10 Jordan travel tips you need to know before you go

10 Jordan travel tips you need to know before you go

Are you about to plan a trip to the enchanting country, Jordan? Then you’ve come to the right place! Jordan is a country with a rich history, impressive landscapes, welcoming people, and delicious cuisine. In short, it’s a place with so much to see and experience. To make the most of your trip, I’ve gathered the essential Jordan travel tips. I’m here to help you plan an unforgettable journey to this stunning destination.

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Jordan, situated in the heart of the Middle East, is a land steeped in ancient history and natural beauty. It is renowned for iconic landmarks such as Petra, a city carved into rocks, and the enigmatic Wadi Rum desert, which, with its red sand dunes and impressive rock formations, creates an otherworldly landscape.

But Jordan offers more than just historical treasures and breathtaking landscapes. It’s also a place where you can immerse yourself in the deeply rooted culture, from local hospitality to delicious cuisine and traditional music.

Jordan local playing music

Moreover, Jordan is gaining increasing recognition as an adventure enthusiast’s haven. Hiking is a highly favored activity, with the renowned long-distance hiking trail, “the Jordan Trail,” offering an exhilarating journey. Furthermore, there are abundant opportunities for canyoning amidst the lush wadis.

Dana Nature reserve, Jordan

Jordan’s combination of natural beauty, rich history, and authentic experiences makes it a must-visit bucket-list destination. Whether you’re in search of culture, nature, adventure, or a mix of all three, Jordan is the place to be.

Because Jordan has so much to offer, my top  advice is to prepare for your journey thoroughly. This doesn’t mean planning every detail, but rather the key aspects. Below, you’ll find 10 Jordan travel tips that will assist you in this preparation.

10 Jordan travel tips you need to know before you go

1. How to travel to Jordan? 

The fastest and most common way to travel from Belgium to Jordan is by plane. You can book flights from the international airport in Belgium to Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan. Since October 2023, there are direct flights available through Royal Jordanian. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can choose a flight with a layover.

Another tip for cost-effective travel to Jordan is that between November and March, you can fly directly to Amman or Aqaba in Jordan from Brussels South Charleroi Airport for a reasonable fare.

In addition to a plane ticket, you’ll need a few travel documents to travel from Belgium to Jordan:

  • First and foremost, you’ll need an international passport with a validity of at least 6 months.
  • You’ll also require a visa. You can purchase this upon arrival at the airport, apply for it in advance through the embassy, or electronically. The cost is approximately 50 euros.
  • Lastly, you’ll need to complete a travel declaration up to 72 hours before departure.

If you plan to visit several attractions, it’s more advantageous to purchase a Jordan Pass instead of a visa. The Jordan Pass exempts you from tourist visa fees when purchased before arriving in Jordan and staying for a minimum of three nights (4 days). Moreover, this Pass allows you to visit over 40 attractions, including Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Amman Citadel.

Finally, it’s essential to be aware that the security situation in the region can vary, so stay updated on travel advisories and follow any instructions from the authorities.

2. How to get around in Jordan? 

From the airport, you can take an airport taxi to Amman. These typically have a fixed rate ranging between 20 and 30 euros. There are also shuttle buses departing every half hour to the city center of Amman. If you prefer to arrange your transportation in advance, you can choose from various options available through GetYourGuide.

Throughout Jordan, you’ll find affordable public transportation options. Primarily in the form of buses since trains are not available in this country. While it may be somewhat slower at times, it’s very accessible and user-friendly. If you want to experience your journey like a local, this option is highly suitable.

Regarding schedules, Jordan is a country with a relaxed pace, and buses do not adhere to strict timetables. Instead, a bus departs from the station when it’s full, so travelers should be prepared to wait for a bit. In busier cities, buses usually fill up quickly.

The roads in Jordan are of good quality, making bus travel relatively efficient. Since these buses are primarily intended for the local population, you can expect affordable local fares.

Additionally, there are Jett buses that cater more to tourists. These are slightly more luxurious and expensive. The advantage is that they depart at fixed times that you can check in advance. It’s also advisable to reserve your seat.

For getting around within cities, you can easily use taxis. Install the Uber app on your smartphone, and you’ll be ready to go.

If you’d like to take a self-guided road trip through Jordan at your own pace, I recommend renting a car. You can pick one up at Amman’s airport upon arrival. When renting a car, I always prefer Sunny Cars. The primary benefit of renting a car through Sunny Cars is that all insurances are already included in the price. This means you won’t have to worry about unpleasant surprises in the form of extra costs when you pick up your car. Even if the local partner tries to sell you an additional insurance, which is almost always the case, you’ll know it’s not necessary because when you rent through Sunny Cars, you’re fully covered. Below, I’ll share more tips on driving in Jordan.

If you’d rather not be behind the wheel yourself, consider booking a round trip with a private driver through Rosetta reizen. This offers a comfortable and stress-free way to explore Jordan.

3. Driving a car in Jordan

If you choose to rent a car and embark on a road trip through beautiful Jordan, I have some tips regarding driving in Jordan.

The first tip may seem obvious, but remember to bring your driver’s license. In Jordan, both a Belgian and international driver’s license are accepted.

Jordan boasts an extensive and well-maintained road network that connects major cities and tourist destinations. Some key highways include:

  • Desert Highway (Highway 15): This is one of Jordan’s major highways, linking the capital, Amman, in the north with Aqaba on the Red Sea in the south. It is a well-paved highway often used for north-south travel.
  • King’s Highway (Highway 35): This historic route follows an ancient trade path, running from north to south, and passes through some of Jordan’s most impressive attractions, such as Petra and Wadi Rum. It offers scenic views of the landscape.
  • Dead Sea Highway (Highway 65): This highway runs along the western shore of the Dead Sea, connecting Amman with the Dead Sea resorts and the southern part of Jordan.

Most main roads in Jordan are in good condition and equipped with clear signage. Traffic signs are often in Arabic, which can make navigation more challenging. Ensure you have a GPS or access to 4G so you can use Google Maps. Keep in mind that in remote areas, there may be less reliable internet connection, so it’s a good idea to download the map of Jordan in Google Maps for offline use.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to strictly follow all traffic rules, which generally align with traffic regulations in Belgium. The main rules are to obey speed limits and wear a seatbelt. Drive defensively, especially in larger cities, and don’t be intimidated or rushed by the local driving style.

In Jordan, you will often encounter road checkpoints, especially near major cities, border crossings, and tourist locations. These checkpoints are manned by the police and military and are for security purposes. When stopped, you’ll be expected to present your passport and driver’s license. Ensure you have these documents with you. Be prepared to answer some questions about your travel purpose and destination. These checkpoints are usually routine checks, and travelers are treated with respect. Be patient and understanding when passing through these checkpoints, as they are an integral part of Jordan’s security measures.

Overall, Jordan is a safe country to drive in, and its roads are well maintained, making it a convenient way to explore the country.

 4. When is the best time to travel to Jordan

The best time to visit Jordan depends on your personal preferences and what you plan to do during your trip. Jordan has a diverse climate, ranging from Mediterranean in the northwest to desert climate in the east and south.

Beach at Dead Sea, Hilton, Jordan

In general, spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the most popular seasons to visit Jordan. During these periods, the temperatures are pleasant and ideal for exploring attractions such as Petra and the Dead Sea. Spring is especially beautiful due to the blooming wildflowers in the desert.

white flowers, Wadi Rum, Jordan

During the summer (June to August), it can get very hot, especially in desert areas, with temperatures rising above 40°C. In the winter (December to February), nights can be cold, but daytime temperatures are typically mild.

If you’re planning to go diving in the Red Sea, the fall (September to December) is the best time as the water temperature is pleasant during this period.

5. Book an accommodation in Jordan

In Jordan, there are various accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to simple hostels and camping in the desert. The choice depends on your budget and personal preferences.

For popular destinations like Amman, Petra, and the Dead Sea, it’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during the high season (spring and autumn), as many travelers prefer these periods for their visits. Luxury resorts, historic hotels, and international hotel chains are abundant in these areas.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous journey, you can consider camping in the Jordanian desert, where you can enjoy the starry skies and the tranquility of nature. There are also traditional Bedouin camps that offer a unique cultural experience.

tent camp in Jordan

For travelers on a tighter budget, there are also budget accommodations available in cities and tourist areas, such as hostels and guesthouses.

Make sure to tailor your accommodation choices to your travel goals and budget. In short, if you want to find the best accommodations within your budget and at your preferred location(s), start searching and booking your lodgings as early as possible. Also, consider local holidays and events that might affect availability.

If you plan to go on a road trip in Jordan and stay in various locations, then I have a tip for you. When I search for accommodations for a road trip, I usually use Booking.com. This has several benefits. Firstly, the website offers a handy map widget that allows you to view all accommodations and their locations, helping you to search for a stay in the right place more efficiently. Secondly, you can set the “free cancellation” filter to display all accommodations where you can cancel your reservation for free up to a certain period before your stay. This is something I pay attention to when planning a road trip. I typically choose accommodations that allow me to cancel the reservation until the day before arrival. This gives me the flexibility to make adjustments to my itinerary if needed.

Below, you can take a look at the various accommodations in your dream locations in Jordan.

6. Paying and tipping in Jordan

In Jordan, the official currency is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD), which is subdivided into 1,000 fils. Generally, cash is the most commonly used method of payment, although major hotels and restaurants in tourist areas may accept credit cards. ATMs are widely available in cities and major towns, making it convenient to withdraw cash locally. Make sure to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases and tipping.

Tip: Avoid exchanging money at the airport. It’s best to do so at Jordan Kuwait Bank or Cairo Amman Bank. Also, try to use your credit card as much as possible and refrain from withdrawing money from an ATM.

Tipping is customary for various services in Jordan. In restaurants, a tip of about 10% to 15% on the bill is appreciated, although it’s not mandatory. Check whether service is included in the price on the bill. If not, you can choose to leave a tip. For taxi drivers, you can round up the amount. It’s also common to tip guides, drivers, and hotel staff, depending on the quality of the service.

Ultimately, tipping is optional, and it’s entirely your decision whether or not to tip and the amount, based on your personal satisfaction with the service received.

7. WiFi or 4g in Jordan

In Jordan, you can generally access WiFi and 4G connections easily, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations.

Most hotels, hostels, and accommodations in Jordan offer free WiFi for guests. However, the quality of the connection may vary, so it’s a good idea to inquire in advance about whether the accommodation provides WiFi.

Additionally, it’s convenient to purchase a local prepaid SIM card upon arrival at the airport or at phone shops in urban areas. There are several providers available, such as Zain, Orange, and Umniah. With a Jordanian SIM card, you can use mobile data to stay connected during your trip. This is handy for using Google Maps when you’re on a road trip through Jordan or looking up information about various attractions.

Generally, mobile coverage is good in urban areas and major tourist destinations. In remote areas, such as deserts or mountainous regions, the quality of the connection may decrease.

Also, note that in Jordan, Type C and Type D outlets and plugs are used. So, if you’re bringing chargers and electrical devices, it’s a good idea to bring one or more universal travel adapters.

8. Dealing with local culture

When visiting Jordan, it’s important to be mindful of the local culture and dress codes, especially in more conservative areas and at religious sites.

In general, I found Jordan to be relatively modern in terms of dress codes, particularly at more touristy locations. Personally, I dressed quite modestly. I was sometimes pleasantly surprised by the modern and contemporary fashion style of young local women. As a woman, I never felt unsafe, and I would have no hesitation about traveling alone in Jordan.

Dress code Jordan
Dress code Jordan

When visiting mosques, churches, and other religious sites, it’s appropriate to dress respectfully. It’s common to cover your shoulders, arms, and legs and avoid wearing revealing clothing.

At beaches and resort pool areas, you can wear regular swimwear. However, outside these areas, it’s not advisable to walk around in swimwear. Therefore, consider putting on a cover-up over your swimwear when going to and from the beach or pool.

Jordanians are known for their friendliness, openness, tolerance, and hospitality. It’s very common for them to welcome strangers into their homes. If you’re invited to someone’s home, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering the house as this is considered a sign of respect.

Cookie baking with local family in Dana Nature reserve, Jordan
Goat milking with local family in Dana Nature reserve, Jordan

The lifestyle in Jordan differs significantly from the fast-paced culture of Europe. Everything is approached here with a calm and unhurried attitude. So, it’s wise to realize that you may not always receive an immediate solution to a problem.

  • 9. Food you need to try in Jordan

The Jordanian cuisine offers a rich variety of flavors and dishes. A visit to Jordan is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the delicious local specialties. Here are some must-try specialties:

  • Hummus is a popular and iconic Jordanian dish consisting of a smooth paste made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It’s often served as part of breakfast and other meals.
  • Knafeh is a delightful dessert made from vermicelli-like strands of semolina that are baked until crispy and then drenched in sweet syrup. It may also contain a cheese filling.
    Knafeh
    • Maglube is known as “upside down” because it’s prepared by first cooking meat and vegetables in a pot and then flipping the pot so that the rice ends up on top.
    Maglube, Upside down dish

 

  • Mandaf is a traditional dish consisting of rice with meat and jameed (fermented dairy product). What makes this dish special is the way it is eaten; you typically eat it at the table with your hands.
  • Zarb is a unique cooking method where meat and vegetables are buried underground and cooked, often along with charcoal. This creates a distinctive flavor and is an experience in itself.
Zarb bedouin meal
  • Enjoy delicious fresh and local seafood dishes in Aqaba, such as Sayadieh, a dish of rice with fish and a flavorful sauce.
  • Arak is an anise-flavored alcoholic drink that is sometimes served as an aperitif. It is typically mixed with cold water and ice.
  • In recent years, Jordan has developed into a surprising wine producer. Try some of the local wines to experience the taste of the country.

The Jordanian cuisine is both diverse and flavorful, and exploring local dishes and dining establishments is an integral part of your journey to this beautiful country.

10. Discover traces of the past of Jordan

Jordan is a country steeped in history and offers you the opportunity to experience the traces of the past in an impressive way. One of the most iconic historical landmarks is the rock city of Petra, an ancient settlement dating back to the 4th century BC, carved deep into the red rocks. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most recognizable archaeological treasures in the world and provides an unforgettable glimpse into the ancient civilizations that once inhabited this place.

Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan

In the north of Jordan lies the ancient Roman city of Jerash. These well-preserved ruins, over 2000 years old, showcase the grandeur of the Roman Empire and allow you to step back in time to the heyday of this ancient city.

Jerash, Jordan

Furthermore, Jordan is home to a treasure trove of desert castles, bearing witness to the early Islamic period and the rich heritage of the country. The Crusader castles in Al-Karak and Shobak reflect a different era, as do the Ottoman forts scattered throughout the landscape.

Al-Karak, Jordan

The history of Jordan is complex and diverse, with influences from numerous civilizations and empires that have shaped the country. Exploring these historical treasures is like a journey through the ages, providing you with the opportunity to embrace Jordan’s rich heritage and cultural diversity, all in the heart of the enchanting Middle East.

There is no doubt that traveling to Jordan is worth it. It’s a beautiful vacation destination that has something to offer to everyone, but thorough preparation is a must. I hope these Jordan travel tips will help you make the necessary preparations so you can get the most out of your visit to this incredible destination.

Which Jordan travel tips did you find most useful? Let me know in the comments below.

Want to read more about Jordan?

Thanks for reading!

Yours truly,

Sarah

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10 useful travel tips for Jordan
10 useful travel tips for Jordan

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