This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Not interested in packaged tours where a guide simply takes you from one tourist attraction to the next? Then why not try self-organizing your journey to experience everything a destination has to offer at your own pace and for a truly amazing vacation? Here are ten steps to plan the perfect visit to Jordan!
#1 Pick your dates
The very first step in planning is to pick when you’d like to go. The best time to travel to Jordan is March through June and September through October. For a trip involving long walks, it’s recommended to do so outside Ramadan (the Muslim holy month when people fast between sunrise and sunset).
You’re very lucky if you can take time off whenever you want, but in reality many companies expect their employees to request annual leave at the beginning of the year. Thus, make sure to plan your trip in advance to secure your desired dates!
If you’re looking at dates for 2021, you could travel in the first week of April (April 1st to April 10th), in the second half of May (May 20th to May 30th), or anytime in September and October. Jordan is a relatively small country, but there is so much to see and to do! Make sure to plan at least 7 days for your roundtrip.
#2 Prepare your travel documents
To enter Jordan, you’ll need a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months past your intended trip dates. One empty page is required for the entry stamp. If your passport has expired, is expiring in the next 6 months or doesn’t have any blank pages left, make sure to request a new passport before your trip.
Most nationalities, such as citizens from EU countries (incl. the UK), Switzerland, the US, Canada, Australia, India and many more are eligible for a visa upon arrival. If you are among those nationalities, there’s no need to arrange a visa in advance, simply arrive at the airport and have your passport stamped with a friendly “welcome to Jordan”.
#3 Book your flights
Once you’ve chosen your dates it’s time to book flights! Flights are often cheaper when booked well in advance. If you’re traveling from Europe, airports such as Frankfurt, Vienna and Paris offer direct flights to Amman, the capital city of Jordan. If you’re traveling from the US, London and Paris are popular stopovers. When coming from India, you’ll be traveling via Dubai.
Picking a less popular time of the day (e.g. in the early morning) and flights with stopovers often give you the best price. It’s definitely worth comparing prices to find the best deal!
#4 Plan an itinerary
All right – you’ve picked your dates and booked your flights… now it’s time to organize your itinerary. This is probably the most time consuming but also most exciting step of planning your trip. Self-organizing means seeing the attractions that match your interests. Not a fan of museums but love hiking? Looking for a combination of wellness and adventure? It’s totally up to you, Jordan has it all!
The best way to familiarize yourself with the highlights of a country is with a guide book. The Welcome2Jordan travel guide is designed for travelers just like you, who would like to self-organize a roundtrip through the country. Inside, you’ll find an overview of the highlights of Jordan sorted by interest. Whether you prefer archeological wonders, wellness, nature, hiking, castles or biblical sites – you’ll find detailed descriptions in the guide, allowing you to pick the destinations according to your taste. In addition to background information on each sight, you’ll find useful information on how to combine different locations, how much time to plan, and how to get there. Sample itineraries will be a useful source of inspiration and the handy packing list might want to make you pack your bags right away!
#5 Book your accommodations
Once you know where you want to go and when, you can begin to book your accommodations. Similar to flights, hotel rates vary depending on the season and availability – so book in advance to ensure wider choices and a better chance to score a deal! While there’s usually plenty of rooms available in Amman, we recommend booking your accommodation for places such as Dana, Wadi Rum or the Dead Sea prior to your trip to ensure availability.
#6 Reserve a rental car
The best way to get around in Jordan is by rental car. Public transportation is available, but pretty unreliable. Unless you’re traveling on a very tight budget, it’s most convenient to rent a car. The infrastructure in Jordan is good and self-driving is safe and fun. Make sure to bring your driver’s license and credit card to book a rental car, as most companies require a deposit. In order to minimize financial risk, you might want to opt in for insurance. Make sure to read the fine print and check the car for any damage before driving off.
There’re various international and local rental companies at Amman airport, in the city center and in other cities such as Aqaba. Most people will choose one of the international, well-reputed car rental companies.
#7 Download offline maps
Jordan is actually a bit tricky when it comes to navigating your way through the country. While in most Western countries you’d need a street name and house number to go from one place to another, Jordan only introduced street names a few years ago. Locals, including most taxi drivers, are not familiar with the street names and instead use landmarks and buildings to navigate the city.
While atlases are no longer commonly used, most travelers will pack their smartphone and use Google Maps for navigation purposes. Download the country map for Jordan on WiFi when at home to use it without internet connecting when in Jordan. You will find the coordinates of all major sights in the Welcome2Jordan travel guide which you can copy over to Google Maps for easy and quick navigation.
#8 Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance is often overlooked, yet it’s an absolute must-have for any world traveler! There’re various types of travel insurance. Some cover lost baggage and delays (which you may or may not want). What’s really important is medical travel insurance. While most travelers are safe and accidents rarely occur, medical travel insurance is pretty affordable in most countries and definitely worth the peace of mind. Make sure to make yourself familiar with the providers in your country and compare plans. This is not only applicable for a trip to Jordan – but for all your trips abroad.
#9 Buy the Jordan Pass
The Jordan Pass is an initiative of the Jordan Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and a good way to save money! There are three packages, depending on how many days you would like to spend in Petra. The Jordan Wanderer costs JOD 70 ($ 98 / € 88) and waives the visa fee (usually JOD 40), includes a one-day entrance to Petra (usually JOD 50) and access to over 40 other sights and museums throughout the country.
Important note: the Jordan Pass must be purchased online prior to arrival. It’s for personal use only (make sure to carry your I.D. with you) and can only be purchased by nationalities that are eligible for visa upon arrival.
Congratulations, you have completed your trip planning and can start getting excited! Time for some anticipation. Personally, I’m an absolute foodie and local specialities are one of the reasons I love to travel to other countries. Why not indulge in Jordanian cuisine or saving some restaurants you might want to visit during your vacation?