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With stunning scenery and countless viewpoints along the way, driving in Jordan is the preferred choice for most international travelers visiting Jordan. There are several internationally renowned car rental companies in Jordan to choose from.
In this article, I’ll explain to you the best car rental companies an locations along with my tips for driving and renting a car in Jordan. I’ll also show you alternative ways of transportation if you don’t want to self-drive.
As with all articles you’ll find at Welcome2Jordan, the information in this article reflects my personal opinion. Recommendations are based on years of experience as a local expert.
Is it a Good Idea to Rent a Car in Jordan?
First of all, you might wonder whether it makes sense to rent a car in Jordan. Of course, the answer depends on your individual situation, but for 95 % of travelers I would say YES!
There are so many advantages of renting a car when compared to other means of transportation.
Driving in Jordan is generally safe and fun. It provides you maximum freedom which is quite valuable in a country like Jordan. There are countless viewpoints and small sights along the way. You’ll be able to travel the country at your own pace without depending on anyone else’s schedule. Besides, car rental in Jordan is quite affordable, especially when traveling with family or a group of friends.
Car Rental Companies in Jordan
My personal recommendation is to stick with one of the renowned rental car companies in Jordan. That’s because they have clear policies, insurances in place, and the chance of sudden cancellations or other negative surprises is fairly low.
The best car rental companies in Jordan are:
- Thrifty (One of the leading providers in Jordan. Usually very good price for mid-range and large cars, outstanding service)
- Dollar (Great deals on large family cars for up to 7 people)
- Europcar (Internationally renowned. Good choice of SUVs)
The above three car rental companies are my personal favorites in Jordan, especially Thrifty and Dollar. That’s because they both have a large carpool in Jordan, various locations, great prices and outstanding service.
Other brands such as Sixt and Avis can also be found in Jordan. They often have more availability of small cars. However, they are generally more expensive when compared to Thrifty and Dollar).
Fill in your dates below to see availability and prices or all major rental car companies in Jordan.
Requirements to Rent a Car in Jordan
There are a few basic requirements to be able to rent a car in Jordan.
- The legal age to drive in Jordan is 18. However, most companies only rent to driver’s who are at least 21 of age, sometimes even 25.
- Valid driver’s license. Drivers must hold their license for at least 1 year. A national license is accepted (for most countries) if it’s written in Latin characters (e.g. licenses issued by an EU country, UK, US, Canada, Australia…). If your license isn’t in Latin characters, you need an international driver’s license. Note that you need to bring your original license (photocopies or digital licenses are not accepted). There are some exceptions and additional rules for licenses of certain countries. Make sure to read the fine-print before renting.
- Passport (You also need one to enter Jordan).
- Credit or debit card at the name of the main driver to pay a security deposit (usually JOD 500. More on this below)
Costs of Renting a Car
The daily rates vary depending on the provider, season and the type of the car.
Regular small to medium-size cars (for up to 5 people) range from €35 – €50. Large cars (7-8 seats) are usually between €120 – €135.
I recommend that you choose at least a medium car even when traveling solo or as a couple. That’s because Jordan is quite hilly and driving is much more pleasant when you feel your car is strong enough. You won’t find many small cars in Jordan. Medium is the default here in Jordan.
Car Rental Locations in Jordan
Rental cars are available in multiple locations across the country. Most international rental companies have a branch at Queen Alia International Airport (Amman airport), as well as in major cities like Amman and Aqaba. Which pick up location is the best depends mainly on your itinerary.
Rent a Car at Amman Airport
Picking up and dropping off your rental car at Amman airport is a convenient option. That’s especially true when you embark on a round trip for which you need your car from the first to the last day of your trip.
Do you land at Queen Alia Airport and head straight to Madaba, the Dead Sea, Petra or Wadi Rum? Renting a car at the airport will be your best bet. However, if you’re planning on visiting Amman first, you should ask yourself the following questions first.
Are you staying in Amman for a night or two, and does your hotel in Amman provide parking? Then it’s no problem to park your car there for the time you’re in Amman. You won’t probably drive in Amman while you’re there, as Amman is best explored on foot. If you’re staying in Amman for several days, you can better save money and just pick up your car there when you need it.
Rent a Car in Amman (City)
Most renowned car rental companies have several branches spread across Amman, the capital of Jordan. You’ll find the same companies in Amman city as you’ll find at the airport. Many car rental companies are located in the western part of Amman (e.g. Abdali), which is also where many popular hotels are. If you’re staying in the eastern part (e.g. Downtown, Rainbow Street…), you can easily head to the car rental location by taxi. That’s usually not more than a few dollars. Many companies are also willing to drop off the rental car at your hotel at no extra charge.
Rent a Car in Aqaba
Aqaba, located in the south of the country, is also a popular location to start your journey through Jordan. Rental cars are available at Aqaba airport and in Aqaba city center. Aqaba would be most convenient when coming from Eilat (via Wadi Araba land border crossing) or by plane landing at Aqaba airport.
Rent a Car in Petra
Petra is on the top of the list for most Jordan travelers. Please note that you would usually not start your trip anywhere near Petra, but most likely in Amman or Aqaba. That means you have to rent a car either in Amman or Aqaba (where you start your trip), and then drive to Petra.
As of today, there are no (official) car rental companies in Petra.
The same applies for the Dead Sea. You’d usually rent a car in Amman and then drive from Amman to the Dead Sea. There aren’t any car rental companies located at Dead Sea itself.
Rent a Car in Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is the famous desert region in southern Jordan. The best way to get there is by car. Same as for Petra, you’ll probably start your trip either in Amman or Aqaba. Rent a car at the starting point and then drive to Wadi Rum.
Please note that you won’t be able to take your rental car inside Wadi Rum. Cars are parked at the car park at the Visitor’s Center, Rum Village or at your camp (if you’re staying at a camp outside the protected area). Leaving your car here is generally safe. Make sure you don’t leave any valuables behind. I’m not saying this because it’s Wadi Rum, but that’s more of a general advice. I’d never leave anything valuable in my car, regardless of the country.
If you’re traveling to Jordan by 4×4, you may take your own vehicle into the desert for a fee. However, that won’t be the case for the majority of visitors. The normal way of doing this is to join a jeep tour in Wadi Rum. The drivers are very experienced driving in the sand, and know their way around the desert.
Useful Tips on Renting a Car in Jordan
- No need to rent a car to explore Amman. Amman is a large city known for its chaotic traffic and traffic jams. Amman’s sights are best explored by foot. Most ancient sites are located in the downtown area where parking is difficult. You’ll also be able to enjoy the culture more when walking around the streets. Traveling between downtown Amman and western Amman (where most hotels are) is best done by taxi (costs around $2-3 to move around the city).
- Renting a car for several days (e.g. one week instead of one day) usually comes with a lower daily rate when compared to short-term rentals.
- Renting a car usually involves a security deposit (usually around JD 500). The deposit will be used if the car is returned damaged or stolen. If you return the car in the state you received it, the deposit is usually refunded within a few days. Most companies will block the amount on your credit card, meaning it will only be “on hold” for the time of your booking. If you don’t have a credit card, you can usually pay by debit card (Maestro or any) and will receive a refund after returning the car.
- Dropping off your car at a different location usually involves additional fees. Try to select the same location for pick up and drop off to get the best price. Many car rental companies are willing to bring or pick up the rental car to your hotel. Even if that’s not the case, taking a taxi from your hotel to the pick up location (in big cities) will usually not cost you more than a few dollars.
- Most providers offer free mileage meaning that you won’t have to pay any additional charges based on the distance you drive during your rental period.
- There’s a “full to full” fuel policy on most cars. You’ll receive the car with a full tank and will have to fuel up before returning it. That said, be sure to check the fuel level when receiving your car. If it’s only half full, that should be written down in the rental agreement. Consequently, you’ll have to return the car with a half full tank too. Be sure to fuel up before embarking on a long drive.
- Most cars come with air conditioning. No worries about sweating in the summer.
- Most cars are automatic which makes driving easy and fun. Jordan is quite hilly, so that definitely helps.
- Emergency roadside assistance is often not included in the rental price.
- Full insurance is usually not included in the rental price. Most car rental companies (not only in Jordan) provide basic insurance in their package. Scratches, damage on wheels, theft etc is usually not included in the rental price. You’ll have to pay a deposit which is intended to cover any damages that occur during the rental period. Whether you should take on additional insurance depends on how important “peace of mind” is for you. The additional cost is quite high (about ¼ on top of the initial daily rate). Theft and major damage are very rare in Jordan.
- Renting a car at the airport can be the most convenient option. Note that an “airport fee” applies. This fee is usually included in the rental price, which is the reason why fees are slightly higher compared to locations in the city.
Would you like to learn more about driving in Jordan? Read more about highways, speed limits and more in my article 10 Facts about Driving in Jordan.
Alternatives to Car Rental
Don’t feel like self-driving or don’t meet the requirements? Let’s have a look at the alternative options you have available when visiting Jordan.
Guided tours are the best alternative to self-driving. They are a great choice for solo travelers who would like to meet other people when traveling. On sites such as GetYourGuide you can find a large choice of tours to various destinations in Jordan, such as Petra and Wadi Rum. There are also some options for transfer only for those who are only looking for a way to get to a place, not an actual tour.
In many countries, public transport is the way to go. That’s definitely not the case in Jordan. There are no passenger trains, no subway, tramway or whatsoever. The only public transportation is the bus. While there’s a bus schedule (on paper), the reality looks different. Most buses only run when full and sometimes, they just don’t. Trust me, as a tourist, you really don’t want to go through this struggle. There are much better options available.
One of these “better options” to public transportation is the JETT Bus. JETT is a privately owned bus company offering transfer to many tourist destinations across the country. In contrast to the public buses, their schedule is reliable. While the choice of destinations is great, the JETT bus usually operates just once a day. That means that you’ll have less flexibility when compared to booking a private transfer through GetYourGuide. Have a look at their current JETT bus schedule.
Local Tour Operators
There are countless tour operators in Jordan. You’ll often get a better deal when booking directly through a local Jordanian tour operator instead of booking through a travel agency in your country. That’s because there won’t be any commission, plus you can potentially negotiate a package deal if you’d like to visit multiple places across Jordan. Remember, bargaining is key in Arab culture. See here for a full list of tour operators in Jordan.
Uber and Careem are the leading mobility providers in Jordan. In fact, they are a much better option than the yellow taxis in Jordan. Taking an Uber for long distances will be costly. However, it’s a great option to travel short to medium distances, such as from the airport to Amman, within Amman, or to some smaller sites around Amman for which there is no bus or tour available.
Ready to plan your ideal round trip? Don’t forget to check out the Welcome2Jordan travel guide – the must-have for anyone self-organizing a round trip across Jordan.