The Art of Shopping in Egypt

May 28, 2010
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For many first-time travelers to Egypt, dealing with aggressive vendors can be a daunting task. Long-time Wings Over the Nile leader & Product Development Director Bill Robison shares his tips for shopping on your Nile cruise.

  • Bargaining is expected.
    While bargaining and aggressive sales tactics can put guests on edge, they are the norm in Egypt. Very heavy competition and years of experience have made some local vendors quite aggressive and tricky. Some of them rely on you getting nervous and scared, so show them you are in charge and you’ll get a much better deal.
  • ALWAYS negotiate the price in advance, do not pay in advance, and assume nothing.
    I've seen guests offered a “$5 donkey ride” for which they pay in advance, only to find out that it’s an additional $5 to stop the donkey from moving so they could get off.
  • If you want a better price, you must be able to walk away.
    Items are always cheaper as you are going back to the coach rather than coming off it.
  • Telling a vendor “no” does not mean “no.”
    “No” is a bargaining tool and means you don’t like the price. If you keep responding by saying no, the vendor still has your attention. The only infallible way to get rid of a vendor in Egypt is to say absolutely nothing.

When it doubt, your Expedition Leader and Egyptologist are there to assist you. Call on them for their local expertise. And don’t forget, many vendors are personable and honest, and a true joy to meet.