During a 10-day solo backpacking trip through Jordan in 2015, I fell madly in love with the country. The landscape was extraordinarily diverse, the food was incredible, and the people were unbelievably kind – stopping me several times per day to ask if I needed help with translation, securing a taxi, or finding my way.
I was astounded there weren’t more travelers and I wanted to change that. I now lead group trips to Jordan and believe it’s a great way to see the country, but I often travel alone and want other solo travelers to feel safe exploring Jordan.
Here are nine of my top tips to help you stay safe in Jordan.
While the media often depicts tension across the entire Middle East, know that Jordan is a very safe country. According to a World Economic Forum Report, it’s even safer than Germany or Great Britain. Stealing from or harming tourists is strongly frowned upon by locals and harsh punishments exist for offenders. As a result, travelers can explore the country confidently.
You may observe a strong security presence and metal detectors at hotels and public buildings, tourist police at major sites, and military checkpoints around border zones. This security presence is not in response to crime, it’s in place in order to prevent it.
Though Jordan is a very safe country, petty theft and crime does exist. Exercise the same safety precautions you would at home and be especially careful with your passport.
Jordan is one of the most, if not the most progressive countries in the Middle East. People in large cities and well-traveled places like Amman, Petra, and Wadi Rum are used to seeing and meeting people from different cultures. LGBTQ+ travelers do not typically have any issues in Jordan but may draw some stares, particularly in small villages, if they are affectionate in public.
Cat calling can happen occasionally (as it does in many Western countries), but Jordanian people are extremely peaceful, so even if they do not agree with someone’s sexual orientation, they are unlikely to interfere.
In general, travelers are respected and treated fairly in Jordan, but some scams do occur.
An organized bus transportation system is in place between most major sites and attractions. Visitors are recommended to catch licensed taxis at major hotels and agree to a fare before getting in or ask the driver to use the “O meter”.
In the event that a driver attempts to pick up other passengers, object! It’s normal in Jordan, but it can make a traveler feel uneasy.
Travelers are welcome to join locals in minibuses and shared taxis, and are often looked after by their fellow passengers. Know that drivers and passengers may only speak Arabic and there won’t be infrastructure or signage in place to alert riders when they’ve arrived at their stop.
Although some locals drink the tap water, it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water, instead drinking purified, boiled water or bring a water filtering bottle. It is completely safe to shower and brush your teeth using tap water.
Middle Eastern food is world famous for good reason. Many of the most popular dishes are plant based – falafel, hummus, baba ganouj – and tend to fare better sitting at room temperature for extended periods.
Street food enthusiasts should avoid ordering meat that looks like it’s been out for a while. Fruits and vegetables are safe to eat, but remember to wash all produce bought in open-air markets before eating.
As a majority Muslim country, alcohol is not as commonplace as it is elsewhere, but drinking is not a taboo. Foreigners are welcome to drink alcohol but should exercise the same caution they would in other countries. Avoid getting drunk and take a cab home if you’ve had too much. The capital city Amman’s traffic is heavy and chaotic and can be unsafe for pedestrians under the influence.
The likelihood of civil unrest and terrorism in Jordan is extremely slim. If you’re still concerned about the possibility of terrorism while visiting, learn more here.
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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.
Cassandra Brooklyn shares her tips and tactics for women traveling in Jordan, so you can avoid trouble and explore this Middle Eastern country with confidence.