Sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance
Thinking about visiting Jordan? Then you wouldn’t be wrong to do so, the country is incredible!
Jordan is a fascinating country full of unique global attractions, ancient history, delicious food, warm hospitable people, and endless adventure.
A trip to Jordan will surpass all of your expectations. People raved about it to me, and when I finally visited in 2022, I raved about it to others – including y’all!
If you’re planning to travel to Jordan, there are some important things that you should know first. There are a lot of cultural, religious, and general planning considerations you need to consider.
For this guide on things to know before you travel to Jordan, I’ve broken it into sections on several topics such as why visit Jordan, culture and etiquette, travel logistics, and food and drink.
So if you’re ready to explore the Wadi Rum and Petra, read on for essential travel tips for Jordan!
Fast Facts of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:
- Capital City: Amman 4.5 mil
- Currency: Jordanian Dinar (JD)
- Rulers: Constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses. King Abdullah II is head of state
- Religion: Muslim-majority, but Christians, Jews and people of various beliefs coexist peacefully here.
- Language: Arabic, but English is quite widely spoken, especially in the cities and tourist areas.
- The majority of Jordanians are Arabs, having descended from Arabia.
What Makes Jordan Unique?
You might be on the fence about visiting Jordan, and that’s ok. But allow me to sway your opinion…here are some top reasons to visit Jordan.
It Has Centuries of Fascinating History
The history of Jordan is long and rich stretching from the paleolithic era through the ancient Nabateans and biblical times to the current Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The capital city, Amman is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities with a history spanning nine millennia!
History lovers will be impressed with the plethora of experiences in Jordan that help tell these stories.
You See Top Global Attractions, Wonders of the World, and UNESCO Heritage Sites
It’s a small country, but Jordan packs in some of the best attractions in the world.
- Most well-known is the ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO world Heritage site AND New Wonders of the World.
- Wadi Rum Protected Area is a desert canyon and UNESCO site popular for desert safaris and Bedouin experiences.
- The ancient city of Jerash is considered one of the best-preserved Roman-era cities in the world.
- The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, and 8% richer in Oxygen, and full of wonderful minerals for your body. It’s so salty you can float on it. Be sure to slather your body in that free and nutrient-rich Dead Sea mud!
Plus there are many …..
Experience Unique Holy Land Experiences
Many people visit Jordan on a Holy Land pilgrimage… The Holy Land is an area of the Middle East where events of the Bible happened.
In Jordan, you’ll find the:
- famous Madaba Mosaic Map, which was created in the 6th Century to help Pilgrims find their way around the Holy Land.
- Mount Nebo is a historical sight of huge religious significance. It’s the place where Moses looked out over the Promised Land of Canaan.
- Bethany Beyond the Jordan is where Jesus was baptized by St John the Baptist. Multiple sources prove that this was the exact place pilgrims traveled for thousands of years to honor Jesus, St John, and the beginnings of Christianity.
Jordanians are friendly and hospitable
I fell in love with the people on my first transfer ride from the airport with Khalid. During our 40-minute drive he taught me a lot about the history and culture of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (through a fun game format). You can read more about that here.
The same warm interactions continued throughout the Jordan trip, even with the two young men in the shawarma shop, who attempted to understand the ineffective Google translate for “I can’t eat gluten.”
Try to speak to the locals as you travel through Jordan – even sit down to tea with them – and hire local Jordan tour guides, who are a wealth of knowledge on culture and history.
You can also seek out experiences like homestay dinners with local Jordanians like we did with this Bedouin family in Petra.
Jordan is quite a liberal country
You may be surprised to learn that Jordan is quite an open-minded and liberal country, probably the most in the Arab world. Their constitution allows for freedom of press and free speech HOWEVER, you can’t speak bad about the Royal family – as that will land you in jail!
The Jordanian government takes good care of its citizens offering free and high-quality education and healthcare.
They also take great care of their large population of refugees, consisting of forced migrants from Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.
I was surprised by the many conversations I had with locals at how accepting they were of other religious beliefs and nationalities. However, there are still some topics that are sensitive, one in particular, is the strained relations with Israel.
Always be open-minded and respectful with conversations – curiosity not judgment.
Things to Know Before Visiting Jordan
So now you are well and truly clued up about why Jordan is worth visiting. Let’s take a look at the practical things you should know before a trip to Jordan. Beginning with…
What do I need to Travel to Jordan?
Before we go into some tips for traveling in Jordan, let’s quickly discuss what you need to get to Jordan.
Getting to Jordan
How you get to Jordan depends on where you are coming from. You can get to Jordan from almost any country on a daily basis, however, flights may not be direct.
The main airport in Jordan is Queen Alia International Airport.
I flew into Queen Alia on Qatar Airways. My route was Raleigh, North Carolina to JFK, to Doha (Qatar) to Amman. It took about 24 hours altogether.
There are also overland border crossings from Israel and Egypt.
In general, most international visitors require a visa in order to enter Jordan.
- If you are traveling to Jordan for less than one month can obtain a Single-Entry Visa upon arrival at the airport or border crossing. Costs around 40 JD (56 USD).
- A Double Entry visa must be purchased in advance from your local Jordanian embassy. It allows you stay in Jordan for up to three months. costs around 60 JD (85 USD).
- A Multiple Entry Visa allows you to stay up to 6 months in Jordan with multiple entries. Purchase in advance. The visa costs 120 JD (170 USD).
You MUST check the procedure for your nationality as it can vary! Also, check on prices as they can change and exchange rates fluctuate. That’s your due diligence!
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This Jordan travel tips post is sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance and all opinions and advice are our own.
The Jordan pass
If visiting a few of the top attractions in Jordan, consider the Jordan Pass. It gives you access to more than forty attractions including the Roman Theater, Jerash, and the Citadel mentioned in this post on things to do in Amman.
If you purchase the pass before arrival and stay for a minimum of 3 nights, the pass will be waiving any tourist entry visa fees. Visit the official website to find the right Jordan Pass package for you.
It isn’t an official card or ticket, but a QR code and PDF. This means you must purchase it before you arrive to allow time for the pass to arrive in your emails.
Once you receive your pass, you get access to over 40 attractions including the Wadi Rum, Amman Citadel, Jordan Archeological Museum, and Petra.
The Basic Jordan pass costs 70 JD. Easy math will tell you what a great deal it is when The Jordan visa-on-arrival costs 40 JOD, and a 1-day pass for Petra costs 50 JOD.
Culture and Etiquette
Who are the Bedouins?
Bedouin comes from the word, badawī which means desert dwellers. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East.
Bedouin tribes are thought to have come to Jordan from the Arabian Peninsula as early as the 14th century.
The Bedouins live in brown or black colored tents made from goat hair. As nomads they tend to move every 3 to 4 months.
Camels are an important part of Bedouin life, as a source of food, transport, and a sign of wealth.
Wadi Rum desert is where most travelers visit for Bedouin experiences. You can ride camels and visit a Bedouin camp.
We took a short 20-minute ride to a Bedouin camp. When we arrived, a group of robed Bedouin men brewed us sage tea over an open fire and Osama shared more with us about their lifestyle.
A Bedouin family invited us to their open fire near the tent where they demonstrated how they cooked two types of bread – one thick and one thin – while we stood in the glow of the afternoon light deepening the colors and textures of the surrounding red rocks.
Wearing a Bedouin scarf
A very popular thing to do when visiting Wadi Rum, the home of the Bedouins, is to wear the red and white checkered Bedouin scarf.
The Bedouins are accepting of tourists wearing their head scarves. I recommend you do it. They look beautiful and are very comfortable and will offer some protection from the desert heat.
Our guide, Osama, taught us how to tie up the scarf.
Men typically wear the black ring to hold the scarf in place. As Osama told us, “if a woman wears the black ring it’s like a woman with a mustache.”
What should you wear in Jordan?
Even though Jordan is a more liberal Middle Eastern country, there is still an expectation to dress respectfully.
Women should wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid low-cut and shoulder-baring tops, short skirts, and shorts. There is no law requiring women to wear hijab but they may need to cover their hair, chest, and neck in places of worship, as well as knees and shoulders (for men and women).
Jeans are okay for women to wear, especially in Amman and big cities. And women in our group also wore leggings on occasion. It might be best to cover up with long shirts and jackets.
Know the weather for the time you are traveling. I traveled at the end of February, which means cooler weather. Yes! I also thought Jordan was desert hot year-round.
Be prepared for travel during Ramadan
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection, and prayer for Muslims, held in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The dates change each year so look up Ramadan times before you visit.
Ramadan will impact your Jordan travel as almost all cafes and restaurants nationwide will stay closed until sunset. You’ll be able to eat in the big hotel restaurants. When you do eat, it’s important to stay out of sight in respect for locals who are fasting.
It is illegal for alcohol to be sold for this month – possibly ok in 5-star restaurants. But check current regulations as they can change.
NO PDAs in Jordan
Jordanians greet each other often with hugs and kisses. This is considered acceptable personal interactions.
However, Jordanians will frown upon public displays of affection with a romantic partner.
Also, be aware, that Jordanian women may not want to have their photo taken alone with a man. Ameena in the photo above politely declined a photo with one of the men from our group. This could also be the same for a Jordanian man to have a photo with a foreign woman. Be aware of these cultural sensitivities.
LGBTQ is not criminalized but frowned upon
For any gay and lesbian travelers thinking of visiting Jordan, you’ll be pleased to know that Jordan is one of the few Middle Eastern countries where being gay is not criminalized and hasn’t been since 1951.
However, this does not mean you should draw attention to yourself. The LGBTQ community still receives prejudice and discrimination challenges, and the same rule of PDA applies.
In fact, homosexual displays of affection can be prosecuted for “disrupting public morality.”
English is widely spoken
The official language of Jordan is Arabic; however, most Jordanians speak English, especially in cities. If you’re ever unsure about where to go, you can always ask in English.
However, it’s always polite to learn a few simple phrases in the local language. Here are a few simple phrases you can learn:
- Hello / Welcome – Salam / Marhaba
- Thank you – Choukran
- No thank you – La choukran
- Excuse me – Afwan / min fadlak
- Goodbye – Ma’asalama
- Yes / No – Na’am / La
Is Jordan safe?
Many people have the misconception that Jordan is not safe because it’s situated in a region with a long history of conflict. Israel lies at its western border, Iraq at its eastern border, and Syria to the north.
Most countries advise against all but essential travel near Jordan’s borders with Syria and Iraq.
Apart from that, Jordan is a safe country to travel in. It’s more like the Switzerland of the Middle East. Politically it is a very stable country and violent crime is very rare.
Of course, as with any country you visit, use common sense, trust your instincts, and don’t put yourself in precarious situations.
But do not be afraid to travel to Jordan. I did not feel unsafe or afraid once.
When is the best time to visit Jordan?
The best time of year to visit Jordan is either spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) when the weather is very pleasant with warm days and pleasant evenings.
If you are not used to high summer temperatures, the summer months may be best avoided.
I recommend considering traveling in Jordan during the off-season i.e. winter. Our Globus Escape Tour of Jordan was in February.
Not only was it more affordable, it meant we weren’t dealing with crowds, especially at the extremely popular Petra. It was a wonderful time.
It was cooler, and we had one day of rain (which is quite rare), but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was warm enough even for me to swim in the Dead Sea.
You could get some chilly days though so be prepared.
What is the weather like?
You may think Jordan is hot year-round as it’s located in the desert, but Jordan can get quite cold, especially at night.
From November to February temperatures can hover in the single digits (Celsius) during the day and drop to freezing at night. They can sometimes even get snow. While it doesn’t rain a great deal, it can, and it did on our last day in Jordan.
I was worried it may have been too cold in Jordan during the winter, but the weather was pleasant for most of the trip. We even ended up with slight tans after a day in the warm desert sun in Petra.
In fact, I couldn’t imagine how uncomfortably hot it would be during the peak summer season, which is between May and September.
How long do you need in Jordan?
Jordan is almost the same size as Portugal and the state of Maine in the USA. It’s only a four hour’s drive from Amman in the north to Aqaba in the south, so you can fit in a fair amount in a short time.
But, as I’ve mentioned it is filled with incredible adventures, attractions, and experiences, so enough time is needed to give them justice.
We recommend at least 5-7days to travel Jordan. I think 10 to 14 days would be optimal.
What are the best things to see in Jordan?
The highlights for any person traveling to Jordan would be
- The Ancient City of Petra
- The Dead Sea
- Wadi Rum Desert
- Hiking in Wadi Mujib – The Grand Canyon of Jordan
- Bethany Beyond the Jordan – baptismal site of Jesus
- Mount Nebo
- Madaba Archaeological Park & Museum
- The Ancient Roman City of Jerash
- Amman (and the Ancient Citadel)
- Quseir Amra desert castle (UNESCO site_
- Kerack Castle
- Aqaba and the Red Sea
Accommodation in Jordan
No matter your style or budget, Jordan has accommodations to suit.
We stayed in three 4-star hotels on our trip.
All of them were excellent with amazing facilities, fantastic locations, comfortable and spacious rooms, and excellent customer service.
Most people base themselves in Amman, Madaba, the Dead Sea, Wadi Mousa (Petra), or Aqaba as their base and then visit the top Jordan attractions from there.
Getting Around Jordan
One of the best ways to get around Jordan is by driving your own rental car. Rental rates start at around $30 USD. Highways are in pretty good condition, you may have the odd speed bump, pothole, or camel crossing to navigate around.
But it won’t be like driving in the USA or Australia, so pay attention to speed limits and be alert.
Be mindful that while driving from city to city in Jordan is easy because the highways are well maintained, other drivers are your biggest danger. There is a speed limit, but no one follows it. Stay alert if you’re planning on driving in Jordan.
Want the best price for your car rental? In the 15+ years we’ve used RentalCars.com, we’ve never found a better price anywhere else. Plus, your booking can be cancelled or amended if your plans change. Click here to book your rental car in advance.
Yellow taxis operate on a meter and are a cheap way to get around in Jordan. Be sure to ask the driver to turn the meter on.
Be aware that peak traffic time is 2pm-5pm which may make it difficult to find a taxi and will be a much slower and more expensive fare.
Taxis are even willing to take you to destinations several hours away.
I did not experience getting around Jordan by bus, but from my research, it’s an affordable way of travel that’s best for those who have more time and patience. Buses will leave when full, so timetables don’t really matter or exist. You’ll have to turn up at the station and ask.
You may find joining a group tour to be the easiest way of getting around. I enjoyed my group tour of Jordan with Globus Journeys.
You get accommodation and transport covered with some meals and a local guide to ensure your experience is memorable, informative, and worry free. It helped me savor the experience with minimal effort.
As a busy mother running her own business, I don’t get a lot of time to plan trips, so I loved having everything taken care of, including having someone pick me up from Amman airport, help me clear immigration and customs, take me to an ATM to get cash and drop me off at the hotel. I just had to pack my bag, show up, and have fun.
Essentials to pack for Jordan
- Loose comfortable clothes practical for traveling
- Head scarf – perfect for covering our head for cultural and religious reasons but also to protect from the sun AND warm you up if it’s cold.
- Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Swimsuit. (I would choose a conservative swimsuit)
- Water bottle
- Layers if it’s cold including a waterproof jacket – may not need it but best to be safe
- Comfortable walking shoes, particularly if you plan to do any hiking our adventurous activities.
- Plug adaptor
- Shoes you can get wet (the bottom of the Dead Sea can be rocky so you may want to wear shoes)
NOTE: DRONES are not allowed in Jordan. You run the risk of having it confiscated at the airport/border. Drones are considered a security risk because of their proximity to the Israel border.
Power in Jordan
In Jordan, the power plugs and sockets are of type C, D, F, G, and J. You will need a power plug travel adapter to suit these. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
You should not need a voltage converter if you are charging your phones, camera batteries, and laptop. But if you want to use something like your own hair dryer or electric shaver, you will damage them if you don’t have a converter. (always check your appliances)
My tip – leave them at home! It’s one less thing to worry about. You’ll find hair dryers in the hotels, and disposable shavers will do the job. I don’t travel with converters.
Finding Wi-Fi in Jordan
I don’t ever recommend using international roaming on your home phone when traveling. It’s a rip-off. Some US companies may offer it as part of their plans, in that case knock your socks off. Our provider, AT&T charges $10 a day and it rarely works properly.
You can easily get a local sim card in Jordan. You just need an unlocked mobile phone and a passport.
At Queen Alia International Airport, you will find a mobile phone shop on the main floor of the arrivals section. Zain is the main mobile phone company in Jordan and you can purchase a sim for as little as 9JD (12.50-13USD), which will include enough minutes, data and texts to last an entire month.
Even easier is buying an eSim card. You can get one for Jordan from Airola here. All you do is install the app, choose your destination and package, install the eSim and then activate it.
It’s only $6.50 for 1 GB data for 7 days, or $18 for 3 GB data for 30 days.
$6 – 18 USD for your entire trip or $10 a day? You do the math. I’d rather spend that money on Jordanian wine!
I did not have an unlocked phone, so made use of the free wi-fi in the hotels and on our Globus tour bus. You can often find free wifi in cafes, restaurants, and at tourist attractions. The connection will be better in big cities like Amman.
Also note, streaming and uploading to social video platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels can chew up data. I understand posting your own stuff, but do you need to stream others when you are in such an exciting destination like Jordan.
Money & Costs
How much does it cost to travel to Jordan?
Jordan is an expensive country to visit. I found it quite on par with costs in the US. The Jordanian Dinar is also pretty strong, which will greatly affect your costs depending on what currency you use.
And of course, it all depends on your spending style. Choices like eating local street food, getting around on local buses, and staying in 1-star hotels will reduce your costs.
According to Budget your Trip, the average daily cost of most visitors to Jordan is JOD86 ($122) per day. A trip to Jordan for two people for one-week costs on average JOD1,208 ($1,703)
Accessing money in Jordan
In Jordan, you can use your credit card at most places, but always carry cash in case. ATM machines are available in most places but not in smaller towns.
Don’t visit Petra for one day (it’s more expensive)
Petra can be an expensive Jordan attraction, but well worth it. There is so much more to see in Petra than the Treasury. I recommend you allow for at least two days to see Petra, especially if you want to do some hiking. To encourage tourists to stay longer, admission prices go down the longer you stay.
If you spend the night in Jordan, the admission price is JD50 (70USD) a day in comparison to JD90 (127 USD) if you only visit for the day.
It costs JD55 for two days, and only JD60 for three.
Read More: A Guide to Petra and the extraordinary back door hike
Do you need to tip in Jordan?
Like most countries outside of the USA, tipping is not mandatory, nor expected, but of course, always appreciated.
Tourism workers are generally paid lower wages, so do rely somewhat on tips. Larger restaurants may add on a 10% tip to the bill. 5-10% is a good rule of thumb for you to leave behind.
Historic tour guides -especially in Petra – will generally expect tips as well. Leave about 1-5JD.
Food & Drink
What is Jordanian food like?
In a word. Delicious.
As we learned from Chef Maria at our Beit Sitti cooking class in Amman, the holy trinity for Arab cooking is lemon, tahini, and yogurt. You’ll also find herbs like sage, thyme, and mint in a wide variety of Middle Eastern dishes with quite a heavy focus on proteins.
Food is a communal eating experience, often done with hands, and a piece of bread in hand.
In Jordan, I was delighted to discover a cuisine that catered to my gluten-free requirements.
Even though I missed a few sticky sweets and warm pita straight from the oven to dip in oil and za’atar, I still felt compensated by the mouthwatering beef stews, lamb mansaf, upside-down chicken and rice, and fresh-from-the-garden salads. And pomegranate on everything!
Here are a few other favorite foods from Jordan:
- Foul Mudammas (fava beans) covered in spices and tahini
- Labneh (creamy yogurt) drizzled with local honey and topped with dried apricots, figs, and nuts
- Halawa, a sweet filling treat made of sesame seed paste and flavored with nuts
- Mutabal is baba ghanouj (most delicious when they roast the eggplant on the fire!)
- Kunafeh, which is goat’s cheese, and topped with wheat and pistachio. sweet but not overpowering. When in Amman get one from here – it is the oldest in the city and is said to be the best.
- Mansaf: national Jordanian dish, and it is a dish of meat (be it beef, lamb or chicken) cooked until fork-tender and coated in a rich yogurt sauce spiced with Baharat spices. Here is a mansaf recipe.
Vegetarians will have limited choices as many Jordanian dishes contain animal products, but there will still be options!
If dining with local Jordanians, be aware that not accepting food offerings can offend, so make room in your belly. Their generosity and hospitality extend to maximizing every spare inch of your stomach and more.
As with most Muslim countries, eating with hands is common, and etiquette is to eat with the right hand only, as the left is for toilet purposes. They will offer grace to foreigners!
You can read our friends at Uncornered Market’s post sharing more information on Jordanian dishes.
Can you drink the tap water in Jordan?
No. Tap water in Jordan is not drinkable. You can find bottles of water anywhere.
A clever idea is to carry your own reusable filtration water bottle. It will allow you to safely drink water and travel with an eco-conscious intention (plus save you money)
This one by Grayl comes highly recommended for good filtration and removal.
Make sure to drink plenty of water in Jordan, but don’t waste it as the country has a water shortage.
One of my other favorite Jordanian experiences was their refreshing lemon mint juices you could find everywhere – best taken with a view of The Monastery in Petra after a hot morning hike.
And tea is best taken with warm conversation!
Can you drink alcohol in Jordan?
YES! Alcohol is legal in Jordan. But it won’t be as prolific as you’ll find in Western countries – and it will have a much higher price tag as it’s taxed heavily.
Be mindful that you are traveling through a country that does not have a drinking culture, so consume in moderation.
FUN FACT: Jordan actually produces their own beer and wine! I had some Chardonnay while in Petra and was pleasantly surprised.
FAQs About Travel to Jordan
Here’s what people usually ask us about visiting Jordan:
Is Jordan a tourist friendly country?
Yes, Jordan is a tourist-friendly country. The people are very hospitable and approachable. It’s easy to get around, but if you feel like you need help, you can ask almost anyone as English is widely spoken.
Is Jordan worth traveling?
Yes, absolutely! It’s history and attractions are unlike anywhere else in the world and the people are very friendly.
Is Jordan safe in 2022?
Yes, Jordan is safe to visit as a tourist. Tourists should stay away from the borders between Israel and Syria, but the political situation in Jordan is stable.
More Jordan Travel Tips:
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