JORDAN,  ROAD TRIP

Preparing your trip to Jordan: the complete guide

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In this article, you’ll find as much information as possible to help you prepare for your trip to Jordan.

DOCUMENTS AND JORDAN PASS

1 | What documents do I need to travel to Jordan?

To enter Jordan, your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your return date. You’ll also need a visa, which you can simply purchase on arrival. The easiest and cheapest solution is to buy the Jordan Pass online before you leave, provided you stay more than 3 nights in Jordan, otherwise you’ll have to pay the visa fee.

Jordan
The Dana Valley with our host Waleed in the photo (accommodation: My Grandfather’s House)

2 | Is a visa required to visit Jordan?

Yes, it’s compulsory if you haven’t bought a Jordan Pass.
It costs 40 JOD for a single entry and 120 JOD for multiple entries. It is issued at the airport. It must be paid for in Jordanian Dinar. You’ll find an exchange office and a cash dispenser at customs.

3 | What is the Jordan Pass?

This ticket combines a Jordan entry visa (allowing entry into Jordan) for 30 days with access to over 30 Jordanian tourist sites (including Petra).

  • It saves you money, as the Jordan Pass is very inexpensive.
  • It is valid for one year from date of purchase and 15 days after first use.
  • It is intended for personal use only, as it is linked to your passport number when you place your order.
  • Entry fees are waived with the Jordan Pass, provided you spend at least 4 days (3 nights) in Jordan.

This is the ticket not to forget for a trip to Jordan. It is imperative that you book your Jordan Pass before your trip.

You can choose between different Pass formulas, depending on whether you wish to visit Petra in : 1 day (70 JOD = 84€), 2 days (75 JOD = 90€) or 3 days (80 JOD = 95€). Reservations are made online on the official website, and the pass is then downloaded to your phone.

Jordan
Jerash

4 | What are the main sights included in the Jordan Pass?

  • Petra: An ancient Nabataean city considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Jerash: An archaeological site housing the ruins of a well-preserved Roman city.
  • Wadi Rum: A spectacular desert known for its impressive rock formations.
  • Amman Citadel: A historic site located on a hill in the center of the Jordanian capital.
  • Ajloun Castle: A 12th-century mountain-top castle.
  • Qasr Al-Azraq: A large desert castle that served as Lawrence of Arabia’s military base.
  • Karak Castle: A Crusader castle in the town of Karak.
  • Pella: An archaeological site containing ruins dating back to the Stone Age.

5 | When is the Jordan Pass not worthwhile?

In these 3 cases, the Jordan Pass is not interesting:

  • If you hold the nationality of an Arab League member country (with a valid passport), the entrance fees are different.
  • Tourist sites are free for children under 12.
  • If you arrive and depart via Aqaba, your visa is free.
Jordan
Dead Sea

TIME & CLIMATE

6 | What is the climate like in Jordan?

Jordan enjoys an arid, dry desert climate throughout the country, and a Mediterranean climate in the west, in the Jordan Valley. Winters are mild, with daytime temperatures fluctuating between 10 and 15°C on average. Summers are very hot, with July temperatures often exceeding 30°C in the south of the country. The difference in temperature between the north and south of the country can be seen all year round, with Aqaba, at the southern tip of the country, averaging 10 degrees warmer.

7 | When is the best time to visit Jordan?

The ideal times to visit Jordan are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to mid-November). You’ll find a temperate climate and no extreme heat. In spring, it may be a little cooler in the mornings and evenings, but you’ll probably be surprised to find a green Jordan. March is the ideal time for hiking, especially in northern Jordan where the wildflowers – including the magnificent black iris – are in full bloom. In autumn, you can enjoy an Indian summer with mild evenings.

Summer remains a good time to visit Jordan. However, it can be very hot, especially at the Dead Sea and in the south (Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba), which can make some visits unpleasant.

On the other hand, winter (mid-November to March) is not the best time to visit Jordan. It can be very cold (even freezing in Wadi Rum), and there can be sudden and potentially dangerous rains due to “flash floods”. As a result, the wadis are closed or even impassable.

Jordan
Wadi Rum

8 | What clothes should I bring?

It’s a question I asked myself a lot while packing my suitcase!

IF YOU ARE A WOMAN

For all the tourist spots, I recommend that you take outfits that cover your legs (light pants, long skirt/dress) and shoulders. I even took a small shawl that I wore over my arms/shoulders when I was in Amman, Madaba or when I slept at a local’s house. I was able to wear a bathing suit or shorts without any problem or embarrassment when we visited the Wadi (Mujid and Ghuweir), for the day we spent at the Dead Sea and in the resort of Aqaba.
To visit Petra, I hesitated for a long time about my outfit. I chose a long skirt rather than my shorts (because even in November it’s very hot in Petra) and I didn’t regret it. There are a lot of locals in Petra, and a lot of men, and to avoid stares and reproachful looks, I’d recommend a sober outfit.

IF YOU ARE A MAN

You can wear shorts without any problem. However, for cities like Amman or Madaba, I recommend you wear pants. Jordanians don’t wear shorts and are also relatively covered up.

Other clothes or accessories I recommend you take :

  • Water shoes and a waterproof bag (if you wish to discover Wadi Mujib).
  • Sneakers.
  • Polar fleece (useful for cool evenings in spring and autumn).
  • Meat bag (useful for one night at a local’s and in the tents in Wadi Rum, as there were no sheets).

DURATION & PROGRAM

9 | What’s the best time to visit Jordan?

There’s a lot to discover in Jordan, and you often have to choose according to the number of days you’ll be there. Think in order of priority. Plan the must-sees first, then complete your stay according to your interests (nature, hiking, history & museums, beaches, religions…).

What are the must-sees? Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.

What other places should you visit, depending on your interests?

  • Nature/hiking/canyoning: Dana reserve, wadi Mujib, wadi Numeira, wadi Ghuweir, wadhi Hammad, Azraq reserve.
  • History: old town and citadel of Amman, desert castles, crusader fortresses of Kerak, Jerash/Ajloun.
  • Religions: Madaba, Mount Nebo.
  • Beaches/snorkeling and relaxation: resorts near Aqaba or the Dead Sea
Jordan
Petra

10 | How many days should I allow for my trip?

The minimum stay is 6 nights. The ideal is 10 nights.

Here’s what you can expect for a stay of :

  • 6 nights: Amman (1 night), Dead Sea (1 night), Petra (2 nights), Wadi Rum (1 night), Aqaba (1 night).
  • 10 nights: Amman/Jerash (1 night), Dead Sea (1 night), Dana (1 night), Petra (2 nights), Wadi Rum (3 nights), Aqaba (1 night), Madaba (1 night).

TRAVEL, CAR RENTAL AND DRIVING

11| Getting around in Jordan

Public transport is not very well developed in Jordan. I can therefore only recommend that you rent your own vehicle, as you’ll be free to choose your own itinerary and schedule. You’ll be able to discover the country at your own pace.

JETT BUS LINE

However, the JETT bus company offers bus services tailored to the needs of tourists. It offers scheduled routes to all the country’s tourist towns: Amman-Aqaba: 10 JOD, Amman-Irbid: 2.2 JOD, Amman-Petra: 10 JOD, Petra-Wadi Rum: 15 JOD, Aqaba-Wadi-Rum: 15 JOD.
You can find timetables and prices on this page.

In my opinion, if you want to visit the country by public transport, you’ll miss out on several routes that are well worth the detour, and you’ll only be able to visit the major tourist sites. But if you don’t feel like driving, it’s a good alternative.

TRAVEL IN AMMAN

To get around Amman, if you want to avoid driving in heavy, stressful traffic, take a cab (and leave the car at the hotel). If you take a regular cab, agree the fare in advance or ask for the taximeter. We didn’t want to drive in Amman, so we went to our hotel reception, which offered a private cab service. We fixed the fare before leaving. The same driver came back to pick us up in the center of Amman at the time we wanted.

Jordan
Dana

12| How do I leave Amman airport?

You have several options:

  • By cab: there is a fixed fare, Airport-Amman = 20 JOD (40 min to Amman). You must go to the official terminal where you pay your cab directly.
  • By bus: Shariyah Express runs to Amman for 3.30 JOD (1 hour). Departures are every 30 minutes from 6.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and every hour thereafter. The bus follows this route.
  • By rental car: all rental agencies offer
    • pick up your vehicle directly from the airport
    • or pick you up at the airport and drive you to the rental agency (this is the option we chose).

13| What are the best car rental agencies?

You can book your car via discovercars.com, a website that compares car rental offers from local and international agencies. You won’t find a cheaper car rental in Jordan than via this site. It seems to be the easiest way to rent a reliable car at a good price. Depending on the season, you can rent a car from 18 JOD to 30 JOD per day.

Jordan
Wadi Rum

14| How is driving in Jordan?

I don’t want to frighten you, but you should know that you may be in for a bit of a shock during your first driving sessions in Jordan.

In all objectivity, I’d say that the 2 driving rules respected in Jordan are driving on the right and respecting traffic lights! Well, I say that, but we did see some vehicles driving the wrong way! And pay attention to the green light: when the light turns green, you have to start right away, otherwise you’re sure to get honked at!

And what about ..:

  • Roundabouts: it’s up to you, you have to be bold and go through when you “decide” it’s your turn to go through!
  • The phone: driving without respecting the highway code is fine, but it’s even better when you text on your phone while driving… We had the example with our cab driver in Amman, the phone at the wheel was completely normal for him…
  • Overtaking another vehicle: it’s like everything else, there’s no code, so don’t be surprised if they overtake on the right or left!
  • Turn signals: if you put them on, you’re a tourist. Don’t be surprised if they turn at the last moment or stop in the middle of the road without warning while you’re going 110km/h in the fast lane.
  • Lights: like indicators, they’re useless, especially when it’s dark, and if Jordanians put on lights, they’re full headlights.
  • Floor markings: don’t look, there aren’t any!
  • Speed bumps: I think they’re a must because they’re everywhere and they’re not marked. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere! Even on expressways where you drive at 110km/hour. And when I say they’re not marked, don’t expect to find any road markings or signs!

I’m not even talking about driving at night… Although we’re used to traveling and clocking up the kilometers, we found driving at night extremely tiring. So, if you arrive at Amman airport at night, I’d advise you to go straight to your hotel in Amman and not to venture out on the road as soon as you arrive to get on with your road trip!

15| What are the speed limits?

The speed limits are :

  • 60 km/h in town.
  • 80 km/h outside towns.
  • 120 km/h on freeways.
Jordan
Amman

16| Is it true that police checks are frequent?

That’s right! On our 12-day road trip, we were stopped at least 10 times! There are checkpoints everywhere on the roads. Don’t worry, the local police are not dishonest. Just slow down when you see them from a distance, and be ready to pull over if they signal you to do so. So keep your driving license, passport and car registration card to hand (the one for our rental car was kept in a booklet in the glove compartment).

Unfortunately for us, our rental car company hadn’t updated the sticker on our vehicle. We got 2 parking tickets (in Arabic of course) during our stay. At the time, we didn’t understand why we were being ticketed. But after talking to the police, we understood. We didn’t have to pay a thing. The fine was intended for the rental company, even though our name appeared on the ticket.

17| What is the price of petrol?

The price of petrol is fixed and national. The price is therefore the same at all stations in Jordan. You can see the current price list on this site.

As an indication, in November 2023, a liter of SP90 was 1.17 JOD or 1.52€/liter.

I also recommend that you fill up with petrol without waiting until you’re in the red. There are very few gas stations on some roads, especially near the Dead Sea, on the Kings’ Road and on the Desert Road.

Jordan
Dead Sea

BUDGET & INSURANCE

18| What is the Jordanian currency? How much does it cost to withdraw money?

Jordan’s official currency is the Jordanian dinar (JOD). 1 JOD is equivalent to approximately €1.28 (November 2023).

CASH WITHDRAWALS

As far as cash withdrawals in Jordan are concerned, most ATMs charge a fee for withdrawals (even if your bank doesn’t). These fees can be high, ranging from around 3 JOD to 7 JOD. The average fee is around 5 JOD. Withdrawal limits depend on the bank, but are generally quite low (around 250 JOD). This means you’ll need to withdraw several times during your stay.

Be aware that you’ll be paying mainly in cash, except in hotels, for example. What’s more, there are generally no ATMs in remote areas such as Dana, Wadi Rum, the interior of Petra and the desert castles. So be sure to withdraw cash in advance!

MONEY EXCHANGE

You can exchange money at banks and exchange offices. There are also currency exchange points at the airport, and almost all hotels offer this service to holidaymakers.

BOURSORAMA CARD

I’ve had the Boursorama Ultim card for 2 years now. It’s free as long as I use it at least once a month. It allows me to pay anywhere, in any currency and without any fees. And I’m entitled to 3 free withdrawals abroad. If you’re interested, here’s my referral code: MYCA0838. This code entitles you to a bonus when you open your account, sometimes between €100 and €150 depending on the current offer.

19| Do I need insurance for a trip to Jordan?

CAR

Having additional insurance on your rental vehicle is a must for any trip abroad. But the deductibles and excesses offered by rental companies are often exorbitant. If you have a Gold credit card (or higher), now is the time to use it. We advise you to refuse any additional insurance offered by the rental company, and to rely instead on the insurance provided by your card. Some cards, such as American Express, offer very good coverage with an acceptable deductible. Be sure to check the card’s terms and conditions (for example, that the type of vehicle you are renting is well covered), and if possible, try to pay for your plane tickets and your car on the same card.

TRAVEL

For other travel insurance (trip cancellation, travel incidents – such as delayed or lost luggage, medical assistance abroad, etc.), your credit card insurance can also be a lifesaver. And you’ll understand why it’s worth paying for a Gold or higher card. So remember to use them, and if possible to pay for everything with the same card.

Jordan
Petra

20| What’s your budget?

Don’t expect Jordan to be a “cheap” destination! The Jordanian dinar (JOD) is very strong (1 JOD = €1.2). Prices are fairly close to those in France. Main excursions and activities such as Petra and Wadi Rum are expensive. For example, for Wadi Rum, allow between 60 – 75 JOD (75€ – 90€) per person for 1 day and 1 night.

I’ve listed below the expenses we had for 2 people for 10 nights and 12 days (arrival at 4am on day 1 and return at midnight on day 12!). Prices are in euros and include withdrawal charges.

  • Plane: 1102€ (departure from Toulouse – stopover Istanbul – Amman)
  • Car rental : 242€
  • Hotels (8 nights including 2 nights in Wadi Rum on excursion): €651
  • Restaurants/picnic/drinks: 490€
  • Petrol: 147€
  • Jordan Pass (2 days in Petra): 180€
  • Wadi Rum 2 days 2 nights excursion (all inclusive): 400€
  • Activités : 176€ (Madaba 6€, Guide Dana 40€, Canyoning Wadi Mujib 60€, Bains Ma’In Hot Spring 40€, Mont Nebo 8€, Taxi Amman 22€)
  • SIM card: €32

PHONE

21| How can I stay connected (Internet, cell phone)?

If you don’t have a plan that allows you to use your phone in Jordan (which was our case), you can buy a local prepaid SIM card from one of the operators (Orange, Umniah or Zain mobile, for example) in phone stores or at the airport (but more expensive!). The minimum charge is 30 JOD. You will then be allocated a local telephone number, a communication credit and 4G.

Jordan
Amman

OTHER INFORMATION

  • Jordan is an easy country to visit as a family. Jordanians are very attentive to the welfare of children. It is customary to adapt prices according to age. Generally speaking, you won’t pay for children under 6, and you’ll pay half-price if they’re between 6 and 12.
  • If you want to take your drone with you, you need a permit from the authorities reserved for professionals.
  • No special vaccinations are required, but like everywhere else, it’s a good idea to keep your DTP and Hepatitis A up to date.
  • Electrical outlets are the same as in France, so no adapters are required.
  • Remember to bring your medical certificate, diving license and logbook if you wish to dive in Aqaba.
  • Tap water is not drinkable.
  • There is a 0 tolerance for drink-driving.
  • Depending on the season, we have a 1h (March to October) or 2h (October to March) time difference with Jordan.

Thanks for reading!

Mylène

My most beautiful photos are on Instagram

Follow me on my adventures around the world

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