Jordan is one of the most magical countries I have visited so far. It’s completely different from all the other countries I’ve seen, which makes it special. Although it’s quite an easy country to travel in, it’s nice to know a few things beforehand. From the Jordan conservative dress code to things like power plugs and water. Are you planning a vacation? In this article I will help you prepare for your trip to Jordan.
Is Jordan safe to travel?
I understand the concern: the country shares a border with Syria and that area is known to be fairly unstable. However, I can assure you the country is perfectly safe to travel. Of course I recommend staying away from the Syrian border (we didn’t even go near that place), but in the rest of the country we had absolutely no trouble whatsoever (May 2019). Jordan is home to many different religions, but they all live in peace together.
Travelling Jordan & vaccinations
When you are travelling to Jordan, there aren’t any mandatory vaccinations. Only when you are visiting a Yellow Fever country one week before your trip to Jordan, you need to get a yellow fever shot. Other than that, vaccines are optional.
If you want to go fully prepared, it is advised to get the DPT & Hepatitus A vaccine.
Visa on arrival or in advance?
For many travelers it’s possible to get a visa on arrival if you fly into Jordan (airport of Amman or Aqaba). So no need to get your Jordan visa beforehand. Check their website to see if your home country is listed for a visa on arrival. If not, you have to get it in advance.
A Jordan visa on arrival costs 40JOD, which is about $56 / €50. However, if you buy the Jordan Pass, the visa fee is waived.
Normally I’m not the kind of person who gets a tourist pass, but in this case it’s the only sane thing to do. The Jordan Pass is a pass which not only gives you a visa on arrival free of charge, but it also gives you free entrance to many different tourist attractions. There are three different Jordan Passes you can choose from. They all include the same tourist attractions, but the only difference is the amount of days you can get into Petra. You can choose the 1-day, 2-day or 3-day pass. They are 70, 75 or 80 JOD.
Which Jordan Pass do I recommend? Since Petra is one of the modern wonders of the world, you can easily spend more than one day. So I recommend to get the 2-day pass.
Anyway, if you travel to Jordan and visit Petra, which every traveler will do, you are already saving an awful lot of money with the Jordan Pass. So definitely a must, if you ask me!
How does the Jordan Pass work? Just print it out and show it at the entrance of every tourist attraction.
Important for the Dutch people: you cannot buy a Jordan Pass with a Rabobank Creditcard. You’ll get an error message. Super annoying. So see if you can borrow someone else’s creditcard to get your Jordan Pass. That’s what we did.
Power sockets / plugs & electricity in Jordan
In Jordan the power sockets are mostly similar to most European countries. It’s suitable for the two pronged plug Type C. In Wadi Musa and Aqaba however, they only had the 3 prong Type G sockets. So I’d recommend bringing a travel adapter.
If you’re from the USA, you’ll need a power plug adapter and probably a voltage converter as well, since the electrical system in Jordan is based on 220V.
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Let’s talk about money
In Jordan you will pay with Jordanian Dinar. 1 JOD equals $1.41 / €1,26 (May 2019). It’s also possible to pay with Dollars, Euros and even Israeli Shekel, but this is more expensive because of the exchange rate. So try to pay with the local currency as much as possible. Also when they charge your creditcard and they ask if you want Jordanian Dinar or your home currency, always choose the Dinar. It’s cheaper.
Getting money from ATMs with your regular debit card works very well. If it isn’t possible, you can always use your credit card. Your Mastercard and Visa should work fine. Also, many tourist attractions and restaurants accept credit cards.
Even though getting money out of the ATM with your bank / credit card costs a little bit extra, it’s still advised to do this rather than buying JOD in advance from your local bank. I tried to buy 500JOD (which would be worth €628,-) in advance, but they wanted to charge me €746. That’s a truly ridiculous commission if you ask me.
Best time to travel to Jordan
It’s from the halfway March to halfway May, and from halfway September to halfway November. Keep in mind there’s Ramadan (dates vary per year), which limits the availability of alcoholic beverages and effects the opening hours of restaurants.
Rental car or public transport?
Yes, this was our dilemma as well. Normally I’m very much of a public transport traveler. However, since we only had 10 days in Jordan and we didn’t want to miss any of the highlights, we decided to take a rental car instead. It gives you a bit more freedom.
The main reason for choosing the rental car? Public transport is cheap, but it isn’t very reliable. Local busses only leave when full. On Fridays and Saturdays, which is the weekend in Jordan, there are hardly any busses to be found. If you have a tight schedule, this isn’t very practical. So in the end we decided upon a rental car, and it was absolutely great.
Is Jordan tap water safe for drinking?
Unfortunately no, you cannot drink tap water in Jordan. Some hotels & hostels do have a water supply from which you can refill your water bottle. I recommend doing this, since it a) saves money and b) is good for the environment.
Taking a reusable water bottle is also one of my essentials for a long haul flight, so you’ll kill two birds with one stone 🙂
Dress code in Jordan
Jordan is an Arabic country, so the dress code is quite conservative. Women aren’t supposed to show their shoulders and knees. Although the country is quite touristy nowadays and the locals are used to seeing tourists of less conservative countries, I still believe travelers should adapt. So my Thule backpack was filled with long dresses and skirts, long pants, t-shirts and –lifesaver- a couple of scarfs. These are perfect for covering shoulders, but can also be used as a head scarf if necessary (which came in handy in the Wadi Rum desert).