Jammed between some of the most volatile countries in the world – just to name a few neighbors, Iraq and Syria – you'd be forgiven for being a little nervous before a trip to Jordan.
To put your nerves to rest, despite everything that's going on around the country, Jordan's leaders have been working hard to make the desert kingdom into a modernized nation in global society. The first step to doing this, is ensuring travelers feel safe.
Two recent incidents have threatened to destroy that reputation as a safe and welcoming destination.
Be aware though that ISIS continues to call for followers to launch attacks on westerners in Jordan, and especially at Petra. While the large police and military presence throughout the country has been successful at stopping terrorist actions in the country since the 2005 suicide bombing of hotels in Amman, there is no guarantee of perfect safety.
If you're still concerned about the possibility for terrorist actions while on vacation in Jordan, keep these facts in mind:
As a happy result of the increased police and military presence to combat terrorism, crime rates throughout Jordan are quite low compared even to many cities in Europe and the United States.
Generally, the only things you will have to worry about are bag and purse snatching, pickpocketing, and, occaisionally, sexual harassment or assault (don't ever ride in the front seat of a taxi – several female travelers have reported incidents of harrassment).
Cities everywhere attract a criminal element, and in the tourist-heavy parts of Amman, the threat of having your pocket picked or bag stolen is as high as it would be anywhere else. Be sure to keep important documents, cards, and cash away from prying fingers.
The shopping precinct of Amman and especially the up-market Taj Mall attract petty theives. In those places, be particularly careful when using ATMs – some people have been robbed after withdrawing cash, or had their PINs stolen by "shoulder surfers".
Always watch your bags; leave them unattended for even a moment and they'll miraculously grow legs and disappear. Always carry bags on the side away from the kerb, thieves ride by on mopeds or motorcycles, snatch your purse, and take off through busy traffic.
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Explore Amman, take a day-trip to Jaresh, visit Dana Nature Reserve, or go trekking near the Dead Sea – this nomad knows how to get off the beaten path in Jordan.