Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for Egypt
Arabic is the official language. Most people, though, also understand English. It is easy to get by with English, but it is recommended to learn a few Arabic words. It acts as an ice-breaker & does elicit a smile from most Egyptians. You can carry very little cash. It is sufficient to carry some Dollars/ Euros / Pounds to use at the airports during your flight to Egypt. Keep some more of these currencies as an emergency, to use when ATMs are not working. Do not drink water from anywhere. Stick to bottled water. Do not eat raw food, be careful where you eat salads or drink fresh juice & as a rule, eat food that’s piping hot.
What currency is used in Egypt?
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE). All major international currencies such as Euros, Pounds Sterling, US dollars, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars, etc. are recognized here to be exchanged for local currency. You may have some difficulty exchanging minor currencies. Strongly recommended to always ask bank clerk to give you small denominations of Egyptian pounds, they always will try to give you big notes of 200 or 100 pounds, smaller notes will help you a lot all over your stay.
In Egypt, most of the banks are open from Sunday to Thursday; working hours being 0830 to 1400, though banks at the airports and the major entry ports are open 24 hours daily. Most of the major credit/debit cards, such as American Express, MasterCard, Visa, all Euro cards and JCB, are widely accepted in various hotels and shops. If you want to use an ATM machine, they mostly accept Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus cards. If you can't find an ATM machine in your vicinity, you can still obtain cash if you go to any of the Misr Bank branches.
How do I get around in Egypt?
Travelling across Egypt can be tricky without proper planning. Distances by road are long & it is important to choose the right mode of transport to get to a place, if you want to avoid tiring out. All flights are mostly on time & your luggage reaches you, more often than not. At the airports, make sure you are alert…..flight boarding announcements are poor and often announced by the ground staff, without any public announcement system. Pick up a local SIM card for your mobile as soon as you reach Egypt…..it helps to make calls to your hotel / guide, as there are no coin operated public phones available.
In places along the Nile, you have plenty of options to travel back & forth from the east to west banks……feluccas, motorboats, the public ferry (baladi). Haggle hard for felucca & motor-boat prices. On road, you can use taxis or a Caleche (horse carriage). Both require haggling for prices. Obviously, locals pay considerably less than you do. Ask for what you feel is a fare price. If it does not work for them, they will refuse. You can always try the next cab. You can ask your hotel staff before leaving each morning, for approximate costs between some places......bargain based on that.
Travel money for Egypt
Save money and time by Ordering your Egyptian Pound online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick
up the EGP cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to
use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate,
but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to
Pay in Egyptian Pound otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Egypt
When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to Egypt you need to start with finding out the latest Egyptian Pound exchange rate for foreign-transfers, which can be very different to the wholesale rate.
Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much
you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.
Get a better deal for foreign transfers to Egypt
When sending money to Egypt it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers.
To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Egyptian Pound amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted EGP amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Egypt.
Use the above Send to Egyptian Pound calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more -
end result is more Egyptian Pound deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!