Know Before You Go: 17 Jordan Travel Tips For First-Time Visitors

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If you’re planning a trip to Jordan, congratulations, you’ve made a great choice for your next travel destination. Jordan is a great country to visit and these Jordan travel tips for first-time visitors will help you make the best of your trip.

I’m starting to repeat myself over and over again. Recently, most of my articles are starting with the following sentence: ”I wasn’t planning to go there originally, but then..”. Well, I wasn’t planning to visit Jordan as well. But I did, and I am beyond happy that it happened that way. I like Jordan. A lot!

How I ended up in Jordan then? Of course, Jordan has always been a country that I would love to visit sooner or later. Israel, on the other hand, has been like an obsession for me. First, I wanted to visit Israel in October 2017, but because of the fact of how expensive Israel is, I went to Morocco instead. I couldn’t get Israel out of my head, however. Then when I got back home from my first trip to SE Asia, I couldn’t resist visiting Israel any longer. I found a 20 EUR ticket from Sofia to Tel-Aviv and 6 days later I landed on Israeli land.  

But why do I tell you all of this in a post about Jordan? Well, Jordan and Israel are neighboring countries, and being so close to Jordan when I was already in Israel, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go there, too. I went to Israel without having any return ticket, but I was originally planning to travel from Israel to the Netherlands for a conference.  You already guessed it, but yes, I skipped the conference and decided to visit Jordan instead.

I spent 12 days in the country, but I could have spent a lot more. There are just so many places to visit in Jordan. However, if you have less time than that, go check this 7 day Jordan itinerary that takes you through the highlights of the country. 

When I decided that I am going to Jordan and when I arrived there, I didn’t know a lot about the country. I mean, I know a few places that I want to visit there and that was pretty much it. I didn’t do any research in advance. Anyways, a little bit of research before your trip to Jordan won’t be such a bad idea as there are some things that you better know about before visiting. 

So here are my best Jordan travel tips for first-time visitors:

Jordan Pass

The most essential Jordan travel tip that I could give you is this: Don’t go to Jordan without getting the Jordan Pass!

Luckily, even though I didn’t do any research I knew about the Jordan Pass and I got myself one on the day before leaving from Nazareth to Amman.

What is the Jordan Pass and why you should get one? 

”The Jordan Pass is the ultimate sightseeing package that has been especially tailor-made for visitors to the country. It gives pass holders the availability to make the most out of their trip visiting top sights and attractions whilst saving time, money, and efforts.” – That’s what the Jordan Pass official website says and I couldn’t say it anyway better.

While most tourist passes aren’t worth it, the Jordan Pass absolutely does. The Jordan Pass is a must-have for any visitor to the country and it does worth a lot!

The Jordan Pass comes in three categories depending on how much time do you want to spend in Petra:

  1. Jordan Wanderer – 1-day visit to Petra (70 JD)
  2. Jordan Explorer – a 2-day visit to Petra (75 JD)
  3. Jordan Expert – a 3-day visit to Petra (80 JD)

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I took the Jordan Explorer Pass as I was planning to spend only two days in Petra.

The Jordan Pass includes many other attractions than just Petra. The Jordan Pass includes also a visit to Jerash, Wadi Rum, Karak Castle, Shobak Castle, Amman Citadel, and Roman theater, plus many more, but most importantly, the Jordan Pass includes a waiver of the tourist visa fee (with a minimum stay of three nights in Jordan).

What’s the difference between having the Jordan Pass and not having it? 

If you’re planning to spend only one day in Petra and you don’t have the Jordan Pass, you’ll pay:

40 JD for the visa + 50 JD Petra admission

That already makes 90 JD without including a visit to any other place. The Jordan Wanderer Pass that includes a 1-day visit to Petra + many other attractions costs 70 JD, so with it, you’re saving 20 JD right off the top.

Hopefully, with this example, I managed to make a point and make you get the Jordan Pass!

The Jordan Pass is a great deal, especially when having in mind that Jordan is not the most budget-friendly destination to travel to.

Seriously, get yourself a Jordan Pass before going to Jordan. The process of getting the Jordan Pass is absolutely stress-free and fast. You just need to fill up some information on their site and then you’re set. They’ll email the pass to you and you can either keep it on your phone or print it if you like.

And if you’re not planning to travel the country independently, make sure that the Jordan tour that you choose to join will have the Jordan Pass included in the package. 

Welcome to Jordan!

I would have never expected how friendly and hospitable the Jordanian people are, not until I found that myself. Honestly, the Jordanians are one of the warmest and nicest people and they will welcome you to their country with open arms and smiley faces.

Actually, the people in Jordan are what surprised me the most. Every person that I met during my trip to Jordan was always ready to help me, advise me, and make sure that I feel well and having a great time as a guest of their country.

”Welcome to Jordan!”– that’s what they all say. When you visit Jordan, you’ll experience that for yourself, but generally, every Jordanian tells that to foreigners. And they mean it. You’ll hear that numerous times a day from random people on the street, taxi drivers, waiters, hotel owners, and everyone in between.

You’ll have plenty of chances to meet locals and spend some time with them. Don’t miss those chances. Some of my nicest memories from my trip to Jordan are the times spent with the local people.

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Jordan beyond Petra

Please, please, pleaseeee, when traveling to Jordan don’t limit your visit to the country with a trip to Petra. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Jordan, Petra is far not the only one.

There are people who are coming to Jordan only to visit Petra and then they leave. That’s very unfortunate knowing how beautiful Jordan is and how many places are there to be visited. Sadly, I couldn’t visit two of the places that I wanted to visit the most. But no worries, I’ll be definitely back!

After Petra, the most famous places to visit in Jordan are the desert of Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. Both are amazing and shouldn’t be missed.  However, there are other off the beaten path places to be seen in Jordan. I was told that the North of Jordan is wonderful and it’s the favorite part of Jordan for many local people.

P.S. You can also visit Petra off the beaten path. I had an unforgettable time experiencing Petra in a different way – away from the crowds, sleeping under the stars. 

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Is it safe to visit Jordan? 

The geographical location of Jordan doesn’t make it so appealing to many travelers. Being a neighbor country to places such as Iraq, Syria, and Saudia Arabia, makes people worrying about traveling to Jordan. Jordan, however, is one of the safest countries in the Middle East and the locals are extremely friendly towards foreigners.

I know that for some people it might be difficult to change their initial preconception about traveling to the Middle East in the first place. But if they do, I guarantee that they’ll be amazed by it. I felt completely safe when I was in Jordan. Most of my time in Jordan I spent with another traveler, but I also had some time on my own.

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Is it safe to visit Jordan as a solo female traveler?

I spent most of my time in Jordan traveling with another traveler. However, there are plenty of women traveling completely solo in Jordan and have a good experience. Of course, you can expect a few stares like everywhere else, but nothing to worry about that much.

Some girls traveling to Jordan are complaining of being scammed and used for sex by Bedouins. Don’t freak out about that. Also, don’t expect that every single Bedouin you meet in Petra will be a ”bad guy”. Many Bedouins in Petra are just good people. But just be aware that sex scams are happening and use your common sense. Don’t fall for Bedouin’s charming smiles and promises. 

READ NEXT: Traveling to Morocco alone as a female - is it safe? 

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Dress code in Jordan 

In Jordan, you’re expected to be dressed more conservatively. In order to respect the cultural norms, you should be dressed appropriately, which for women means that they should cover themselves. Shorts, short skirts, and crop tops are not appropriate since no local women go out dressed like that. You should not reveal a lot of skin. It’s better if you keep your shoulders and knees covered at all times.

This is not just a Jordan travel tip, it applies to all Muslim countries: You should always have a scarf in hand, especially if you’re planning to visit any religious sites.

PLEASE, BE RESPECTFUL TO THE LOCAL’S BELIEFS AND CULTURE. 

You also need to know that Jordan is not always hot. Depending on the season when you’re visiting Jordan, it might be even cold. Snow in the north of Jordan is also not something unheard of. So make sure you pack accordingly to the season when visiting Jordan. 

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Let’s talk about money = Jordan is expensive!

First-time visitors to Jordan should be prepared and know approximately how much their trip to Jordan would cost!

The official currency of Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar, JD. The JD is a very strong currency, being stronger than the USD and the EUR. Jordan is not the most budget-friendly destination to travel to for sure, but it’s worth every JD.

Petra alone is known to be one of the most expensive attractions in the world to visit. That’s also why it is so important to follow my first Jordan travel tip for first-time visitors – getting the Jordan Pass, it will save you some cash right from the start.

You should budget at least 30-40 JD per day as a minimum. For 12 days in Jordan, I spent about 500 EUR more or less and that’s 40EUR+ per day! I rarely spent that much per day when I’m traveling.

I meet a few travelers in Israel who were coming from Jordan and they all said that Jordan is expensive. Israel is so expensive that I thought that Jordan couldn’t be as expensive as Israel. I even expected it to be a budget-friendly destination. I was really shocked by how strong as a currency the JD is and how expensive it is to travel around.

But again, a trip to Jordan is worth every JD!

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Public transportation or how to get around Jordan

If you’re hoping to get everywhere around Jordan by public transport – forget it, the public transport in Jordan is not that good. There are some places that could be visited only if you rent a car, or join a tour because there are no public buses going to those places. I really wanted to go to the Dana Reserve, but without a rented car, it’s impossible. I also wanted to go to Wadi Mujib, but it would have cost me a lot to hire a private driver just for myself.

The best way to get around Jordan is by car. It would be a good idea to visit Jordan with a group of friends and share the rent for a car between the few of you. That way, you’ll have the complete freedom of moving around and visiting any places that you want.

Taxis are very common in Jordan. Some have fixed prices, while with others you can bargain.

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Visiting Jordan during Ramadan 

What is Ramadan? 

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. It’s done to commemorate the moment the Koran was unveiled to Muhammad, according to Islamic beliefs.

What to expect when traveling to Jordan during Ramadan: 

The most important thing you need to know and the best Jordan travel tip for people traveling to the country during Ramadan is that many businesses are not working as usual during that period of time.

During Ramadan, those who fast must refrain from eating and drinking (yes, even water) from sunrise to sunset. That means that their breakfast is after the sun sets down and they can eat during the whole night before the sun rises. That’s why many businesses are not working as usual, during the Ramadan period, people simply shift day and night.

During that time, you’ll notice that everything is becoming more livable after sunset. People are going out on the streets, playing cards and smoking shisha, and generally hanging out and having fun.

I visited Jordan during the Ramadan of 2018. The Ramadan started while I was still back in Israel, but there it is different than it is in Jordan.

The first day when I arrived in Amman, I had breakfast early in the morning before leaving from Nazareth. After I arrived in Amman at around 2 pm, I was already getting hungry. Even though I knew it’s Ramadan, I thought that I can still find and buy food and then eat it in my hotel. I only found knaffe (traditional dessert).

After my arrival in Amman, I was recommended a good restaurant in Down Town and went there to have dinner. I went to the restaurant at about 6:30 PM and I was given a table on the street. The restaurant was getting fuller and the streets were getting lively. I was sitting at the table, but no one was taking my order while the waiters are going around the tables serving plastic forks, sugar, and bread. I didn’t know what was exactly going on. Then, I realized that I won’t get any food at all before sunset and that was what everyone was waiting for. Finally, at 7:45 PM I was allowed to eat.

After the first day, I already got used to it pretty much myself. Then, I also found places (a hotel) that still serve food during the day in their restaurants, so even if you don’t fast and you’re visiting Jordan during Ramada, you won’t starve to death.

However, you can at least be respectful to the people that do it and don’t eat in front of them on the street. 

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Language 

The official language of Jordan is Arabic. Not to worry, English is widely spoken in tourist areas and by people who work in the tourism industry. Of course, learning some key phrases like hello and thank you will go a long way.

  • Hello – Marhaba 
  • Thank you – Shukran

Weather and best time to visit Jordan 

As I mentioned above, don’t expect Jordan to be hot all year round. Although, it’s a desert country, Jordan experience love temperatures in its winter season that falls between December and January. At that time of the year, temperatures can go as low as 5 degrees, and there might be lots of rain. 

The best time to visit Jordan is in Spring (March to May) or in Autumn (October to November). Of course, that also means that during this period there would be lots of tourists, so if you want to experience Jordan without crowds of tourists, travel in the months on either side of the peak seasons. 

Water in Jordan 

The tap water in Jordan is not drinkable. Unlike in Western countries, from where you’ll probably come from, the water in Jordan is only used to wash things. With this in mind, you should rely only on bottled water. It is being sold everywhere. Make sure to stock on it if you’ll be visiting a place away from stores – for instance, when visiting Wadi Rum. 

Photography permissions 

Jordan is very photogenic and locals are often happy to pose for you. However, always ask for permission before taking a picture of someone, especially if it is a woman. 

You’re not allowed to take photos of any governmental buildings.

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How to eat in Jordan 

Eating with your hands it’s completely acceptable in Jordan and even seen as a fact that you’re enjoying that food you’ve been served. 

Bargaining

Bargaining in Jordan is common and acceptable. You can bargain for the price of your tour, taxi ride, or at the market stalls. 

Power in Jordan

The power sockets in Jordan are the same as in Europe, type C, and type F. If you’re traveling to Jordan from any European country (excl. the UK), you won’t need a travel adaptor. 

Internet and Wi-Fi 

Internet connection is widely available in Jordan. However, I’ll recommend you spend less time on the Internet and more time immersing yourself in the local’s culture, as well as meeting locals, and exploring as much as you can. 

If you’re interested in traveling in Jordan, you might also want to read: 

Also, you might want to check my similar article on Israel for first-time visitors, and what to know before visiting Morocco

And that’s all folks – those are my best Jordan travel tips and things to know for first-time visitors. I hope you enjoy Jordan as much as I did, and if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Thanks for reading, 

Bilyana

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