Backpacking Jordan: Ultimate Guide 2024

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Visiting Jordan is on the bucket list of almost every traveller, and for good reason.

But backpacking Jordan isn’t quite as popular as backpacking in Thailand or Australia, for example.

I’m a full-time backpacker so I completely understand the difficulties that arise when backpacking in Jordan, and most countries in the Middle East.

To help you plan a budget trip to Jordan, I have created this ultimate guide with everything you need to know about a backpacking trip there.

So let’s get right into it!

Why you should backpack Jordan

There are so many reasons to visit Jordan, and the chances are pretty high that you are already considering a trip there if you are reading this post. But if you need an extra little bit of persuasion, here are 5 main reasons people choose to backpack Jordan.

  • The Culture & History: Jordan has such a rich history and culture to experience. The perfect and most obvious example of this is Petra. People visit Jordan for Petra alone.
  • Natural Beauty: The landscapes in Jordan are absolutely stunning. It’s genuinely like being on Mars. The deserts and sandy terrain create some natural phenomena.
  • Hospitality: You will get such a warm welcome when you visit. The locals are so friendly and welcoming. Few places in the world have as good hospitality as Jordan does.
  • It’s cheap: As a backpacker, you don’t have the biggest budget in the world, right? One of the best selling points for Jordan is that it’s easy to get by on a shoestring budget.
  • Cuisine: The food in Jordan is unbelievable. It’s a little mix of everything and in my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated cuisines in the world.

It would be impossible to list every single reason Jordan is worth backpacking, but hopefully, these 5 reasons give the wider picture of what Jordan has to offer. You’ll discover even more reasons to visit as you continue reading this article.

A picture of a man backpacking Jordan with a camel in the desert

Is backpacking Jordan safe?

Backpacking Jordan is incredibly safe, much safer than most people originally think or assume. Jordan is one of the safest countries in the Middle East, and unlike a lot of its neighbours, the country is conflicted with wars or civil unrest.

Jordan is the 58th safest country in the world, so it’s a lot safer than some countries people wouldn’t bat an eyelid about. Unfortunately being in the Middle East creates a prejudice that Jordan is unsafe, but this stereotype is completely untrue.

Of course, you should always take personal safety very seriously and make sure you look after yourself throughout the course of your trip. But the chances are high that you can enjoy your trip with no safety concerns.

A picture of the citadel in Amman, Jordan.

How long does backpacking Jordan take?

The answer to this question needs to come from you, not me. The “how long…” or “how many days…” questions do not have a universal answer. It depends on how you like to travel and the pace at which you want to move from stop to stop.

Some people will rush through the country and see the main sights in 3 days, some people will stay in Jordan for a month and still feel like they missed things. It’s completely different from person to person.

What I will say is that most people choose to spend between a week and 10 days backpacking Jordan. I’m going to generalise here and assume that most backpackers like to travel slower and get a proper feel for the places they visit, so therefore I recommend 10 days or more for your Jordan trip.

A picture of a cat on one of the mountains around Petra with the Monastry in the background.

How much does backpacking Jordan cost?

Backpacking Jordan is pretty cheap. It’s as cheap as popular backpacking trails like the Banana Pancake Trail or the Gringo Trail in South America.

A typical backpacker’s budget is around $30 USD each day in Jordan, excluding the cost to get into Petra as it’s a one-off. Here’s how the budget is broken down on a day-to-day basis…

CategoryDaily cost (USD)
Accomodation$10
Food$8
Activities$7
Transport$5
Note that this is an average over a 10-day trip, not the exact amount each day.

So it’s pretty cheap to visit the country, and as is always the case with travelling on a budget, the budget depends on how you like to travel. It’s definitely possible to visit Jordan for less than $30 a day if you limit your activities and opt for camping instead of hostels as I did. And on the other hand, it’s easy to spend a lot more than this too if you stay in hotels and splash out on activities every day.

I strongly strongly recommend buying the Jordan pass, it includes access to pretty much all of the tourist attractions, and even waives your VISA fee if you need a VISA. It’s a no-brainer for backpackers, and anyone not buying one is simply wasting money.

What currency do they use in Jordan?

The currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar. It’s a really strong currency and you actually get less than one JD for a US Dollar. One of the main reasons it’s so strong is because it has a fixed exchange rate with the dollar, meaning the strength of the currency depends on the US economy rather than the Jordanian.

Here are the exchange rates of some currencies into Jordanian Dinar as of January 2024.

CurrencyJordanian Dinar
£1 GBP0.90 JD
$1 USD0.71 JD
€1 EUR0.78 JD

Remember when paying in a foreign currency to always use a card like Revolut that has no currency conversion fees. There’s nothing worse than getting home from a trip and seeing all the charges your bank has made for paying in a different currency.

What language do they speak in Jordan?

The official language of Jordan is Arabic. But English is also pretty widely spoken, especially in touristy areas like Petra. Arabic, unless you speak it, can be a pretty hard language to pick up. But it’s always a good idea to learn some basic phrases before visiting a country.

Not only can it help you get by, but the locals will also really appreciate the effort you made. Here are 5 useful phrases to learn in Arabic before visiting Jordan.

EnglishArabic
Hellomrhban
Yesnaeam
Pleaselaw samaht
Thank youshkran lak
How are you?kayf halika?

When it comes to pronunciation, you pretty much sound every letter out, even if it feels like it would sound wrong. It’s always a good idea to download the local language on a translation app too, so you can converse with locals without the need for a phone signal.

Do you need a visa to backpack Jordan?

It depends on your nationality, but most nationalities will need a visa to visit Jordan. You can find out if you need a visa through the Jordan Ministry website where you can also purchase your visa.

The visas are online, as e-visas and cost 40 Jordanian dinars. This is valid for 1 trip for a stay of up to 2 months. You can buy longer visas if you plan to stay in Jordan for longer.

You need to buy your visa in advance and have it printed with you for immigration. Alternatively, you can buy a visa on arrival at the airport or at the Jordan-Israel border. Personally, I would just get the e-visa to save time and make it easier.

A picture of my passport I used while backpacking Jordan.

Do you need travel insurance to backpack Jordan?

Travel insurance is required to visit Jordan. As of May 2022, travel insurance (which covers medical emergencies) is required for entry into Jordan.

But I would always recommend having travel insurance anyway. It’s better being safe than sorry, and having it and not needing it than needing it and not having it.

Unfortunately due to the typical backpacker’s attitude towards saving money, I have seen way too many examples of people scoring bills in the thousands because they didn’t want to pay for travel insurance.

I always use SafetyWing as it’s the perfect insurance for backpackers as their plans cover multiple countries.

A picture of me with my backpack on looking at the departures board in an airport.

Do you need any vaccinations to backpack Jordan?

There are no required vaccinations for people backpacking Jordan, and you don’t need a yellow fever certificate, for example.

It is recommended that you are up to date with the common vaccines like those for Polio, Hepatitis, etc., but there are no specific requirements to get into Jordan when it comes to vaccinations.

When to backpack Jordan

I am a big advocate for saying that there is no bad time to visit any country, there is just a best time and this applies to Jordan too. You can backpack Jordan at any time of the year and have a wonderful trip.

That being said, the best months to head to the Middle East and see Petra are in Spring and Autumn (Fall). So between March and May, and September and November provide the two perfect windows for visiting.

“Why?” I hear you ask. Firstly, because it avoids the summer months when tourism is at the highest, and as a backpacker you want to avoid these months because the prices will be at an all-time high, and the crowds will be much larger too. You want a more authentic experience at the end of the day, right?

And secondly, the weather isn’t too warm. The sun in Jordan is scorching hot in the summer, and visiting either side of the summer months allows you to enjoy the country with moderate temperatures but not so warm that it’s uncomfortable.

A picture of some ruins in Amman

How to get to Jordan

The most common way people backpacking Jordan get there is by flying. There are lots of flights into the Queen Alia International Airport which is the main airport in the country.

Obviously, flight times and prices depend on where you are flying from. But for a bit of reference, a flight from London to Jordan takes around 5 hours and costs £100-200 and a flight from the US takes at least 10 hours and costs upwards of $600.

As always, it pays off to be flexible with your travel dates so you can find the best flight prices. I always use Skyscanner when booking flights to make sure I find the cheapest flight possible, it’s like a search engine but for flights.

A picture of the back of a plane with some steps with the sun setting.

How to get around in Jordan

When it comes to getting around in Jordan, the options are pretty limited. The public transport system isn’t great by any definition. The only occasion you can reliably get a public bus is to get to Petra along the Desert Highway.

The best way of getting around is by getting taxis. As always, make sure the taxi has a meter and/or speak to the driver and agree on the price in advance to avoid being scammed. Unfortunately, taxi scams are pretty common in Jordan.

Also, don’t expect the taxis to be the best ride of your life. Often the cars don’t have air conditioning and are worse for wear. But as long as you get from A to B, right?

A picture of a damaged front bumper on a car in Jordan.

Another option is to rent a car. If you are travelling alone, it’s probably not a viable option. But if you are with a few friends backpacking in Jordan, it’s definitely a solid choice. It allows you more flexibility, comfort and safety.

I always use Discover Cars for rental cars, and you can get some for as cheap as $10 a day in Jordan, of course not including fuel etc.

What to Bring to Jordan

On top of the general backpacking necessities like sleeping masks for hostels or a day bag for convenience, there are some things you may wish to pack specifically for Jordan that may come in handy. Here are 5 things to add to your backpack when you head to Jordan…

  • Cash: Okay, it sounds obvious, but once you go outside the popular establishments in the heart of cities, it can be hard to find a cash machine, so make sure you have a decent amount of cash on your person at all times. And remember that your money goes far.
  • Sunscreen: The sun in Jordan is scorching, particularly in the desert areas and the last thing you want during a backpacking trip is to end up sunburnt or worse. Protect yourself and your skin and make sure you always have sunscreen on.
  • A small towel: Bring a small towel like a microfibre towel while backpacking Jordan as there are lots of opportunities to go swimming while you are out of the day, such as at the Dead Sea, and you will need a way to dry off.
  • Plastic bags: Similarly, you need somewhere to put your wet swimsuit, so make sure you always have plastic bags to put wet things in. They are also useful in general and I consider them to be one of the best backpacking hacks.
  • A purification water bottle: A bottle like a Lifestraw water bottle is very important to have in Jordan because you cannot drink tap water so it is best to have it purified. And it also avoids single-use plastics which are a huge problem in Jordan.

Backpacking Jordan Top Tips

Like any country or city, there are some top backpacking Jordan tips which you may want to know about before visiting. While I’m a big fan of general tips for budget travelling, it’s important to be specific. These can help your trip go smoother, help you save a bit of money and maybe even make your trip better. Here are 6 top tips!

Buy the Jordan Pass: Anyone backpacking Jordan needs to buy the Jordan Pass. It gets you entry into Petra, Wadi Rum, Amman Citadel and more. It also waives your VISA fee. I don’t use the words often, but it’s a no-brainer.

Don’t drink the tap water: I just mentioned it above but in case you skipped over it, do not drink the tap water in Jordan. It is not safe to drink and it will result in a very upset stomach. Instead, drink bottled water, or buy a filtered water bottle like a Lifestraw bottle.

Expect a warm welcome: The hospitality in Jordan is second to none and you will likely be welcomed into homes for meals etc. Jordanians are very sharing and will likely offer food and/or small gifts or tokens. I always recommend having a treat from home to share back.

Alcohol is expensive: Since Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country, alcohol is heavily taxed and will cost a fortune. It’s up to you whether you splash out or take it as an opportunity to stay sober for a while. A draft beer will cost around $5 for reference.

Dress respectfully: It’s best to avoid wearing really short shorts and having your shoulders out in Jordan. There are now laws around what you should wear, but as a backpacker, you want to respect the local culture and it means dressing respectfully. Women should also ensure their chest is covered. The shoulders and knees apply to everyone.

Try camping: Fancy saving a bit of extra money on accommodation? There are lots of opportunities to camp in Jordan, which costs a lot less than a hostel. It offers quite a unique experience too!

A picture of the Treasury in Petra, a must-see while backpacking Jordan.

5 Best Things to Do in Jordan

Obviously, it would be pretty hard to list every single thing to do during a week or more backpacking Jordan, but to give you an idea of what to expect, I’ve picked out my 5 favourite things to do throughout the whole of Jordan. As I said, there are so many more and this is just a snippet of what there is on offer!

1) See Petra: First and foremost, it wouldn’t be a trip to Jordan without seeing Petra. The ancient city is one of the wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it does not disappoint. Seeing Petra for yourself is surreal and it’s hard to put into words how big it is. Jordan is worth visiting for Petra alone, so it goes without saying, it’s a must-do.

A picture of the Monastry in Petra.

2) Float in the Dead Sea: Another thing I would consider a must-do when visiting Jordan is to float in the Dead Sea. I’m not going to pretend I know how it works or anything, but it’s pretty cool to both see the Dead Sea and experience the floating for yourself. The views at the Dead Sea are also phenomenal.

A picture of someone floating in the Dead Sea.

3) Explore Wadi Rum: Nestled in the heart of the desert is Wadi Rum, nicknamed the Valley of the Moon. The picture probably makes it clear where the name comes from- it’s like being on another planet! It’s the perfect example of natural beauty in Jordan and it’s somewhere that needs to be explored during any trip to the country.

A picture of Wadi Rum.

4) Spend the night in a cave: There are lots of opportunities to sleep in a cave in Jordan, most commonly in Petra but there are plenty of other options too. It’s quite different to a normal hotel room but it makes for a cool stay, and it’s pretty fun to say you’ve slept in a cave. And who could forget the stunning Jordanian night sky? It’s completely filled with stars.

5) Step back in time in Amman: Amman is jam-packed with history. There are so many historical sites and sights to see in the city. The most popular are the Roman Theater, the Amman Citadel National Historic Site and the Roman Temple of Hercules. But the whole of the city has a rich historical and cultural background and feel to it.

A picture of a cat in front of some ruins in Amman.

As I said, there is so much more to Jordan than a mere 5 things to do, but hopefully, these 5 highlights give you a sense of what backpacking Jordan would look like. It’s amazing!

Backpacking Jordan Itinerary

To help you make the most of your time backpacking Jordan, you may be looking for an itinerary to follow. So I created this perfect 10-day itinerary (the typical amount of time to come for, remember) filled with all the best things Jordan has to offer.

Like any itinerary, this is just a guide, a recommendation. You should take what you like from it and change what you don’t. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to travelling. I’ve also given a suggestion for where to stay in each destination 🙂

Day 1: Arrival in Amman

Wake up in Amman

Explore the capital city, starting with the historic Amman Citadel, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. Visit the Roman Theatre, a well-preserved amphitheatre dating back to the 2nd century. Wander through the vibrant streets of downtown Amman, known as Al-Balad, and explore its markets and shops. End the day by tasting traditional Jordanian cuisine in one of the local restaurants.

A picture overlooking Amman.

Go to bed in Amman

📍 Budget Option- When staying in Amman, I recommend Battuta Hostel. It is the place to be, right in the heart of it all. Book your stay by clicking here.

📍 Mid-Range Option- When staying in Amman, I recommend Dali House. It’s also located right in the heart of Amman, but it’s also a great hotel. Book your stay by clicking here.

Day 2: Jerash and Ajloun Castle

Wake up in Amman

Take a day trip to Jerash, located about 50 kilometres north of the capital. Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, including the Oval Plaza, the Temple of Artemis, and the impressive Hadrian’s Arch. Afterwards, visit Ajloun Castle, a 12th-century Muslim castle with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Return to Amman and spend another night there.

A picture of Jerash.

Day 3: Dead Sea and Madaba

Wake up in Amman

Travel to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Enjoy a relaxing day floating in the salty waters and indulging in the therapeutic mud. Afterwards, visit the town of Madaba, known for its beautiful Byzantine mosaics, including the famous Madaba Map. Return to Amman and sleep in Amman.

A picture of the Dead Sea, a must-visit while backpacking Jordan.

Day 4: Petra

Wake up in Amman

Travel to Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Spend the day exploring the ancient city carved into the rose-red cliffs. Marvel at the Treasury, the Monastery, and the Royal Tombs. Take your time to soak in the atmosphere of this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Bedouin dinner in Petra. And spend the night in a cave.

A picture of the theater in Petra

Go to bed in Petra

📍 Mid-Range Option- Have the most unique sleep of your life inside a cave in Petra. 7 Caves Hotel creates a cool sleep. Book your stay by clicking here.

Day 5: Wadi Rum

Wake up in Petra

Embark on a desert adventure in Wadi Rum, a stunning desert landscape often referred to as the Valley of the Moon. Take a 4×4 jeep tour to explore the towering sandstone cliffs, and dramatic rock formations, and experience the unique Bedouin culture. Enjoy a traditional Bedouin lunch in the desert. In the evening, sleep under the starry night sky in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum.

A picture of Wadi Rum

Go to bed in Wadi Rum

📍 Budget Option- Spend the night under the beautiful Jordanian stars. It’s the best camping trip ever! Book your night by clicking here.

Day 6: Aqaba

Wake up in Wadi Rum

Travel to Aqaba, Jordan’s coastal city on the Red Sea. Relax on the beautiful beaches, go snorkelling or diving to explore the vibrant coral reefs, or take a boat trip to enjoy the crystal-clear waters. Explore the city’s vibrant markets and enjoy fresh seafood for dinner.

A picture of Aqaba at the Red Sea.

Go to bed in Aqaba

📍 Budget Option- When staying in Aqaba, I recommend Hakaia Home. It is the original hostel in Aqaba and has a warm vibe. Book your stay by clicking here.

📍 Mid-Range Option- When staying in Aqaba, I recommend the Sky Hotel. It’s got a beautiful view on the beach’s doorstep. Book your stay by clicking here.

Day 7: Aqaba and Wadi Mujib

Wake up in Aqaba

Take a day trip to Wadi Mujib, a breathtaking nature reserve known for its stunning canyons and waterfalls. Embark on a thrilling hike through the Siq Trail, where you can swim and wade through pools of water. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the reserve before returning to Aqaba for your second night.

A picture of a water filled valley you walk through in Wadi Mujib, one of the most fun things to do while backpacking Jordan.

Day 8: Dana Biosphere Reserve and Shobak Castle

Wake up in Aqaba

Travel to the Dana Biosphere Reserve, a beautiful nature reserve home to diverse plant and animal species. Enjoy a hike through the reserve, taking in the panoramic views of the mountains and valleys. Visit Shobak Castle, a Crusader fortress perched on a hilltop, before continuing to your next destination, which is back to Petra. You can stay in the cave again if you want, but I personally opted for a normal bed this time!

Go to bed in Petra

📍 Budget Option- When staying in Petra, I recommend Rafiki Hostel. It’s run by backpackers for backpackers. Book your stay by clicking here.

📍 Mid-Range Option- When staying in Petra, I recommend the Petra Corner Hotel, it’s only a 2-minute walk. Book your stay by clicking here.

Day 9: Little Petra and Amman (Continued)

Wake up in Petra

Explore Little Petra, a smaller but equally fascinating site with intricate rock-carved facades and ancient tombs. Next, return to Amman. Spend the evening visiting modern attractions such as the Rainbow Street, filled with trendy shops and cafes. Enjoy a delicious dinner in one of Amman’s renowned restaurants. And settle in to spend your final night in Jordan.

Day 10: Final Day

Wake up in Amman

Depending on your departure time, you may have some free time for last-minute shopping or exploring any missed attractions. But unfortunately, it’s time to say goodbye to Jordan and depart from Amman.

Backpacking Jordan: FAQ

Below are some questions related to backpacking Jordan along with my answers.

Is Jordan safe to travel alone?

Yes, Jordan is one of the safest countries in the Middle East and you can definitely do a solo trip in the country. There are also lots of hostels and campsites where you can meet like-minded travellers. As always, keep your wits about you and take personal safety seriously.

Can you backpack in Jordan?

Yes, backpacking in Jordan is certainly possible. There are lots of hostels throughout the country as well as lots of campsites where you can spend the night for cheap. Food is also very cheap in Jordan and all in all, you can get by at around $30 USD per day.

Is Jordan expensive or not?

Jordan is not very expensive to visit. A typical backpacker’s budget is around $30 USD per day including accommodation, food, travel and activities. There are lots of hostels and campsites for cheap places to stay, and street food is delicious and really cheap too.

Final Thoughts: Backpacking Jordan

And there you have it, a complete guide to backpacking Jordan.

If you are still on the fence, hop off it and book those flights. Jordan has so much to offer for anyone seeking a true backpacking trip, with an abundance of culture, sights, food, and more.

It’s such an underrated country, almost a hidden gem amongst backpackers, and I would really encourage anyone to visit who has the chance.

So enjoy your time backpacking Jordan, you will have an unforgettable time!