What to know before your trip to Jordan
Covering questions on the Jordan Pass, driving, costs, clothing and safety to prepare you best for your trip to Jordan.
Jordan is unlike any other place I have been to, and the country’s many wonders can make planning a visit seem overwhelming. I’ve put together some top tips around the questions I considered whilst booking, to help your preparations for a trip more manageable.
When is the best time to visit Jordan?
To avoid the soaring temperatures of summer, the best time to visit Jordan is spring (March-May) or autumn (September-November). During these months, daily temperatures typically reach 20-30 degrees. Although this can vary throughout the country; for example during our September trip it was over 40 degrees when visiting Aqaba. During the winter months you’ll benefit from far fewer crowds, but remember to pack plenty of layers and rain jackets, as snow and heavy rain is not uncommon.
Is a Jordan Pass worth it?
I would definitely recommend to anyone looking to explore the many historic and cultural sites to purchase a Jordan Pass ahead of travel. Costing between 70-80JD depending on your chosen package, this pass covers your entry fee to the country (normally priced at 40JD), as well as free entry to over 40 attractions throughout the country – including Petra! Petra alone costs 50JD for a single day visit, so it is easy to see the value of the pass. We opted for the Jordan Explorer package (75JD) which included two consecutive day visits to Petra. Make sure you purchase this before your trip so you don’t get charged for your visa at the airport.
Read my 10 day Jordan itinerary so you can make the most of your Jordan Pass.
What should I wear in Jordan?
Jordan is a predominantly Islamic country, and whilst it’s not considered particularly conservative – it’s wise to conform to the clothing customs. Most local women wear hijabs or burkas but this is not an expectation for tourists. Covering your shoulders, cleavage and thighs, however, is recommended to avoid attracting unwanted stares and attention, as well as remaining respectful to the culture.
I found t-shirts and loose trousers to be very comfortable in the heat and activity around Amman, whilst relaxed-fit summer dresses suited day-trips and dinner outfits well.
Within the hotel resorts on the Dead & Red Seas, as well as in the Wadi Rum desert – customs around clothing are much more relaxed and I was comfortable wearing bikinis by the pool, as well as scrappy tops/dresses.
Essentially, you are permitted to wear what you want in Jordan, and no one is going to tell you otherwise, but you will feel much safer and more comfortable in the towns and cities if you keep your shoulders and legs (from knees up) covered. Naively, I learnt this the hard way!
Is it safe to drive in Jordan?
The most efficient and cheapest way to explore the country is through hiring a car. Driving on the whole is very safe in Jordan, but there are some aspects I would keep in mind. Firstly the road quality greatly varies, from brand new multi lane motorways, to dirt tracks and potholes. Hires cars should be provided with a spare tyre, but where you can try to stay to the main roads. Secondly, take care on busy roads as no one indicates or wears seatbelts. Thirdly, avoid driving at night on the desert highway – this is the main route down to the port and is choccablock with huge lorries. Driving at night with no street lights alongside the lorries was scary, so make sure you leave enough lights hours to make your journeys! And finally, police checks on roads are not uncommon so don’t be alarmed if you get pulled over. They should wave you on very quickly once they’ve determined your visitor status.
Download the map of Jordan on Google Maps whilst on Wi-Fi so you can use the navigation features whilst on the move.
What is the currency of Jordan?
Jordanian dinar (JD) is the county’s currency. It is pegged against the US dollar and as of Jan 2023 it translates as 1JD = £1.15. We found that most establishments accept card, however, some charge extra for card payments. Throughout the country, cash machines also charged a steep fee for cash withdrawals.
How expensive is Jordan?
Jordan is not a cheap place to visit, but for us the value in terms of experiences and enjoyment was definitely worth it. Flights from the UK are around £500 return if you book early, and prices of the hotel we chose to stay in ranged from £50 to £300 per night. Dining was also not cheap with most dinners costing around 50JD (about £40), not including any drinks. Alcohol is very expensive in Jordan, and only served in western hotels and a very small selection of restaurants. A pint typically cost 7-8JD (£8-9), and a small glass of wine was a similar price. Most of your excursion costs will be pre-paid for if you purchase a Jordan Pass (which I highly recommend). However, extras may include camel rides (15JD for 1hr) and 4X4 tours (50JD for 3hrs) in Wadi Rum, Petra by Night (17JD), and the Mujib Biosphere (21JD). Overall our 10 night trip, including flights, food, car hire, accommodation and excursions cost around £3,200 for two people.
Can you drink alcohol in Jordan?
Jordan is a conservative country and it’s attitude to alcohol reflects this. It is illegal to consume alcohol in public areas including beaches and streets. Only a fraction of restaurants have alcohol licenses and there are only a handful of off-licenses around. Western hotels will have bars but prices are high. Visitors are allowed to bring 1L of alcohol into the country which you may want to consider to keep costs down.
Can you travel as an unmarried couple?
Co-habitation of unmarried, opposite gender couples in Jordan isn’t illegal, but it may be frowned upon. As an unmarried couple, we didn’t encounter any problems at our hotels, but be prepared that some hotel/hostel workers may ask for marriage certificates.
Homosexuality is no longer illegal in Jordan, however, same-sex couples may still face discrimination and challenges. Public displays of affection are not generally tolerated – so be cautious if you are travelling as a same-sex couple.
How safe is Jordan?
Despite being nestled between some politically unstable countries, Jordan on the whole is safe. Having said this, as a woman I was made to feel uncomfortable on a few occasions, notably when walking around Kerak and downtown Amman. Be prepared that you might experience stares and catcalling – and probably not a country I would recommend for solo female travel. But, on the whole, with a male companion I didn’t think it was too much of an issue.
In addition, we noticed a more relaxed attitude to health and safety than what we were used to, so take care when exploring Petra and participating in other physical excursions.
Is a Jordanian SIM card worth it?
YES! For a small cost we were able to buy a basic SIM card package at Amman airport after arriving. This gave us so much more freedom and peace of mind whilst exploring the country.
Planning your itinerary?
Read how I spent 10 days in Jordan, travelling through Wadi Rum, Petra, Dead Sea, Red Sea, Kerak and Amman.