1. It is Safe: While Jordan may have some naughty neighbors, the country itself is super safe. Like most Americans, we were a little apprehensive before our trip, worried by the fear mongers over on the news stations that paint the entire Middle East as unsafe grounds. However, upon arrival, those fears were quickly dismissed as we saw how organized, secure, and safe Jordan truly is.
Unfortunately, most Americans group Jordan in with the news of ISIS that comes out of the region. Rest assured, Jordan is safe. The lack of tourism was painfully obvious in our visit. Petra, Jordan’s very own wonder of the world, was practically empty. While the lack of numbers made for an easy visit, it saddened us to see such a historical location so empty.
Jordan is a modernized country with paved roads, friendly locals, and little crime. While we traveled on an organized tour, we met many travelers and locals who recommended traveling independently. Among these travelers was a woman who has been visiting Jordan independently for 15+ years.
2. American citizens can get a Visa on arrival: U.S. citizens entering and staying in Jordan can purchase a visa on arrival upon entry at Queen Alia International Airport and most international land border crossings. A visa on arrival costs 40 JD cash (approximately $56 USD). Book now and pay later at Booking.com!
3. Jordan Pass: If you’re visiting Jordan and planning on visiting the major attractions, purchase a Jordan Pass. The total price is approximately $100 USD. Not only does the Jordan Pass take care of your visa on arrival, but it covers entry to most historical sights around the country. If you’re visiting Jerash, Petra, Amman, and Wadi Rum, all of these highlights are included in this one pass. For a full list of included sights, click here.
4. Dress code: There is no mandatory dress code in Jordan, but there is a recommended way of dressing. For women, it is suggested to wear loose fitting clothing that covers your thighs, chest, stomach, and shoulders. While this is not required, it is a recommended way to dress to show respect for the locals. While Jordan is quite progressive by Middle Eastern standards, it is much more conservative than America. If you do wear tight clothing, sleeveless tops, short dresses, or shorts, expect eyes on you.
As the capital, Amman is laid back in terms of dress standards. As you exit the city and go into the country, you’ll find standards to be more conservative. If you’re visiting resort towns like The Dead Sea and Aqaba, it is perfectly acceptable to wear “resort wear” like bikinis, dresses, and shorts. The only mandatory code of dress is enforced if you are entering a mosque, where women will have to cover their heads and body.
It is recommended for gentlemen to wear pants at all times and a t-shirt. If you must wear shorts, have them be loose fitting.
5. Don’t Shave: Ladies, this only applies if you’re heading to The Dead Sea. Because of the high salt content at almost 10x the saltiness of the ocean, do not shave for a few days before entering the Dead Sea.
6. The Best Times to Visit: The best times to visit Jordan are in the fall months (September – November) and the spring months (March – June). The summer months are too hot for touring and the winter months can get below freezing. Visiting in the fall and spring will offer temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s during the day and 50’s at night.
7. Visit Petra by Night: As if the new wonder of the world wasn’t magical enough, Petra also puts on a “Petra by night” experience. This magical evening illuminates the rose red city of Petra by candlelight. Over 1500 candles light the mile long path to the Treasury at Petra. Once you arrive, soak in the mystical moment and listen to the local Bedouin play traditional music. Petra by Night runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each week.
9. Visit Petra over multiple days: Petra is one of the most enchanting wonders of the world and it’s a must see during any visit to Jordan. It’s important to remember that Petra is an ancient lost city, not just a structure. This city is gigantic and takes days to truly explore. Spend at least two days investigating the city and don’t leave it all to one day.
10. Talk to Strangers: Jordan is one of the friendliest countries we have ever visited. It is perfectly acceptable for strangers on the street to welcome you and shake your hand. While this is not normal for American cities, it is in friendly suburbs and in the mid-west. If someone says hello to you, say hello back with a smile. If they ask you where you are from, they are genuinely interested in meeting a visitor to their country and they want to show you a great time.
11. Expect Invitations: Jordanian hospitality is unparalleled. Because of their deep sense of community, it is perfectly acceptable for a Jordanian to invite you to their home to have tea. If you cannot accept the invitation, say “shukran, shukran” and place your hand over your heart. This is a way of graciously declining with respect. Note: for women traveling to Wadi Musa/Petra alone, do not accept invitations from men. The men in the area are known to be very pushy.