How Safe is Jordan for Women Travelers Going Solo?

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Is it safe to travel to Jordan as a woman? Tour leader Cassandra Brooklyn shares her tips and tactics so you can avoid trouble and explore this Middle Eastern country with confidence.


Woman sitting and looking at view of desert in Petra Photo © Getty Images/Oleh_Slobodeniuk

My first trip to Jordan was a 10-day solo backpacking trip in 2015. I quickly learned that Jordanians have hospitality hardwired into their DNA and running through their blood.

Every day, people would stop to ask if I needed any help. Young women asked if I needed help hailing a taxi. Men who spoke no English (I spoke no Arabic) helped me find the right minibusses and made sure I wasn’t overcharged. Everyone gestured energetically to indicate where I should get off and how I could arrive at my final destination. 

Jordan is one of the safest places for women to travel around in the Arab world, and is an excellent introduction for first-time visitors to the Middle East. 

I now lead group trips to Jordan, and while I believe group tours are a great way to see the country – and many women feel safer traveling in groups – solo female travelers should also feel safe exploring alone.

Here are my tips on how to enjoy a safe, fulfilling trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Jordan leads the Middle East in women’s rights

Jordanian women are highly educated, are free to travel without a male companion, and don’t have to cover their hair in public (any woman that does so, does it by choice). Women here enjoy much more freedom than women in neighboring Middle Eastern countries.

The Jordan Tourism Board is actively promoting sustainable social enterprises as part of a Meaningful Travel Map to Jordan, including several that create employment opportunities for women in the tourism workforce, a typically male-dominated industry. Not only do these enterprises create financial freedom for women, but some also offer professional training and pathways to promotion.

Etiquette tips for women traveling in Jordan

As a majority-Muslim country, Jordan is conservative and maintains some religious and cultural traditions that women travelers should be aware of. 

      • Out of respect for local customs and to ward off unwanted attention, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, short skirts/shorts, and shirts with a low neckline
      • A more relaxed dress code is acceptable in popular areas such as Petra, the Dead Sea, Aqaba, and Wadi Rum
      • Conservative clothing may be required to enter family homes or religious sites
      • Conservative men, particularly those in villages that don’t receive many tourists, may be uncomfortable shaking a woman’s hand. If a man extends his hand to shake yours, he’s indicating that he is okay with the practice – but if a man doesn’t offer, it’s best to not initiate.

Is Jordan safe for women traveling alone?

Solo female travelers should feel safe visiting the Dead Sea or Aqaba alone, but to avoid unwanted attention from men, stick to resorts instead of public beaches.

In Petra, Jerash and Wadi Rum, avoid venturing off alone to remote areas as off-beat paths may not be well marked. Avoid dark alleys and unlit streets and take additional safety precautions when going out late. 

Bedouin men in Petra and Wadi Rum are known to befriend single women by inviting them to go on a hike or go stargazing. These “pirate Casanovas” can be identified by their long hair, head scarves, and thick eyeliner that resemble that of Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean.

These Bedouin romance scammers may be physically harmless, but the tales they tell to seduce women tend to be fabricated and they typically continue requesting money long after the women return home.

Safe transportation tips for women

When traveling by bus, try to sit next to another woman. If traveling by taxi, personal car, or minibus, it is respectful for women to sit in the back, rather than next to the driver – though several drivers invited me to join them in the front seat.

During my first visit to Wadi Rum, I was offended when I was asked to give up my seat to a man and move to the back of the minibus. I assumed that I was deemed less important than the man, but local women assured me this custom is in place to ensure that unaccompanied visitors do not sit next to members of the opposite sex.

In the capital city of Amman, using Uber or Careem makes getting a ride easier than trying to haggle with a cab driver. If you do take a cab, only use licensed taxis hailed from major hotels and agree on the fare before getting in. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, object if the driver attempts to pick up another passenger. This practice is normal in Jordan.

Traveling when you have your period

Feminine hygiene products (tampons, in particular) can be very difficult to find in the desert and in small villages in rural areas. If your period is due during your trip, pack sanitary products. Or consider using a reusable menstrual cup such as a Diva Cup.

What to do if you get into trouble

If you need help, head to the closest police station or tourist police booth. The latter can be found at most tourist sites. In the event of a serious emergency, call 911.

Do not feel embarrassed about reporting inappropriate behavior. Harassment and assault is never your fault. It is very rare in Jordan, but if it happens, report it.

Safe accommodation tips

Amman is one of the safest capitals in the region, but female travelers should stick to accommodation in Al Balad (downtown district), Jabal Hussein, Jabal al-Weibdeh, Jabal Amman, and Rainbow Street.

When visiting Petra and Wadi Rum, book a hotel, guesthouse, or official desert camp that has a proper website with positive references. Though some local Bedouins will offer accommodation in traditional caves, this practice is not allowed and can prove dangerous for women.

A few final safety tips for solo travel in Jordan

    • Walk with confidence
    • Keep your bag/purse close
    • Carry as little cash as possible
    • Don’t wear flashy jewelry
    • Keep cameras and phones safely stored
    • Keep small change for taxis and tips easily accessible to avoid pulling out your main stash
    • Download a navigational app like Maps.Me that can be used offline
    • Take a taxi home at night instead of walking (especially if you’ve been drinking)
    • Always carry the business card of your hotel so the taxi can take you to your door.

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  • Prio said

    I (female, looks Chinese) travelled in Jordan solo in December 2014. I love my whole experience there. Of course, there were uncomfortable moments among many many beautiful and warm-hearted moments.

    What could be uncomfortable:
    - Staring, but they were harmless. I found a head clothe helped me slightly.
    - Young male shopkeepers called me like calling a cat. I took them as a background voice.
    - Young men such as taxi driver or restaurant waiters asked if I have a friend (which, I think, they mean "boyfriend"). I said yes politely and stopped talking to them, also for other questions.
    - Donkey handlers in Petra park. Don't let them talk you into their business.

    Warm-hearted moment:
    - A father and son picked me up from the petra park entrance up to wadi musa. Yes, I know, it is not recommended. But the boy insisted and the father in bedouin dress looks reliable. Maybe I am wrong.
    - My day-trip taxi driver took me to a restaurant, ordered and paid for me first so that I got a local price, without he had any food.
    - I took a shared taxi in Amman by chance. Even though we did not understand each other much, the driver and other passengers sent me to my destination.

    Jordanians are very peaceful and helpful. Be careful in Petra park though, there are people want to rip you off too.


  • Sarah said

    Hi there,

    Would it be appropriate for an Australian woman to travel/volunteer/stay in accommodation with a group of men from the US with no other women? Would this be offensive? Would it attract unwanted attention? Has anyone experienced anything like this?

    Thanks ????


  • Terese said

    In the summer of 2012, I went to Amman for research and to provide medical care to refugee populations in Jordan. I was a part of a tight-knit group of students, and when I went to meet them one evening, my taxi had to drop me off a couple of blocks away from our meeting spot on Rainbow Street. Within moments of walking alone on the bright street, all traffic had stopped, and a full-blown riot broke out. Men were ripping at my clothes and grabbing at my breasts and "other private areas" from every direction. Thank God a man came out of nowhere and pulled me into a local store. He and the owner locked me inside and called the police. The police had to set up an entire convoy to protect me from the 500+ men screaming at me and banging on the walls. I've been traveling as a missionary all over the world for 10+ years, and that was, by far, the scariest experience of my life. DO NOT EVER TRAVEL ALONE AS A WOMAN in Jordan. Weeks after that incident, another woman got on the wrong bus (an honest mistake), and she was ripped limb from limb by the men on that bus. Safer than the rest of the Middle East, still doesn't mean it's safe. I am grateful every day that I made it out of that, and it was a complete miracle that the unknown man scooped me up before it was too late.


  • Lesley said

    In my experience, Israel is by far the safest country in the middle east - safer than Jordan or the other countries I've visited. Maybe the author and some of the commenters don't consider Israel to be part of the middle east, but it obviously is. I found that in Israel, women are treated as equals to men, and there's no problem sight-seeing and shopping and dining alone. Israelis have huge hearts and are incredibly welcoming and helpful to tourists and other non-Israelis. Go to Israel and enjoy - it's absolutely incredible.


  • Lesley said

    EDIT: That was not to say you shouldn't go to Jordan. It's stunning. But definitely travel in groups, or at least two people if one is a man; for women, try to be inconspicuous.


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