without saying that one accepts the customs of the host country. As already mentioned, topless or even nudism is not allowed, not even in the sauna. Even if it is not punished, it is disrespectful if especially the ladies in the hotel complexes only tan in bathing trunks. In addition, this freedom of movement embarrasses the staff.

Even if the restaurants are often located near the beach, this does not mean that it still belongs to the "bathing area" and therefore swimwear is not appropriate there. Also, I don't want to sit on a chair that someone has soaked with wet clothes.

Dining out in Egypt

There are really etiquette rules about this that we don't even want to address here. No, we start one step beforehand: Which simple basic rules should one observe when visiting a restaurant out of respect for the staff and those around them?

Let's start with a scene in the buffet restaurant: I walk up to a table and want to sit down, something irritates me. Oh, small changes on the clean table indicate that it has been reserved. There are glasses lying there, the napkin has been unfolded or a book has been placed. It looks like the same pattern as the sun loungers are reserved in the morning. I sit down at a clean, free table and order a drink. Full glasses at empty tables also show that someone is sitting here.

We go to the buffet. A first orientation is usually necessary in order to grasp the system of the structure, to get an overview of the offers and to determine where the clean plates are. Anyone who does not do this has disadvantages: they cannot find their favorite food very quickly and the food is cold by the time they are seated at the table.

I hate buffet! How can a cozy atmosphere develop when the fight for the top spot in the food is often combined with verbal testing of strength and physical exertion. The result: a loveless mess on the plate. It is better to close your eyes while eating, as it is well known that they eat with them. The hustle and bustle makes it impossible to enjoy. If you're lucky, you'll get back to your table without bruises on your body, sauce stains on your clothes and salad dressing from the person in front of you on your shoes, which has meanwhile been occupied by other guests because an overzealous waiter cleared our half-empty drinks.

Note: If you have all inclusive you don't have to eat the whole buffet alone or pack the leftovers and take them with you. The meal times may be used, so that you can take your time. In addition, the buffet is refilled until the end.
tip: A roast beef tastes great with mustard sauce. However, if you like to combine all courses on one plate, you have to expect to have to eat your roast beef with vanilla sauce from dessert, true to the motto: "Everything comes together in the stomach anyway!"

Here, too, the tiresome subject of the wardrobe needs to be addressed. I once asked a croupier at the casino why there is a dress code only for men. He said: “The ladies are always well dressed!” This is also reflected when you go to a restaurant!

tip: Dear men, a muscle shirt does not look good on most people, and a ribbed shirt belongs under somewhat attracted.


The customer is king, so he should also behave royally. He's booked services. He does not have the right to enforce his claims, even if the whole vacation is supposed to be wasted!

We Germans are very popular with the Egyptians because we play good football, because we produce good cars, because we behave and give good tips.

Help us to maintain this image! Thanks.

In this sense, have a nice stay - just browse through our current Egypt offers or get a few tips for your next trip in our large holiday guide.

Your vacation checkers

Astrid and Andreas