Are you a solo female traveler and planning to visit Jordan? In this blog, I share my experience of how it feels like traveling in Jordan as a woman. I have this feeling every time I plan a trip it gives me the impression of difficulty dealing with local people. But as a confident person, I express optimism. I have to plan everything as I don’t like the idea of just flying over there with no concrete itinerary. Also, my time is limited, so everything has to be arranged from the first to the last day.
However, this was not my first time traveling in the Middle East. I have been to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia not long ago. Saudi Arabia was a bit challenging for solo female travelers, and I think the popularity of Jordan has to do with it, the locals are aquainted to foreign visitors, and that makes agreeable to travel around.
Nine days in Jordan
I have an incredible journey of nine days in Jordan. From the moment I arrived in Amman to the last day, I haven’t encountered problems. Jordanians are very friendly and helpful, especially individuals working in the tourism sector. I even rent a car for convenience and have no issues driving as a solo female traveler.
Getting around in Jordan as a solo female traveler
One thing to keep in mind is that public transport in Jordan is not reliable, and the infrequent service of the buses can be an annoyance. I have nine days, and I don’t want to frazzle myself about the public transport in Jordan. So one month before my trip, I determined to rent a car, and it was the right decision.
Just to remind you, I also drove in Saudi Arabia, a nutshell country to be honest. Jordan is a perfect place in the Middle East for a road trip. It takes a lot of planning in terms of where and what places you’re going to visit. Moreover, you have to arrange your accommodation, so you have a place to stay after a long day drive.
The good thing about having a vehicle is you have the freedom. Jordan is very appealing, with countless viewpoints along the way. Steering a wheel in Jordan as a solo female traveler is safe! Just avoid driving at night and make sure you arrive at your hotel before it gets dark.
Be aware of scams in Jordan, especially in gas stations.
I am already aware of these tricks. Thanks to someone’s blog I found during my research. Scams can happen in every country, not only in Jordan. Therefore, it is handy to do a thorough investigation in a destination to avoid some surprises.
At first, I wanted to see how scams work in Jordan. So, for the first time I refueled, I pretended didn’t know the trick and allowed these guys to do their job.
These are some prevalent scams for motorists in Jordan. The gas stations in Jordan had always staffed – I barely saw self-service pump stations. When you refueling keep an eye on these guys. Before serving you, they have a small box in their hands that looks like a remote control. And then let the fuel gauge run with no flow of fuel, you see the meter running.
The second time I needed a refill, I got out of the car and watched them. I didn’t want to be seen as a rude tourist I asked if they really switched on the pump. Sometimes I insisted on doing it myself – they were surprised and upset. Who cares, I loathed as a victim of scams. Show some quick-witted ability! Don’t let these guys take a superior position over you.
Be careful when photographing wild animals.
Another thing to be careful when photographing wild animals, not all Jordanians are friendly, some needs money. During my drive, I saw the camels flaunting in the desert, so I got out of the car and took pictures. Suddenly, the owner appeared from nowhere and asked for money. I refused, but he became aggressive, so I ran to my car and drove away.
Taxi driver scams
Taxi scams can be anywhere and no exception in Jordan. The game with Jordanian taxi driver they decide their own price. If you encounter a driver like that, forget it…look for another cab.
When I was on my last days in Amman, I didn’t want to drive around the city because of the traffic, so I left my car at the hotel parking and walked. As you already know, Amman has a lot of up and down roads, so there were times I took a cab, especially going to the citadel.
The regular fare for a short ride is 3.00 dinars, the staff from my hotel said, don’t pay more. So the ploy here never ask the price. Make sure to have the exact amount before you get in, and only pay after you get out. In case if he complains, you just walk away.
What to wear as woman in Jordan?
Traveling to the Middle East isn’t the same as going a holiday in Europe or in the Caribbean. However, Jordan is a free land with few mandatory rules, like any Arab country. But there are still certain cultural norms to be aware of, especially for women travelers. You are free to wear whatever you want, sleeveless and shorts are not restricted, but expect the unconcious eyes aimed to you. I prefer covering my legs and shoulders. Just one thing, if visiting a mosque, sometimes it is required to wear a headscarf, so is handy to carry one.
When I was traveling to Saudi Arabia, it feels uncomfortable for me walking on the street without wearing the traditional robe (abaya) above my usual clothes. Jordan is an easy country with no dress code. Make sure you pack long pants and a long dress. Although I’ve seen a few women wearing shorts, for your own sake, I would leave those revealing attire at home. As for the Dead Sea, you can wear a bathing suit, it’s very touristy area the locals are used to seeing women in swimwear.
Buy a SIM card
Having a Jordanian number can be very helpful, if you need to call the police or get lost, or you don’t know the way back to your hotel. Also, if you rely on Google Maps, this can be a big help. Moreover, I also recommend downloading the offline Maps.me because sometimes, if you are in a remote area, you don’t have phone reception.
Where to get a SIM card in Jordan?
I purchased my SIM card at Amman airport. There are three providers to choose from at the arrival terminal: Orange, Zain, and Umniah. I opted for Orange Jordan, as recommended by others. The cheapest one is Umniah, but some say it didn’t have the best coverage.
Anyway, choose what is best for you, as long as you can make some calls if something goes wrong. Thankfully, I never had to use local calls. Jordanians prefer to communicate through WhatsApp.
The Orange Jordan prepaid SIM card comes with 10 and 30 days expiration. I paid 10 dollars for 15 GB of mobile data plus 60-minute local calls and SMS. If you choose for 30 days, it will cost 15 JD with 20 GB of internet and unlimited calls and SMS.
Which money to bring
I have it both in euros and US dollars. In Jordan, you can pay with dollars, but I wasn’t sure about in euros. I wouldn’t exchange too much at the airport, maybe a small amount just for the public buses.
However, if you want more dinars with your dollars and euros, the best option is to exchange them at the car rental counters. They’re not authorized money changers, but during the pick-up of my vehicle at Dollars, they asked if I wanted to swap my euros for Jordanian dinars. I checked the currency exchange on my phone, and they gave me the same rates.
Also, there are ATMs at the airport, but it can be expensive to cash out. They charged 5.00 JD for each draw and only 200 dinars you can take out as a maximum. But the good news is you can pay anywhere with a credit card without additional cost except in Wadi Rum Reserve. If you are going to the desert, bring sufficient cash to pay for the tours, food, and accommodation.
Accommodations in Jordan
There are extensive places to stay in Jordan. Whatever your preferences are, you will find them at booking.com. I always like to look for good hotels, for an affordable price. After I booked the airline ticket and made my route, I settled my accommodation. I like the concept that when I arrive in a new place, I have the address of where to go.
The advantage of booking through booking.com is that, in most cases, you can cancel or change for free up to a few days before arrival. Below are the places where I stayed during my trip to Jordan. If you ask my opinion about these hotels, well, they really are pretty good, except for that place I have in Amman.
These establishments are within walking distance in the city center with parking spaces. An ideal if you have a car. In Aqaba, I stayed in two different places. That is because when adjusting my itinerary, the hotel I booked had no room for an extra night. Both are allocated in the center.
- Madaba – Black Iris Hotel
- Wadi Musa – Petra Family Hotel
- Wadi Rum Reserve – Wadi Rum Sand Moon Camp & Tour
- Aqaba – Aster Hotel Aqaba
- Aqaba – The Palm Hotel
- Amman – The Sydney Hotel
My final thoughts about Jordan
Jordan was a fascinating travel destination in the Middle East. The perfect combination of culture, nature, and history was inexpressible. As a solo female traveler, I expected the most severe thing could happen, but it turned out pretty well. The only thing I dislike is the overcrowded Petra, but this is one of the highlights in Jordan.
Everyone wants to see Petra – I bought a three-day Petra pass, but I only use it for one day. I couldn’t wait to get out of the congested city. The next day, I find myself in an immense desert valley with impressive tranquility, Wadi Rum. I have never felt unsafe during my trip and had no irritating inconveniences with Jordanian men. In a word, Jordan is safe for solo female travelers.